Friday, January 10, 2014

Being a teacher

Being a Teacher

 By Shakti Parwha Kaur
"Just teach what you know, and teach people to relax." 
-Yogi Bhajan
On my own, I certainly couldn’t teach Kundalini Yoga. This is not false modesty. It is a fact I learned from Yogi Bhajan. Every evening before he sat down on the teacher’s bench at Guru Ram Das Ashram in Los Angeles, he would stop at the altar, hands folded in prayer. One time I asked him what he was doing. He told me he was praying, “Oh Guru Ram Das, I’m just a nut, please teach this class for me.”
He never took personal credit for anything. I believe this is one of the main reasons he was such a beloved and effective teacher. He had achieved incomparable yogic mastery, awareness, and power; he was not just an ordinary man, yet he downplayed the vastness of his mastery. We’ve all read in the Bhagavad-Gita about how the warrior Arjuna couldn’t handle the enormity of it when his “friend,” Lord Krishna, revealed the full glory of his cosmic consciousness. Yogiji didn’t want us to be overwhelmed by him; he wanted us to love his teachings—not him.
Whenever he was complimented, admired, or thanked, he always said “Guru’s grace.” He humbly acknowledged that God was the Doer of everything. He said, “I’m the mailman, not the mail; the water pipe, not the water.”
Training us to become teachers, he often warned us about the incurable disease called Spiritual Ego, which makes you think you’re really hot stuff. It’s easy to get such an inflated ego when you start teaching and people give you accolades. The only way to prevent this disease is humility. Surprisingly, however, there’s an opposite kind of ego—the pathetic, insecure little self that tells you you’re not perfect enough, or you don’t know enough to teach (as if you are the doer!). Yogi Bhajan once told me, “Just teach what you know, and teach people to relax.”
Yogi Bhajan didn’t give me a chance to worry whether I was ready to teach or not. His teacher-training program was quick and decisive, and I was his first trainee. Twenty-five yoga students were lying in corpse pose relaxing after an exercise when he said to me, “Now you teach the class.” Then he walked out of the room.[1]
I was terrified. I had been going to his classes for about six weeks. I had taken reams of notes, but I had certainly never taught a class.
Nearly panic-stricken, I feebly tuned in with Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, and told the women to stretch and sit up. Then I led them through the same sequence of exercises he had just given. That was a format he had often used, so that’s what I did. My mind was on automatic pilot. Somehow I managed to finish the hour. I don’t remember much about it except that my rendition of Long Time Sunshine was pretty sad.
It’s 36 years later, I’m still teaching, only now I’m not terrified. (I can even sing Long Time Sunshine without any mistakes.) I especially love teaching beginners, having them tell me how their lives have improved since they began practicing Kundalini Yoga is tremendously rewarding. Many of them have gone on to become teachers themselves.
I still rely heavily on Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo“Tuning in” is not a ritual. It worked for me in 1969, and it still works. It’s the direct “dial a prayer” number that invokes the guidance and consciousness of the saints and masters who preceded us on this path (including, of course, Yogi Bhajan—as well as Guru Ram Das, Master of Raj Yoga[2]). Chanting this “reverent greeting” sets into motion the cosmic law, “Where you bow, you will be blessed.” I feel truly blessed when I teach. It is my experience of Guru’s grace.
Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa was Yogi Bhajan’s first student in the United States. She has been teaching Kundalini Yoga since 1969. She was officially certified by KRI after completing the first Masters Touch Teacher Training Course in 1996. Author of Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power, Tool Kit for Teaching Beginners,and Kundalini Postures and Poetry, Shakti is currently working on Marriage: The Highest Yoga.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Meet the stylish, 34-year-old leader of Los Angeles’ Kundalini scene

