The first time I encountered “yoga” was in the late 1950s and who the eck had ever heard of such a thing back then? Well, not me!
We were very much a working class environment and not too well off for anything: nobody had cars, phones or tellies, or even fitted carpets.
Women did the housework and chores, men went out to work and had allotments and went to the pub. Kids did kid things and got shunted off to Sunday School every week and apart from their grannies, generally kept away from adults.
My available information was a poor filter to the post war world: mainly kiddie comics, knitting and cookery oriented womens’ mags, encyclopedia showing artist impressions of primordial swamps, African tribes’ peoples in ancient hutments, and some info about a tribe in New Guinea who carted dead elders around strapped to their backs until the deceased rotted away, (the stuff one remembers!); also, we listened’ to sanitized music and radio plays, (I mean!!! Max Bygraves for goodness sake and a few American crooners like Perry Como, Journey into Space”, and Billy Cotton Band Show). To say the world had just emerged from a major debacle a few years before, things were parochial.
My first brush with “yoga” was quite a shock to my sheltered and limited knowledge base. I had a newly acquired bezzie mate and we went back to her house, and behold, when we went into the front room, there was Pauline’s dad standing on his head in the middle of it!
I couldn’t wait to tell somebody about this stunning sight. “I’ve seen Pauline’s dad doing yoga,” I said to my own dad.
“The daft article,” replied my dad, (never one to be encouraging), “the man’s flaming crackers. He’s a bus conductor for Pete’s sake”.
Well, dad must have actually heard of yoga (?), but it wasn’t normal and I didn’t ever imagine myself doing it as I was the world’s most hopeless gymnast; any physical jerks being beyond my competence or desire.
However, many years later:
I went to a yoga class and stuck with it, although it wasn’t really yoga, just some asanas. I kept wondering what this, ‘yoke with the Divine’ I’d read about could possibly be. I thought maybe I would cotton on to it with experience, but nothing about what we were doing seemed in the least bit Divine and none of the ladies in the class seemed high on any sort of bliss either.
One day we had a stand-in teacher who suggested we did an om shanti chant before we began. The ladies said they wouldn’t do it: they were most put out. The woman next to me said she’d never be able to show her face again if anyone heard us! So, no wonder I was waiting in vain for the penny to drop. This radical realisation that another ‘world’ of yoga existed was so liberating and I eventually, and quite by chance (or was it?) found a Kundalini teacher.
As soon as I walked into that class and we tuned in with, “ong namo, guru dev namo” that was ‘it’.
If dad were still alive he’d now think me a daft article and obviously crackers.
Oh well, I suppose I did choose him after all!!
My husband built a bridge – he’s really good at that kind of thing… It’s a beautiful bridge, sturdy and strong, and just wide enough for me to perch on and bask in the midday sun on the days when I’m lucky enough to have a little bit of time for afternoon reflection… And this Monday – far from Blue – was bright and sunny, with a lovely cool breeze.
My morning walk had taken me past this lovely bridge, along the side of the cheerfully babbling beck, along a muddy path, over slippy-shiny stones, to my favourite place… Our wood, cool and green and lush, with white buds of wild garlic, yellow buttercups and purple – yes purple (!) bluebells all starting to emerge from their winter slumber.
I returned this day to my favourite Sadhana – one which I will never teach (but if you’re curious do yourself a favour and join Siri Arti for Starchild teacher training!) followed by Kirtan Kriya, because it just feels right, all sitting on a not quite as perfect or comfortable or straight bridge, but secluded and private… and when I emerged from the depths of the song still vibrating in my heart found I was being watched! And who was this snooper intruding on my sacred space? Only the most beautiful, gentle deer… Not snooping at all, but curious, watchful, and for a moment, however brief… Part of me, and I of her…
Within this sense of one-ness came awareness… One that spills from my heart and lips so frequently now that I know those closest to me are getting a little bit bored of hearing it! But an awareness of gratefulness, of receiving the blessings of the Universe willingly with an open heart and it becomes so strong that I really can’t contain it, and I suppose a big part of this for me, comes from Ikigai… Where what I love, meets what I’m good at, and that meets what the world needs, and that can become my profession… My reason for being right here, right now.
