Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, better known as Yogi Bhajan, was born on 26 August 1929 in a part of India that became Pakistan in 1948. His training began when he was eight years old. When he reached the age of sixteen, his teacher Sant Hazara Singh recognized him as Master of Kundalini Yoga.
The year is 1968. In America it’s the time of hippies, flower power and massive drug use. It is a time where many, especially young, people are looking for ‘something’. Yogi Bhajan arrives on the airport of Toronto from New Delhi – India to teach yoga at the university. One of the faculty members was impressed by Harbhajan Singh and his teaching skills and offered him a job. On arrival he learns that the faculty member has passed away in a car crash the previous day. There is no job and to make matters worse, the airline has lost his luggage.
He doesn’t let these events discourage him and starts teaching Yoga to everyone who is interested. With his lessons he breaks an ancient tradition of secrecy; traditionally, Kundalini Yoga was passed on from master to student and the student needed to be selected by the master. Never before was this type of yoga accessible to all.
Yogi Bhajan thinks it is time for a change. He wants to spread his knowledge throughout the world because he thinks these yoga techniques are a healthy alternative to the present culture. When he came to the West, he had this intention:
‘I am not here to gather students. I am here to train teachers, so the knowledge of Kundalini Yoga can be passed on to as many people as possible.’
His style of yoga, now known as Kundalini Yoga, has the potential to give those who practice it a hands-on experience with spirituality, while in the meantime doing lots of goods to their bodies and minds.
He gives his teachings with humor, compassion and a practical understanding of the day to day problems that people are dealing with and becomes very popular. He teaches at Woodstock and gathers more and more interested people around him. In the years that follow Kundalini Yoga becomes what it is today; a worldwide practiced yoga form counting many certified teachers. Some of the people he trained himself are still actively teaching today.
Yogi Bhajan started a number of organizations with the aim to make Kundalini Yoga available for everybody. For example the Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization (3HO) and the Kundalini Research Institute (KRI). Yogi Bhajan was also known as the Mahan Tantric, the only person in the world allowed to teach White Tantra.
Yogi Bhajan left his physical body at 6 October 2004. He was 75 years old.