Writer: Usha Uppal
Why do many kundalini yoga practitioners wear white clothing during kundalini yoga? Is that required when attending a kundalini yoga class? Newbees to kundalini yoga often want to know more about this - rightfully so.
In this article, we will provide you with some answers. We will start by exploring the world of colors and their meanings. After that, we will move on to the meaning of the color white within the kundalini yoga tradition. At the end of the article, you will know much more about it, and you might be tempted to try it yourself!
Colors and culture
The meanings of colors may vary, depending on the culture that attributes their importance to them. For example, in Western countries, black is the color of mourning. White is the color that the bride wears on the day of the wedding. It is also the color of the lily and the Virgin Mary's purity. And the white color is also the color of peace, symbolized by the white dove.
In the West, red symbolizes passion, anger, and love - it is not a color that women generally wear at weddings. In India, however, mourners do not wear black when a loved one has died, but the color white. And, contrary to Western customs, Indian women wear red on their wedding day, not white.
The meaning of colors varies in different cultures. This article will look specifically at the meaning of the color white within the kundalini yoga tradition.
Color in spiritual and religious communities
It is pretty common for spiritual and religious communities to wear specific colors. In the Middle Ages, most monks wore brown robes. Followers of Bhagwan (later Osho) in India and the US wore orange and, later on, maroon clothing. Buddhist monks also wear these colors, depending on the kind of Buddhism they practice and the region where they are based.
These colors have different meanings, and the colors support and enhance the practice of prayer, meditation, and asceticism. Also, wearing specific colors and clothing allows the wearers to be recognized as disciples, devotees, or monks of a particular sect or religion. This is also the case with kundalini yoga.
Emotions and colors
It is safe to say that most people know how colors can affect emotions. Colors are manifestations of energy, like emotions, and can weaken or strengthen each other. Just think how you feel when wearing red: it is an intense and striking color too. Or light blue, so soft and clear, it can be a soothing color to wear and ideal when you need a clear head.
In kundalini yoga, white is worn because it contains all colors, making it a neutral color. This way, you will not be hindered by emotion while practicing kundalini yoga. It enables you to have the space to dive into your practice.
Yogi Bhajan, the founder of kundalini yoga, put it this way:
"Colors create an uncontrollable action in your subconscious mind of inspiration, productivity, and expansion. Colors affect consciousness. We wanted to develop a speedy, progressive, spiritual, and technical method of all the colors, so we have adopted one color of the seven colors, which is white."
Light and the color white
White is associated with clarity; it is a spiritual color. It is part of the duality on earth, as is evident in light-darkness, day-night, male-female, etcetera. Light is the opposite of shadow: whenever the light shines on darkness, the latter and the duality disappear. We can conclude that white is a powerful color that can transform darkness into light.
The color white is also associated with the sun, with its rays illuminating the world. It is the source that makes everything on earth grow. Darkness has no source; it can not create and can not project anything by itself. It can cast a shadow on light, but light can make the darkness disappear. Metaphysically speaking, we can safely say that white (the light) is proactive, whereas black (darkness) is reactive. Wearing white when practicing kundalini yoga, and in general, makes you feel open to life while feeling strong at the same time.
White contains all colors, while black is not a color, strictly speaking. When you practice kundalini yoga, you embody all colors and are complete. This feeling of wholeness can augment your kundalini practice to your advantage.
Colors in the aura and chakras
If you acknowledge that we as humans inhabit a physical body and a subtle energetical body, you can start accessing that subtle body. Kundalini yoga helps you to bring more flow into your subtle body and to become more aware of it.
Your aura is an electromagnetic field that vibrates around your physical body. It protects you, and it is a private space. The energy in your aura can manifest itself in colors that each have a meaning. By practicing kundalini yoga, one can become more aware of these colors and their meanings and balance them.
By wearing white during your kundalini practice, these colors are neutralized. This is beneficial for meditation and practicing the kriyas during your kundalini yoga. You become the observer by neutralizing your aura and can stay in the middle.
The chakras are the seven energy centers within your body. They each have their function and color. The first chakra, for example, the base chakra, is red and deals with our earthly life, such as safety and the physical body. And the top chakra, the crown chakra, is violet. In this chakra, you can connect with the infinite consciousness; here, there is no duality. All colors are represented in the different chakras. By wearing white during kundalini practice or in general, one is not focusing on a specific chakra, emotion, or function. Instead, the whole is emphasized, not excluding any color by wearing white, and balancing all chakras simultaneously.