It’s taken 34 years, some painful experiences… So much fear… So much loss… So much running… So much searching…
Yet, when I listen to the whispers of my heart, and with the support of the aforementioned beloved husband and builder of bridges over streams (and chasms of heartache), and I choose the path less travelled… Often through darkness, sometimes tricky to navigate, sometimes a right pain the… Well, you know… When I surrender to the Universal call to oneness, and to being a lighthouse… Well, life becomes a song… Pain doesn’t disappear, sometimes worry shows her weary head and occasionally fear takes hold of my heart and I need to be very firm with myself to not allow it to squeeze so tight I forget to breathe.
But I believe I’ve found my reason for being, not only as an experience maker as wife, mother, woman… but a trailblazer, a dream maker, a hope grower… a teacher… a lighthouse. And a teacher of children. It’s such a privilege for me to work with so many bright, radiant young people… Share some tools for life (communication, calmness, connectedness, growth-mind set) to name but a few… and learn from THEM… Learning to remember to listen, to be truthful, to be kind, to keep an open heart and mind… Remember to have FUN! Remember to Laugh! Remember to try! Remember to trust… And remember to be as kind to the child within me, as I am to the children around me. Sat Nam x
When I began teaching, I found early on I ran into mental blocks & difficulties when looking to prepare & arrange a class outline/idea/syllabus to teach over the coining weeks. After some experience, my confidence & interest grew, I suppose I got hungry & this allowed me to look at my block & find some inspiration to broaden my horizons, I found 'the 8 elements of Excellence by Yogi Bhajan'.
The 8 elements were the focus of the GBKYF 2015, I found a leaflet from the festival outlining them thus; The Vision, to see your goal & keep it in your consciousness, The Courage, to attempt it & keep up, The Grit, to go through it, The Humility, to know who the doer is, The Knowledge to substantiate it, The Prayer to feed it, The Grace to carry yourself through it & The Determination to achieve it.
I began to put together a mental outline of what the 8 element classes might look like & consist of. I realised that the first element 'The Vision' requires a goal, I shut my eyes & began to think....'My old teacher had mentioned to me that. Shiv Charan Singh owned an Ashram in Portugal & you could stay free of charge in exchange for 'Seva' working there for bed & board. He was trying to poke/provoke me into getting involved, to look at things deeper & confront whatever came up, to stand on my own two feet & go find the teachings for myself.
This idea of going to this Ashram felt like a seed planted long ago, when I first heard the name Shiv Charan Singh spoken, maybe a year into Kundalini Yoga my ears pricked up, I felt something stir deep within me, from my unconscious to my sub-conscious, a process was beginning somehow. I went to see Shiv Charan Singh & Satya Kaur, (Shiv’s wife) talk in London about; the benefits of communal living, the ethos behind an ashram & the way of living together can work. After the talk, I reflected, what appealed to me about ashram life was; finding a space that promotes a regular Aquarian Sadhana & living in a space that was cultured to living & understanding the teachings of Yogi Bhajan.
So, before I could move on seriously & begin to teach about the 8 elements of excellence, I had to set my goal & committed myself to visit the Quinta do Rajo Karam Kriya Ashram in March of 2017'' this was Summer 2016 (my birthday is in March). I began to use the Sixth element, The Prayer to feed it.
I began to find out lots of information while researching for the 8 elements, I didn't know where to start with Humility, lol. I really enjoyed learning about each one & what they meant to me, each class felt exciting, it was all new material. The 2nd element is ''The Courage'' which I needed to commit & seriously enquire about a possible stay at this here 'Ashram'. I began to feel a little heat of commitment beginning, as the internet opened the communication channels, it was easy to click away online, but this commitment was going to be quite a deep challenge.
I received two basic forms to fill in, one about personal details & the other was about your experience with Macrobiotic cooking, garden/handyman work, teaching, translating, computers, first aid & driving. It all looked simple, but I soon felt a tightening within me as 'The Process' began to unfold, a page or two about myself was required & I soon found that 'The Grit' (Third Element of Excellence) was really going to be needed to go through with this project! Prayer seemed to help as you could potentially manage what was going or not going on with things, however Humility help me release lots unto the Cosmos by asking your Will is my Will oh Lord, guide me through please Great One.
I also had to fake it till I made it, I began saying to people ''I am going to visit the Karam Kriya Ashram in Portugal around March 2017'' the more I said it, the more I felt confident about it. I hadn't booked a flight or even been accepted at the ashram yet, 'but' you gotta feel as though your already there, it would definitely happen this way, if I could keep putting out the right vibrations it might come true.
