3HO is an acronym for Healthy, Happy and Holy Organization.
Brief on 3HO
It was founded by Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi Ji. Siri Singh Sahib ji came to America to teach yoga with a bold mission statement "I am here to create teachers, not students". He began teaching Kundalini Yoga when he arrived in the United States because he saw the state of condition of the people. Kundalini Yoga is the most powerful form of yoga and is often wrongfully thought of as dangerous. He thought it would be the tool needed to help these people. This was the first time kundalini yoga was taught openly, ever. Traditionally it is only taught to a select few and it's techniques were guarded secrets. 3HO is the organization Siri Singh Sahib created to organize, maintain, and spread 'The Teachings'.
By this is meant the yogic traditions, technologies, and practical philosophies passed down since ancient times. Yoga pre-dates any religion. As the Siri Singh Sahib said, the teachings have been tried and tested by, "the sages of the ages". As you may have guessed the sole purpose of Kundalini yoga as taught by Harbhajan Singh Yogi is to help people grow to live happy, healthy, and holy lives. Today 3HO hosts yoga festivals and white tantric sessions around the world. 3HO launched the first program of its kind called Teachers Training, which is an intensive designed to grant its participants with a certificate to teach kundalini yoga upon completion. Currently there are thousands of kundalini yoga practitioners, and hundreds of teachers in North/South/Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
I think it is important to include that kundalini yoga is independant from sikhism. One can practice one and not the other, or both. There is no compulsion nor is there any contradiction in these two practices.
Kundalini yoga is a powerful yoga practice. It is a combination of yogic poses, mantras (chants), breathing techniques, mudras (hand positions), mental focus points, and exercises. Because of all of it's aspects it is the quickest way to get the effects of a yogic practice. It is known as the yoga for house-holders. In other forms of yoga a serious practitioner would devote his whole life to his practice, and if serious there was little time to spend on anything else. A serious Kundalini yoga practitioner is encouraged to spend 1-2 hours a day, and thus it becomes practical for common working people.
Yoga and Sikhism
It is noted that Baba Siri Chand was a master yogi. He was known for visiting schools of yoga as a guest and subsequently teaching the teacher something. History tells of Baba Siri Chand bowing to Guru Ram Das on behalf of himself and all the schools of yoga. This event made Guru Ram Das the 'Raj Yog' or master of yoga.
It is also noted that most of the Guru Granth Sahib is written in Raag, and whole Guru is written in 'Naad'. Naad is power of spoken words that can have a spiritual effect. This effect is to balance a person and unite them with God. Guru Gobind Singh found a way to utilize the power of Naad when he installed the Khalsa with the practice of reading banis daily.
Chanting mantras is a strong practice both in yoga and in sikhism. The Siri Guru Granth Sahib constantly reminds us to chant the Name of God. There are also accounts of Guru Gobind Singh practicing yoga, and passages in the Sarb Loh Granth describing some of his own yogic practices.
There are passages of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib that are discouraging to the practice of yoga for the purpose of attaining miraculous powers. However, there is no indication that the practice is all together restricted. There is a passage which describes a yogic kriya. The Siri Guru Granth Sahib describes to do this kriya inhale your breath through the left nostril, hold the breath and chant 'Waheguru' 16 times and then exhale the breath through the right nostril. Siri Singh Sahib Ji has taught this as "So Darshan Chakra Kriya".
Siri Guru Granth Sahib quotes
- "The breath is drawn in through the left nostril; it is held in the central channel of the Sushmanaa, and exhaled through the right nostril, repeating the Lord's Name sixteen times." (SGGS p.1106)
And other passages such as
- "Heat up the sun energy of the right nostril, and cool down the moon energy of the left nostril; practicing this breath-control, bring them into perfect balance. In this way, the fickle fish of the mind will be held steady; the swan-soul shall not fly away, and the body-wall will not crumble. " (SGGS p.991)
- "Perfect is the penance; perfect is the Raja Yoga, the Yoga of meditation and success. On the Lord's Path, sinners are purified. Perfect is their glory; perfect is their humanity. They dwell forever in the Presence of the Creator Lord. Says Nanak, my True Guru is Perfect. (SGGS 188)
- "By Guru's Grace, practice Raja Yoga, the Yoga of meditation and success. Those who taste the sublime essence of the Lord have their thirst quenched." (SGGS p.221)
This author would like to conclude by saying yoga is a tool and not the end to the means of finding God. One can easily be led astray by doing anything out of ego, including things the Guru's practiced such as charity, righteous action, sermons, and taking vows. The purpose of yoga is to prepare your body and mind for the powerful energy of Shabad Guru, which is a yoga in itself.
- "Chanting, intense meditation, spiritual wisdom and all meditations; the six schools of philosophy and sermons on the scriptures; the practice of Yoga and righteous conduct; the renunciation of everything and wandering around in the wilderness; the performance of all sorts of works; donations to charities and offerings of jewels to fire; cutting the body apart and making the pieces into ceremonial fire offerings; keeping fasts and making vows of all sorts - none of these are equal to the contemplation of the Name of the Lord, Nanak, if, as Gurmukh, one chants the Naam, even once." (SGGS p.265)
- Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi
- Sikh Dharma International Espanola
- Hacienda de Guru Ram Das
- Akal Security
Information on the 3HO (3HO affiliates):