CPD21 Evidence-Based Kundalini Yoga Therapy with Dr Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa (August 16-19, 2024)
October 2, 2023 @ 8:30 AM – October 2, 2024 @ 5:00 PM
Over these four days, August 16-19, 2024 we will explore Kundalini Yoga Therapy for depression and anxiety, trauma and PTSD, inflammation, pain relief, addictions, sleep health, gut health, and cardiovascular health. Each module will have a face-to-face session with Dr Khalsa, complemented by online learning evidenced based learning and home practice.
Welcome to BIYOME’s Evidence-Based Kundalini Yoga Therapy course with Dr Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa from the USA! In this course, we will explore the many benefits of Kundalini Yoga Therapy for various health conditions.
Kundalini yoga is an ancient practice that has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of mental health conditions. Kundalini yoga and meditation can also be used to treat traumatised children, adolescents, and adults; anger (chronic, “deep long-lasting variety”); bipolar disorders (one for the manic phase, one for the depressed phase, and one to resolve the condition in general); chronic fatigue syndrome; impulsive behaviours; ADD; multiple complex personalities; mental illness in general; and nightmares. This system also has many non disorder-specific meditation techniques that can be used to improve overall mental health. (Khalsa, 2004).
Over these four days, we will explore eight modules: depression and anxiety, trauma and PTSD, inflammation, pain relief, addictions, sleep health, gut health, and cardiovascular health. Each module will have a face-to-face session with Dr Khalsa, complemented by online learning evidenced based learning and home practice.
Depression and Anxiety
In this session, Dr Khalsa will discuss the definition of anxiety and depression, causes and symptoms and we will also learn about the kriyas and meditations that can help alleviate these conditions. Kundalini yoga has been shown to alleviate generalised anxiety disorder more than the typical treatment conditions (Gabriel et al., 2018). Randomised control trials that span years have also supported the idea that Kundalini yoga is very efficacious in treating anxiety (Simon et al., 2021).
Trauma and PTSD
Here, Dr Khalsa will discuss the definition of trauma and PTSD, causes and symptoms and we will also learn kriyas and meditations that can help alleviate these conditions. Research suggests that the attunement of mind and body, alongside the self-awareness promoted by Kundalini yoga, is powerful in treating PTSD (Jindani & Khalsa, 2015). This course will explore these techniques and ideas further.
We will discuss the definition of inflammation, its causes and symptoms, and how inflammation can be thought of as one of the significant physiologic changes that occur from stress. Chronic inflammation hinders healthy bodily activity and can lead to poor health and dysfunction. Discipline through yoga and meditation & the practice of lifestyle medicine tends to reduce inflammation. Though not specific to Kundalini yoga, research from a meditation retreat involving yoga, meditations, and kriyas has been shown to alter inflammatory markers (Cahn et al., 2017). For example, after a 3-month practice, participants had increased anti-inflammatory IL-10 levels while decreasing pro-inflammatory IL-12 levels (Cahn et al., 2017). Certain meditation practices and kriyas will also be explored in this section, with a focus on the reduction of inflammation via the vagus nerve & HPA axis.
Chronic pain is common, especially in the lower back, and can be debilitating worldwide. Often, the symptoms of this pain are considered untreatable and a necessary part of life. However, plenty of research suggests that mindfulness can help alleviate the suffering of such pain. Kundalini is one such method that can help. For example, a randomised control trial suggests that practising Kundalini yoga twice a week can significantly reduce chronic back pain that keeps someone from showing up to work (Brämberg et al., 2017). Additionally, neck pain and stiffness due to cervical spondylosis are also alleviated through a kundalini practice (Sugumar & Ponnuswamy, 2018). The concept of hormesis and resilience will be explored in practice for the reduction of pain in day to day life.
When studying meditation and yoga, one may reflect upon the mind and our ability to observe it without necessarily giving into its direction. Addiction is the inability to resist the mind’s temptations. Kundalini yoga has long explored addictions and techniques to alleviate these tendencies.