It was still 7/8 months from March, I was promoting my new destiny & goal at the time, I’d asked for a reference from my teacher & employer & the ashram had submitted my application to the directors, I got a reply asking how soon could I start, would I be able to attend fairly soon? Early October maybe? This was Aug/Sept?
I was in town doing some flyering for classes & to think things through, when out of chance I bumped into some fellow teachers, we began catching up, I reeled off my now mantra'' ''I was going to the ashram in Portugal around March next year, they could accept me earlier though I added'' both asked ''why March?'' I said ''well it's my Birthday see & wanted to stick to my plan etc etc etc.'' They both said; ''You're are ready now & it's your ego that wants to relax & wait till March, go now & then at least you'll get it out of your system'' My stomach sank as I realised they were right, If I had also to keep saying the Ashram mantra till March, I’d have driven myself half insane & what if it failed to happen by the time I was due to go in March?
I needed something concrete to work with, I again needed the Grit & Courage to help me attain my Vision. I did an 'I Ching' it said along the lines of 'go now, great success will come to one’s spiritual development, if one waits too long the chance might be missed or the energy will be drained'' I replied that day & accepted the position of Sevadar at the QDR Ashram starting 12th September, leaving on the 5th December.
So, I’d gone & done it, next step get some flights, tell my boss I was going wandering for a while & would she mind if I could go at the end of the month? Let my students know & close all my classes down. Write a C.V. of myself & get my references submitted & tell my mum & dad. Things were moving very quickly suddenly, a few days ago, I had months ahead of me, I needed 'Element Five' 'The Knowledge to substantiate it.'' The ashram was chasing up my references again, as I received an information pack online outlining my newly found future role of Sevadar.
A Sevadar offers to serve out of selfless service & works from a place deeply connected to Humility & Grace, (element 4& 8) my translation is thus, that you work from the heart with a deep essence of altruism, the idea is you work from a perspective where you work out of love, not to impress anybody & try to buy their time gain brownie points. It's between you & GOD basically, Gods your boss so be humble to know who the doer is.
My teacher supplied me with a glowing reference which lifted my spirits a little, deep down I was beginning to question myself, was capable of staying at the ashram for 40 days plus, could I handle this I wondered? It could be quite tough work & would I be able to manage to make Sadhana every day? They might kick me out for not keeping up, I felt very small & kind of shocked that all this was happening & so quickly too, be careful of what you ask for washed over me a few times, but a yogi stays in elevated spirits!!
The motto for the Picean age was I want to know please help me? The motto for the Aquarian age is I know, let me help take you there.
Hi my name is Joseph, I started Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan in November of 2012, this is around 3 & a half years ago. I was really interested in Kundalini after reading about it's mystical potential in Eastern & Western Esoteric writings. I'd been suffering from a herniated disc after playing Rugby 5 years previous, so if I could strengthen my back & relieve some of the pain I was persistently going through & also gain more spirituality & understanding then I was clearly onto a good thing.
At the time I tried Kundalini yoga with other yogas & meditation, I was swimming & trying alternative practices, such as Chi Kung, Martial arts, Taoism, I Ching, Shamanism, Five Rhythms dancing & Massage of all different sorts, I found them all to be healing in many different ways. Each practice & path also would teach you something about yourself; five rhythms dancing showed me fear & insecurity, the way through was to just keep dancing, to lose & find yourself in the Dance. Taoism showed me about the microcosmic orbit our the relationship to chi, movement, breath & healing ourselves from within.
After around six months, of a one night a week KY practice, I began to feel as though I could see a positive change in my life, i'd lost weight, given up on bad friends & had a new passion, Kundalini Yoga. After class one night I heard an inner voice say quite clearly ''you should learn to teach this'' at the time it was abundantly clear to me that I hadn't really had a goal for a while, or succeeded in any i'd chosen to attempt. It felt as though life was passing by quickly, without much success & a limited understanding of who I was & what I was meant to do with my life. At a dance workshop called dance your dreams, I was able to put things into order & see that I was the only one holding myself back , me & my fears, if I wanted I could become a teacher, all I had to do was apply myself.