The flowing of the chakras is like a river: the water in the river stays clean precisely because it is flowing. It takes a lot of energy to restore this cleanliness. So it is essential to make sure that the water can flow optimally. If the water stagnates due to dirt or other external elements, it will lose its capacity to purify itself, which can attract vermin and lead to disease and pests, for example.
The same goes for our energy system: if we do not maintain it, blockages within our system can adversely affect our well-being. It is ok to have blockages as long as we address them and work on them. Kundalini yoga is about releasing those blockages: you might feel resistant to this sometimes, but you will feel how the energy flows more freely through your whole system. Sometimes you need to lift that stone, which is heavy and takes a lot of energy, but imagines all of that water that can flow freely after that!
By wearing white during your kundalini practice, you purify your energy system. White has cleansing properties, and the chakras benefit from this color. It prevents them from becoming too dense or clogged. Regarding your aura: the color white will diffuse it, light it up, and bring peace to it. This works well when you wear the color after an intense experience; it will make you feel calmer.
Kundalini yoga and the chakras
As discussed in the above text, kundalini yoga helps us to let our chakras spin and flow more. We can address blockages and overcome them; toxins will leave the body. Meditations and kundalini yoga kriyas can help you maintain focus and feel calm within. You will feel more energetic and robust, and balanced. Practicing kundalini yoga means breaking through resistance and procrastination. In time, you will start more and more to feel the need for a balanced, positive, and healthy lifestyle.
You will also become more attuned to subtle energies, and the more experienced and familiarized you become with kundalini yoga, the more you can sense subtle energies. You may feel the effects of colors on your energy system more strongly, and your preferences regarding color may change. You may want to wear white all the time. Or you may not: this is entirely up to you.
Kundalini yoga and the color white
According to the founder of kundalini yoga, Yogi Bhajan, one can expand the aura by wearing white. The white color acts like a filter and helps you to maintain balance. The aura becomes more vital, and the wearer will feel more rooted in themselves and their personal space. The white color helps us become aware of the many energies projected onto us in daily life. By being aware of what is happening within and outside of us, we can make conscious choices: which energies do we want to connect with, and which ones do we want to keep at a distance?
Emotions projected unto you will be reflected and redirected to the sender. In this sense, the white color acts like a mirror and protects the wearer. It is like sunlight: when sunlight is projected onto white, it will reflect, whereas black will absorb it. Wearing white can help you optimize your kundalini practice, help during an intense phase in your life, or help you walk the streets of a city. Or maybe you like the feel of it and walk a mountain trail by yourself, feeling light and pure.
White also symbolizes new beginnings when nothing is filled in yet. This receptive and neutral state of being can help the wearer of white also to let go of judgment. This can be beneficial when practicing kundalini yoga and meditation. Maybe you will be able to let your thoughts, feelings, and opinions be, to observe them, and not judge them. The more you experience this, the more you can uncoil your kundalini and enter an absolute state of consciousness.
Wearing white also affects others: if you are rooted firmly within yourself, others will feel it and react to that. They may want to connect with you and feel that space and consciousness you are radiating.
Kundalini yoga and wearing white: freedom of choice
There is no obligation to wear white when practicing kundalini yoga: each makes their own choice and wears what feels comfortable. In a kundalini yoga class, no one is judged for not wearing white.
In this respect, kundalini yoga distinguishes itself from religion. Practitioners of kundalini yoga can choose how they want to practice, just like in ancient India. Indian yogis live by themselves. Sure they assemble and learn from each other, from guru to disciple, and there are different 'sects,' but ultimately, they are alone, together with the infinite consciousness.
Kundalini yoga brings about a balanced, spiritual, and healthy life for anyone who cares to experience and learns about it. For many, kundalini yoga has become a way of life, not just a yoga practice.
After reading this article, you will know why kundalini yogis tend to wear white. Feel free to try it during or outside of your kundalini yoga practice. You can then decide how that feels and how it resonates with you. If it does not feel right, it may be some other time. What counts is that you feel comfortable during your kundalini practice, whether in white or in any different color.
We at Kundalini Yoga Club hope you have enjoyed this article, and we wish you a long, healthy, happy, and prosperous life.