Teaching Kundalini Yoga therapy for addictions can be both a rewarding and challenging experience. It is important to remember that each person’s addiction is unique, and therefore each person’s recovery will be unique as well. In order to be an effective teacher, you must be patient, compassionate, and understand the different stages of addiction and recovery. Dr Khalsa will explore with you the evidence surrounding using kundalini kriyas for healing our addictive tendencies.
Sleep is an essential part of a day that allows our body to conduct critical rejuvenating physiological processes. In this session, we will discuss the definition of sleep deprivation, its causes and symptoms, and the various treatment options available. A recent randomised control trial has revealed that Kundalini yoga increased sleep efficiency, decreased sleep onset latency, and increased sleep time, resulting in an overall decrease in sleep insomnia scores (Khalsa & Goldstein, 2021). This course will explore yoga techniques that will aid in improving one’s sleep health.
In this session, we will discuss the definition of gut health problems such as leaky gut syndrome, their causes and symptoms, and how Kundalini yoga therapy may assist in recovery. Kundalini yoga therapy is an effective way to improve gut health. This therapy uses a combination of techniques, including breath work, to help increase the good bacteria in the gut. This can help improve digestion and reduce inflammation.
Gut health is vastly underappreciated in many people’s eyes. Not only are most of the cells that make up our foreign body species, such as gut microbiota, but they affect aspects of our health beyond digestion. For example, gut bacteria content is related to the development of mild cognitive impairment (Wei et al., 2020). The gut microbiome may affect the mind, however mind training also can affect the microbiome. Mindfulness meditation techniques, which alter vagal tone, have alleviated symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBD) (Breit et al., 2018; Househam et al., 2017). Though not precisely mindfulness meditation, Kundalini and meditation share fundamental similarities. Though no direct studies have been made, it has been postulated that Kundalini yoga may have similar effects on microbiome-related diseases such as IBS (Shannahoff-Khalsa, n.d.). It is also very important to note that the breath of fire that is so often employed in kundalini yoga, may be giving a certain pattern of intense stimulation of the abdomen that can liberate immune cells and counter infection.
In this final module, we will discuss some of the different types of cardiovascular diseases, what they are, how they develop, and what the risk factors are for each. Kundalini yoga may also help alleviate various forms of pulmonary or cardiovascular issues, possibly also having a distinct effect on the electromagnetic field of the heart. Research involving a 12-week Kundalini yoga routine showed a statistically significant decrease in hypertension, suggesting a natural positive effect on cardiovascular health is possible through yoga (Wolff et al., 2013).
Each module is packed with valuable evidence based practice and learning that can help you improve our health and the health of many. Biyome is thrilled to have the expertise of Dr Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa, whilst she is in Australia and we welcome you to attend. BIYOME’s Specialty Intensive Teacher Training can be undertaken as Continuing Professional Development (CPD) with Yoga Australia and/or the Meditation Association of Australia, as well as obtaining Continuing Education (CE) recognition with Yoga Alliance. The course contact hours, and non-contact hours (CPDs and CEs), allocated across Meditation Australia and the two registering yoga bodies do, however, differ. Please contact us for more information.
Should you wish to complete a full meditation certification (110 hours – 1000 hours) or yoga certification (150 hours – 650 hours), please view this Specialty Intensive Training as an elective within our full course offerings. Details are available here.
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About the teacher
A Kundalini Yoga teacher since 1971, Dr. Khalsa began to specialize in teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation to people with chronic or life threatening illness and their family members in 1986.
Dr Khalsa teaches globally and resides in the USA and is a Certified Yoga Therapist, a Mentoring Lead Trainer for Levels 1 and 2 Kundalini Yoga teacher training, a Medical Family therapist, and a charter member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Her Kundalini Yoga program for people living with HIV is featured in the book, Yoga as Medicine by Timothy McCall, MD, and her groundbreaking work as a Kundalini Yoga Therapist is featured in the book, Yoga Therapy and Integrative Medicine: Where Ancient Science Modern Medicine.