After telling my teacher of my goal he quickly took me under his wing & helped me see where I was heading & the things I was going to have to go through. I started a 40 day kriya & stuck to it, i'd been vegetarian since starting KY & had completed a few Aquarian Sadhanas. I was enjoying my transformation, but my body was showing me how much damage there was & I was still in a lot of pain with my back. In March I started my Kundalini Teacher training, I became a KRI International Level 1 Instructor in April of 2015 i've been teaching at least one or two+ classes a week since February 2015.
Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of awareness, my practice has been like a project or hobby at times, by teaching it & learning to teach it, it has taught me so much more about what's going on within & outside of me. When I started my Kundalini project it was to get fit, heal my mind body & Soul, it was like stripping down an old car & then the rebuilding of it. It's been a huge transformation process, which I found safe and secure in, with lots of ways to understand what's actually going on with you & the others in your life. You begin to deal with the issues, learning to support yourself & others along the way, to where's best & where you aught to be.
Kundalini exercises, have deepened my inner body awareness helping me to heal from within. I've managed to heal nerve damage & build muscle back to help realign my posture, relieving a lot of pain and suffering. Through meditation you can quieten the mind, observe the ego & become aware of your surroundings, emotions and feelings, dropping into the awareness and starting to feel connected. The growing ability to heal my body has been a beautiful experience that has kept growing, day by day, becoming my own teacher & using the teachings has been such a gift.
Through our understanding of our physical body and it's systems (nervous system, circulatory system, musculoskeletal, lymphatic and Endocrine systems) we see how yoga helps and can explain the the purposes of movement and breath work for specific illness associated with organs, glands, nerves, strengthening muscle and balancing & stretching them too. This then allows for improved posture, better digestion a stronger immune system, an ability to see signs of stress and how to avoid it or deal with with it competently.
What we put into our bodies can relieve stress from some systems and improve others performance, or massively hamper us. Through the science of Kundalini Yoga we look at our nutritional diet, fasting & mono fasts to help clean the systems. We can respond to illness quickly by what we eat & strengthen ourselves to avoid further illnesses, you can match your nature with nature & live more in harmony with life.
Pranayamma controls the mind very quickly and can balance the systems of the body & massage internal organs. We chant to vibrate our glandular system allowing regular secretion and hormone distribution, and the yoga keeps it healthy also. Chanting can be quite a challenge for some people & it's interesting to see how it can develop confidence, put strength in your voice and give you projection.
The other way to connect with Kundalini Yoga is within spiritual development, understanding how to work with Kundalini Energy. Kundalini Yoga is a 'praan' yoga, so we use breath & bandha (inner locks) to elevate energy, which we cultivate through kriya or movement & apply to the chakras & ten bodies system. Working with this awareness allows you an understanding of the eastern philosophical questions, showing you how to live, and operate in the hectic times we find ourselves in.
After completing my Goal of Teacher Trainer, i'm looking to deepen my practice & time spent with Kundalini Yoga once again. I had a recurring question on my teacher training; ''where is this taking me too?''. My teacher would smile back at me, as I waited for her to tell me & I never really knew or could get an answer, which seemed frustrating, however I realise sometimes it's not about where your going, you don't need to know & if your already there..... then hey what's the problem? Why go anywhere else? My body is healing at a good rate, but to help speed things up I think spending some time immersed in Kundalini Yoga might be what I need?
I've put on my calender for next year to go & spend some time at the Quinta do Rajo Ashram in Portugal, you must stay for a minimum of 40 days & help out with seva to earn your keep. My idea is that you can utilise the peaceful & powerful qualities of an ashram for your study & service, again furthering a connection to awareness of self & others. Recently i've found a loneliness in communities of all sorts, that closeness seem far away as though there is something missing or could be better understood in the Ashram surrounding/experience?
Those of you who have read the first instalment of my chronicles of self-discovery (aka my first blog post to this lovely page) may recall rather a large tantrum followed by an epiphany. Now that’s all good and well but without action being taken it would all have been a little redundant, so being well intentioned, and very determined, a serious commitment to Sadhana commenced… and plenty of meditation… and yes, you’ve guessed it, a frightening amount of change.
So, I’ve re-committed to my practice (yay right), left an unhealthy work situation (cue anxiety – bills to pay after all), started teaching a bit more… and… here comes a big one, I’ve decided to tackle an issue or a few intertwined issues surrounding my own sense of “worthiness”.
