Sunday, October 14, 2012

Deep Into the Head Covering Question

When we meditate in Kundalini Yoga, we are encouraged to cover our heads. I have often been asked by students why. I never knew exactly how to answer this because I have heard so many different reasons over the years, and also because I may have gotten the reasons confused in my mind with the reasons for veiling, which, to be clear, is a whole different issue. However, there is something so right about covering the head that I have obviously adopted it without bothering too much on why. In fact, in my bio I say that I sometimes wish Mormons wore turbans. I'll get to that in a bit, but first, I should mention that everything I write in this post is meant to get you thinking about the body as a temple, and so even if you hear terms that are unfamiliar, remember that we are headed in the direction of the sacred.

For the last few months, I have been sifting this over in my mind. I have been noticing in the temple and at church buildings, that a great amount of gospel art that portrays biblical times, shows people wearing turban-like head coverings.

This is similar to a large picture in a the LA temple that I cant find online. But notice how everyone is wearing a turban. In the picture at the LA temple, Jesus is also wearing one.

Last week, some of my meditation webinar ladies asked the same question. What are the reasons for covering the head while meditating? I decided to get a solid answer for them.

Here are some different things I have heard over the years.

  • It shows respect. 
  • It helps you focus.
  • It keeps unwanted spirits out of your crown chakra (energy center at the top of the head) and helps open that gate to God.
  • It affects the energy flow in your meridians (energy channels in the body).

I think all of the above are probably true and good reasons. But here is what I found last week from an old lecture by Yogi Bahjan:

"It's a yarmulke which you have been wearing for centuries, as Jews, as Christians, as Muslims. Because there are twenty-six bones in the head which need a cranial adjustment, and that self-crowning and that adjustment are your right. Your skull has exactly twenty-six parts, as you have twenty-six vertebra, as your foot has twenty six bones. One bone off, and the corresponding muscle and nerve will give you a relevant sickness. One vertebrae loose only one thousandth of a millimeter will give you disease. One part of the cranium off will give you absolute depression so much so that you cannot take it."

I wondered about this. It seems very scientific. And he even says this, in the next paragraph of this lecture--that he is a scientist. But Kundalini is a science of elevation. It is at once physical and beyond physical. At first, this answer seemed very physical. Until I read it several times.

I realized that everything physcial is also spiritual. If the body is a temple as Christ taught, then there may be "more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophies," as some philosophers suggest. I am still pondering the significance of the number 26, but I'm sure there is deep symbology in this too.

What I finally realized was the most important part of YB's quote (I was distracted by all the 26s) was this part: "...that self crowning and that adjustment are your right." If we are indeed kings and queens, preists and priestesses, then a crown would be our birthright.

Many people I know who wear a turban, and who practice kundalini yoga, wear it beautifully, with a jeweled turban pin like the picture of my beautiful friend below. As far as head coverings go, I usually opt for something quick and simple, but even then, I have to admit, there is something royal feeling about it. After all, Kundalini Yoga is a Raj yoga, which means, royal yoga--it was handed down via a royal lineage.

It just so happens that two of the women in the meditation class/webinar are studying cranial-sacral therapy from a Christ centered perspective, and I can't wait to hear what they think about this. I don't know a ton about Cranial-Sacral Therapy, but I do know a bit about the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a master gland which rests in the sphenoid sinus (part of the sphenoid bone), which is housed in your cranium.

Interestingly, the sphenoid sinus is shaped exactly like the sacrum (which is the bone at the base of the spine between the last vertebra and the tailbone.) And the sphenoid bone, and the pelvis are shaped exactly alike as well. (And if you are wondering, about the word sacrum, yes it does come from the Latin for sacred).

Here is a picture of the Sphenoid Bone

Here is a picture of the pelvis with the sacral bone in the center.

Is this a coincidence that both ends of the chakra system have the same architecture--that they mirror each other--like the two veils--the veil we come through to get into this life (womb) and the veil we must go through (temple veil) to get to the next world? I don't think so. Especially since the Kundalini (your divine potential) is believed to reside at the base of the spine. When a person experiences a "Kundalini rising," this energy rises up through the shusmana, or central spinal channel, passes through the heart chakra, and ultimately passes through the pituitary gland (which is also known as the 3rd eye or brow chakra) and then out the top of the head and up to God. Oneness. Etc. This kind of blows my hair back every time I think of it.

But even if I didn't know all this, I know how I feel when I forget to cover my head. I feel like my brains are falling out. I feel unmoored. When I cover my head while meditating, I feel grounded and humble, more alert, and well, royal.

As far my not-so-secret wish that Mormons wore turbans--well I have entirely different reasons for that desire, which I will have to go into in another blog post.

I love comments.


  1. I think I need to read this four or five times. So much stuff to ponder! p.s. Happy Birthday!!

  2. Yeah. Kinda deep. And there is even more. But this is what spewed forth. :)

  3. WOW!!! Talk about deep! This makes me want to DEFINITELY train in Craniosacral. The couple of times I've had it done, by an LDS friend of mine, it was absolutely amazing. And humbling. I'm going to read more on head covering. I can't wait for you to post more on this... The 26 thing had me pondering also. I have a thought on that, but I may message you privately... Not sure its something I want to post publicly at this point. Hm... Thank you :)

    1. OOh. Yes, please do message me. I have some thoughts on it too, but they are still in baby form. As for Cranial Sacral therapy, I am not sure really what it is all about. I learned all this from Kundalini yoga. But it is interesting though, huh. Our bodies are master temples indeed.

  4. I decided to take a look in the scriptures about head-covering and that got me into 1 Corinthians 11 which sent me to Google and this article... it focuses more on women and veiling, but it's still pretty interesting stuff and jives with what we/Rocky already believe about the veil women wear...’s-teachings-1-corinthians-women

  5. Wow, the similarities between the spenoid bone and the pelvis are amazing. Thanks for sharing your insights into covering your head! I have been doing it while meditating for a few weeks now and like it. I don't know if I could go back.

    1. Yeah, that blows my mind too. And that sacrum comes from the word sacred-- so interesting. Does anyone get the feeling that the people who went before us actually knew lots more than we know?

    2. Yes. I think they were more tapped into the many layers of the body and the sacred mysteries that were contained within it.

  6. Fascinating! I've never noticed the similarity between those two bones before but I love how you tie it into the mirroring of the veil. I will have to think on this some more...

    I'm curious though, how does wearing a head covering correlate with the alignment of the bones in the skull? Was Yogi Bahjan using a figurative expression or do you think he was eluding to something more?

    1. When you tie on a head covering it does align the bones. obviously putting a tissue on your head won't have the same effect. So I think he was talking specifically about a turban like thing... But even a yarmulke would effect the energy flow from the cranium through the whole body. I have had an acupuncturist tell me that she can tell the difference in meridians depending on how I wear my hair--in a pony tail it flows differently than when I have it down.

  7. makes me think of The Mandlebrot Set and fractals

  8. Lots of layers for sure! I'm so glad I found a make-shift covering. Can't wait to learn more. I'm so grateful to learn more and more about all of this.

  9. This is so interesting! Here are some links I found about the number 26:

    And this, Possible Symbolism in the Numbers of Bones in the Human Spinal Column:

  10. This article is just what I was looking for. Would love to wear one in our church. We are rich in Christ. Not poor. Am going to find something to wear during my home time with God.

  11. Speaking of the sphenoid being a mirror of the sacrum, do you think the veil on the head could mirror a woman's veil - the hyman?