Friday, January 3, 2014

Meet the stylish, 34-year-old leader of Los Angeles’ Kundalini scene

Guru Jagat is helping make the practice of Kundalini cooler than ever. (Photo:
Lately Kundalini has flowed from what-the-heck-is-this fringe status into the yoga spotlight. The mantra-based, super-spiritual practice is appealing to more mainstream sensibilities thanks in part to studios, like Golden Bridge in New York, whose celebrity clients and high-profile adherents (think: Gabrielle Bernstein) have popularized the method. And in Los Angeles, where one can never do enough yoga, Kundalini’s cool stronghold is palpable, with Golden Bridge’s outposts, andYoga West attracting their share of devotees.
The studio of the moment, however, is the newly-opened RA MA Institute in Venice with a charismatic young teacher at its center.
Thirty-four-year-old Guru Jagat, who earned her following at Yoga West and Golden Bridge, was teaching classes out of her guest house in Venice when burgeoning numbers—and a pull she felt towards a space for sale in the neighborhood—catapulted her into founding her own place.
(Photo: HealthyBitchDaily)
Opening night in May 2013 saw 300 attendees, and classes have remained steadily packed since. What to credit for the allure? Well, there’s the results that regulars swear to. Jagat explains that using Kundalini’s breathing, chanting, and posturing exercises is a “technology that activates the brain and endocrine system.” She’s seen it improve mood, anxiety, exhaustion, and fertility issues, among others.
“One of the reasons Kundalini’s the buzz thing right now is because anyone who tries it realizes it’s really quick and they feel so much better,” says Jagat, who was trained and given her name by Yogi Bhajan, the man credited with bringing Kundalini to the States. “People don’t have time to mess around. We need a fast technology to make us feel better.”
The method works for many, but the draw is also due to Jagat’s undeniable appeal. She’s down to earth and funny–not above self-deprecation or a ribald joke, and hangs with a chic crew of Venice wellness women (she counts Moon Juice’s Amanda Chantal Bacon and designer Susie Crippenamong her good friends). She rocks the standard white turban and garb of other master teachers, but often does so with vintage kicks, or a frayed denim vest.
Guru Jagat
Guru Jagat in front of the “Van Halen gong.” (Photo: Facebook/RAMAYogaInstitute)
During class, where she sits on a stage in front of a giant gong (which was initially made for Van Halen), she’s magnetic, anecdotal, and funny. Looking around, attendees are “yogic trailblazers,” hipsters, and older, longtime devotees. All “trade Spandex blends for fashion pieces and some old school eclecticism,” she says, proudly. And while a fair share of the movie industry walks through her door, ask her about specific celebrities and she draws a blank. “There are a lot of actors that come, but I don’t watch TV. I have no idea who they are. People have to point them out to me.” (She was familiar, however, with Demi Moore and Russell Brand, both of whom follow one of RA MA’s teachers.)
Her long term plan for the institute is to develop a yogic science university, not unlike Boulder’s Naropa. “I feel like we’re in the right place at the right time,” she says, “Just like how that was happening in the ’70s, where there was this cross section of a lot of amazing people and intellect and energy.” Throngs of Kundalini devotees seem to be feeling it, too. —Molly Creedan

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

 Yogi Bhajan brought us the most amazing teachings.  He explained if you want prosperity to flow to you, live not in someone else's image, but instead live in the image of your own highest consciousness.
Feeling grateful means to feel:  GREAT  and  FULL.  To be great is very simple:  "Right now, you are breathing, you are alive and you are fully alive.  Start with that and 3 things will happen:
  1. You will be prosperous.
  2. You will be rich.
  3. You will have many many opportunities come to you.
A student asked him how to really become Great, and he said it is important to forgive - and that forgiveness is towards you.  Forgive yourself first.

You need 3 basic understandings to have this happen:
  1. The Breath of Life comes from God.  
  2. It is to you, that it is coming.  (Allow it.)
  3. And you are with it.  (Be with it, saturate yourself with it, accept it.)
That's your first conscious act to becoming Great and Full.
--Yogi Bajan, 6/23/95

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Meditation to Conquer Self-Animosity

Originally taught by Yogi Bhajan in March 1979

Meditation to Conquer Self-Animosity

Sit in an Easy Pose, with a light jalandhar bandh.
Maintain an alert attitude.

MUDRA: Relax the arms at the sides and raise the forearms up and
in toward the chest at the heart level. Draw the hands into fists, and
point the thumbs straight up toward the sky. Press the fists together
in such a manner that the thumbs and fists are touching. The palms
are toward each other. This meditation requires the upper torso to be
held straight. without rocking back and forth.

EYE POSITION: Fix the eyes at the tip of the nose.
There is no required mantra other than the subtle sound of the breath.

BREATH: Inhale through the nose.
Exhale completely through the mouth.
Inhale deeply and smoothly through the mouth.
Exhale through the nose.

TIME: Continue for 3 minutes. Gradually build the time to II minutes. Practice daily, but do not exceed 22 minutes in anyone session.
TO END: Inhale and stretch the arms up over the head. Keep the stretched position as you take 3 more deep breaths. Relax.

There are no enemies. There are challenges to our creativity. The greatest enemy is the self. Self-defeating activ­ity and self-animosity occur where we do not accept ourselves. We instinctively reject self-confirmed continuity.
We will oppose our own success and accomplishment just to break with steadiness. That break is the assertion of ego: an attempt at marking and possessing something in Time and Space. This self-animosity distracts us from the real gift of human life: the capacity to confront and experience the self in relationship to the Unknown Infinity of our Self.
This meditation conquers the state of self-animosity and gives you the ability for constant consciousness in sup­port of the core self. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yogic tips for survival in the modern times section.

Yogic tips for survival in the modern times section.

Handling Our Emotions in these Shifting Times

When it gets right down to it, everyone wants to be Happy. Sometimes we just don't know how.  In the Yogic Scriptures it states, "It is our Birth Right to be Happy."  We are not born in guilt, nor sin - we are actually blessed to be human.  This University called Earth is where we come to learn and the challenges we are given to grow sometimes appear rough. Once we commit to remain happy, the entire psyche of this planet benefits from our decision - so we are making an offering towards World Peace! 

