Yogi Bhajan, Master of Kundalini Yoga by the age of 16 – itself a rare feat – gave his first lecture at a Los Angeles high school gym on January 5, 1969. Then a 39-year-old recent émigré from India, he left behind a government career in order to realize the vision of bringing Kundalini Yoga to the West.
In the turbulent, drug culture of the 60s, Yogi Bhajan first reached out to the youth. He recognized that their experimentation with drugs “altered states of consciousness” expressed a deeper desire to experience a holistic, liberating sense of awareness and a longing for family, for connection with themselves and one another. Soon realizing that pharmaceuticals provided, at best, a cheap imitation to the peaceful, inner euphoria they could get naturally from Kundalini Yoga, and at worst, had debilitating physical and mental side effects, young people began flocking to his classes, arriving by the busloads. He created a family, known as 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) and soon 3HO teaching centers began springing up across the United States and throughout the world.
He sparked a movement whose many tendrils have wound their way into our culture. Yogi Bhajan blazed a trail, and today, after more than 30 years of determined effort on the part of 3HO and the Kundalini Research Institute, yoga and meditation have gained widespread acceptance in the West. This popular attention speaks not only to the proven benefits of yoga and meditation, but to the increasing public interest in spirituality and a healthy lifestyle.