3HO Foundation Teachers Training Courses

"International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association" (IKYT)

June 1998

By Terry Michelle Kurtz, MA

"Everybody who is in 3HO is going to be a [yoga] teacher, period. Whether you like it or you don’t. Either you will ultimately end up a teacher or you will leave us". Yogi Bhajan, Winter Solstice--1973

The 1998 Gal Research Group listed 3HO's description of themselves as follows:

"Students and teachers of Kundalini Yoga, which includes all types of yoga, who practice the 3HO way of lifestyle as taught by Yogi Bhajan".

Kundalini Yoga teacher training is the flagship of recruitment and product for the 3HO ("Happy, Healthy, Holy Organization"). The organizational publication "The Science of Keeping Up" (Vol.1) Editor Shakti Parwha Khalsa states that--"3HO is a teacher training organization".

RECRUITMENT--Step One (It's the classes stupid)

3HO recruiting begins with people taking Kundalini Yoga classes at centers or ashrams. Charismatic ashram teachers influence the students. These teachers advise--practice Kundalini Yoga daily, chant to still the mind, and use the teachings of Yogi Bhajan as a means to become more positive and have more energy. They are urged to feel the "experience" and use the "technology" of Kundalini Yoga.

Kundalini Yoga teachers may make claims, like these posted on the Internet and attributed to Ravi Singh Khalsa--"Introduction to Kundalini Yoga". This includes a "...list of the general benefits of Kundalini Yoga not only to wet your appetite, but to get you thinking along certain lines". He concludes--"You may never have considered that any exercise or self-help system could be so comprehensive or profound".

Such claims begin 3HO’s "thinking along certain lines" to mold the minds of many unsuspecting Yoga students that come to classes.

RECRUITMENT--Step Two (Immersion)

Someone sends in for a Kundalini Yoga application. A special form for students who have already taught and want an official certification. This states (historically) that all Kundalini Yoga teachers need over 1,500 hours of certifiable, on the floor, practical Kundalini Yoga--not Hatha or any other form. You must type the application, submit three letters of recommendation from verifiable sources--that you taught 1,500 hours, plus a three page (double-spaced) description of how Kundalini Yoga has changed your life. And of course an application fee is required. 3HO will also ask you for any reference materials--their files regarding your work and experience.

RECRUITMENT--Step Three (Preparation for Certification)

The application also includes four sample essay examples, which gives potential teachers an idea of what they should know in order to qualify for certification. Here are two examples of how total your knowledgeable must be of Yogi Bhajan’s teachings to qualify.

  1. "Shakti Pad is the area of consciousness in which you confront the ego and the ego confronts you in a million ways. If you can take and use the mental link with your spiritual teacher, you can learn through it, you can penetrate it, you can pass it."

Question--How many years of practicing Kundalini Yoga must you complete before reaching this stage?

  1. Yogi Bhajan says--"Be very careful. The difference between a saint and a teacher is that the saint is very, very, impersonal and the teacher is extremely personal and highly impersonal"

Question--Why does he make such distinctions and what effect would this have regarding the conduct of a teacher?

Now About the Money

This is not common Yoga knowledge that can be obtained through bookstores or local libraries. You must order manuals, cassettes, books, and videos from the 3HO Foundation. (or in some situations, a 3HO family business).

Actually there’s a page of the application that says--"Yes, I would like to buy a membership to the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association" ($45.00). There are videotapes of Yogi Bhajan, cassettes of his teacher's lectures, his books, etc. etc. All available for a price--payable by credit card or check to the 3HO Foundation. Does this seem like a non-profit or a business? Kundalini yoga classes re not on a donation basis and materials are not free.

According to another 3HO publication called the "Science of Keeping Up" (Vol.5) "Yogi Bhajan has said that Kundalini Yoga will be the Yoga of the Aquarian Age and will be practiced for the next 5,000 years. In 1998, we are stepping up our efforts to meet his vision by expanding teacher training and going global with our communications on the Internet".

There is now an effort to bring Yogi Bhajan’s classes live--in real time--with sight and sound over the Internet. But of course you have to subscribe ($$) for this service.

More Money

There is another branch of IKYTA that provides knowledge to consumers called the KRI (Kundalini Research Institute). They develop courses for 3HO and choose senior teachers as instructors. The "Level One: The Master’s Touch" certification requires two weeks of your time, energy and $1,800.00. The literature states--"110 hours of experiential, interactive course work to provide a solid grounding in the theory/ practice of Kundalini Yoga". There is also the Kundalini Yoga Teacher’s Conference ($120.00) and on-and-on you can go--but it all costs money. Simply put--YOGA=$$$!


Quoting Gurucharn S. Fowlis, a KRI trainer--"The Master’s Touch is a subtle thing. It challenges our notion of reality. It dares us to believe the unbelievable and then plays with our concept of ‘reality’ and ‘fantasy’ until the thoughts implode in on ourselves and nothing remains [but Pure Being]."

Is it really so subtle? Or is he saying that 3HO is going to mess with your mind until you "implode" and "start thinking along certain lines"? Is that like brainwashing?

Note: Terry MIchelle Kurtz (1952-2021), received her undergraduate degree from Webster University in Webster Groves, Missouri and her Masters in Psychology from Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona. She worked with child protective services in Phoenix and was an advocate for those victimized by cults. Ms. Kurtz was also a yoga teacher and a former member of 3HO known as "Kartar Khalsa."


Copyright © 1998 by Rick Ross

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