My Teacher, Yogi Bhajan, used to tell us to count our blessings, not our curses.  Meditate on the gravity of this. When you accept you are blessed, blessings start appearing everywhere. I love his statement, "If you can't see God in all, you can't see God at all."  
Discovering the subtle mystery in all places, people and situations makes life much more exciting. But we're human.  And things bug us, make us mad, so we don't always see the Divine at play. Here are a few tips: 
  • For 40 days, No Negative Words: Say nothing negative, hear nothing negative, not even against your worst enemy. Every breath is a new breath of life. Negative reactions merely eat up our energy, so let's forgive the past and move on.
  • Our moods make us burst out with words that shake the trust of even very loyal friends.  Speak not in anger; try this: press your tongue against the upper palate very firmly and begin long, deep breathing through the nose. Slowing the breath to 5-7 times a minute for 3 minutes will alter the mind's frequency, calm the emotions, and your tongue will occupied so you can't speak.  
  • Hydrate: We get upset when we are dehydrated.  Take some water, say a prayer over it, and drink it.  We can't stay mad if our water level is ok. 
  • Chew on a carrot or celery stick.  It'll occupy and channel a lot of the inside disruption. One man used to fight with his wife all the time. He started chewing on celery instead, and their relationship totally improved. It's also good for the nerves and blood sugar.
  • Lastly, connect with your soul's journey here.  We didn't come to bicker.  Sit quietly; feel your own Infinite purpose. Don't get angry over the small things.  Forgive Yourself, Forgive the Universe, Forgive Others.  This is a very Divine trip to Planet Earth where we want to see everyone blossoming like beautiful flowers, spreading their fragrance everywhere.


Yogi Bhajan

 August 26 is the time of great happiness and joy as we celebrate the birth and life of our Dear Teacher, the Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, fondly referred to as Yogi Bhajan. 

When he arrived in the United States in December of 1968, Yogi Bhajan stated his mission quite clearly. He said, "I have come to create Teachers, not to gather disciples. Determined to train leaders and teachers with the power to heal, uplift, and inspire humanity, he taught Kundalini Yoga openly to the public, breaking the tradition of secrecy which had surrounded it for centuries.
Born on August 26, 1929, in what was then India but is today part of Pakistan, he was born with the mark of a saint on the bottom of his foot. He
was taken to many holy places by his parents as a small baby, and thus
The Masters Feet
began his training in higher consciousness.  During his childhood he learned from his wise and saintly grandfather, who sent him to a Spiritual Teacher when he was 7 years old. At the age of 16-1/2 he was declared a master of Kundalini Yoga under the unrelenting guidance of the great Master Sant Hazara Singh.

He was a teenager during the partition of India in 1947. When his village became part of Pakistan; he was put in charge of leading over a thousand people to safety in Delhi, through a country in tremendous upheaval.
After settling his family in Delhi, he attended Punjab University where he received his Master's degree in Economics and was a champion debater and star athlete. He served the Government of India until he came to the West.  He was married to Dr. Bibiji Inderjit Kaur in 1953.  Together they had three children, and five grandchildren.
Sant Hazara Singh
Yogi Bhajan Teacher: Sant Hazara SIngh

Yogi Bhajan had a deeply reverent connection with Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, who represents healing, service and love for all.  Over the years we have dedicated many of our yoga centers and businesses to this healing and uplifting Vibration of Love and Service.  

Yogi Bhajan was gifted with a special mantra, "Guru Guru Wahe Guru, Guru Ram Das Guru," by Guru Ram Das, and he told him whenever the students of Kundalini Yoga are in need, to recite this mantra and he promised to be there for them.  It is a mantra of protection and miracles.  

He left us with so many beautiful and inspiring, and yet simple, life-guiding statements.Here are just a few:   

"Happiness is Your Birthright."

 "It's not the life you life, it's the courage you bring to it."

"It is not that the Teacher is a super human being.  
The Teacher gives you a chance to become a super human being."

Friday, July 5, 2013

Meditation to remove haunting thoughts

This meditation can cure phobias, fears, and neuroses. It can remove unsettling thoughts from the past that surface into the present. And it can take difficult situations in the present and release them into the hands of Infinity. All this can be done in just 40 seconds!
  1. Lower the eyelids until the eyes are only open 1/10th. Concentrate on the tip of the nose. Silently say, “Wahe Guru” in the following manner: “Wah” – mentally focus on the right eye. “Hey” – mentally focus on the left eye. “Guru” – mentally focus on the tip of the nose.
  2. Remember the encounter or incident which happened to you.
  3. Mentally say “Wahe Guru” as in number 1.
  4. Visualize and personify the actual feeling of the encounter.
  5. Again repeat “Wahe Guru” as in number 1.
  6. Reverse the roles in the encounter you are remembering. Become the other person and experience that perspective.
  7. Again repeat “Wahe Guru” as in number 1.
  8. Forgive the other person and forgive yourself.
  9. Repeat “Wahe Guru” as in number 1.
  10. Let go of the incident and release it into the Universe.
These are ten steps to peace, given by Yogi Bhajan. Share them with a friend!
Sat Nam.