Why? Well, these few months of meditation, and work and thinking has allowed me to make rather a startling discovery… It seems that all that running round, working hard, earning and still experiencing lack, has absolutely nothing to do with the kind of work I’m doing, or how much I earn per hour, or in fact anything seeming even remotely relevant. Folks, I have reason to believe the ‘problem’ here is Me, and my deep rooted fear of responsibility, abundance and dare I say this, greatness…
And something else resonates here. A few months ago I was complaining bitterly to my dear teacher HHJ about various things, (I’ll not bore you with the details), and she said to me, in her matter of fact, no big whoop sort of way: “You need to be the Queen in your house”… smile; nod, OK, Whatever…
But suddenly it all became clear… like two days ago (I’m clever in many ways but sometimes when it counts I obviously need a bit more time). I do need to be the Queen in my own house! I need to own up and by golly, I need to be grateful!
Of course this is about me, my actions and personal projection, but it’s also a bit more down to earth… Let me explain. My home, the building I live in is large and imposing and really rather beautiful, it’s been in my husband’s family for generations and ‘the expected thing’ to do after our daughter was born was to move in. This lead to tears, arguments and unbelievable resistance on my part and for all this time I refused to make it my home. So I would cook and clean and tidy, but I never actually ‘moved in’ and that lack of commitment spilled out into other areas of my life, the lack of gratitude affected my relationships and my outlook and, on the whole, good intentions aside… everything was still a bit of a muddle.
Two days ago, I woke up to Sadhana on a grey, damp sort of a day; and a different sort of a feeling, a push in the right direction one might say. And I really did start getting my house in order! Presently I’m up to my elbows in sticky icky bits of damp wallpaper and funny bits of lime plaster… but to my great joy made a very surprising discovery! Beneath FOUR layers of wallpaper ranging in varying degrees of hideousness, there they were – Mickey or Steamboat Willie as he was known then, and Rupert Bear, paddling big waves in tiny little wooden canoes… a mural created about sixty years ago by a GI named George for the children of family friends… I bet he never guessed back then that a little project to make three kids smile (they affectionately go by Grandad James and Uncle Roger and Aunty Mary now) would bring so much joy to a determined yogini in 2016.
This little experienced, tied in with all the others, reminded me of something very precious. No matter the gunk, the dirt, the lifetime of poor education and lack of self-worth, with a bit of hard work, an open heart, and a prayer on our lips of thanks and love we can all find the beauty that is right there at the core, that something which makes our inner child leap for joy, and none of the other stuff matters.
I’m still working hard, and gratefully so, but my wish for you is this: May you see that beautiful longtime sun as it shines upon you, May you feel all the love of the Universe surrounding you, and that pure light within you, May you embrace it, give thanks for it, allow it to become part of you, until you are Home.
Along my way of setting a goal to to become a Yogi & Yoga teacher, there has been a great many colourful & interesting viewpoints, there are lots of lessons to observe, experience, contemplate & digest before you can moving along. My most refreshing example of witnessing a spiritual experience took place early during my teacher training.
I'd started my Kundalini teacher training late; already a quarter of the way in, meaning i'd have to catch up the first few weekends of classes next year to complete. I was two weekends in when we covered Karma & Health, specifically it was the lessons of Karma which connected to me most strongly. I'd heard the word 'karma' being openly banded about with such conviction & smugness as though from whom & whence it came was to warrant some sort of dothing of cap, ''well played sir'' there is no comeback for such a timely placed word!! As I tried to put my ego aside, it struck me that right here & now I had very little knowledge of the workings of Karma, Dharma & it's true meanings/lessons despite what my huge ego may have thought all this time.
So the message I began to translate was; the experience of life can be based closely to the proverb ''you reap what you sow''. Karma is the CAUSE & effect, NOT!!! just the result, or effect, as which I had so long confused it with. An example; you fall down the stairs & break an arm ''Bad Karma Bro!!'' but wait..... Karma is more subtle it's not the break or the fall, it's the trip! Say you didn't get your eyes tested cos you wasted your time on some trivialities, meaning when you had to act quickly you were blinded by your incompetence (also your glaucoma) as you failed to navigate around some loose footing resulting in the chain reaction of falling & hurting yourself.
Karma; is life trying to teach you a lesson to understand, if we fail to grasp the teaching, we don't learn & then cycle begins again & again, until the message becomes so loud we gain some awareness to see the consequence of our ignorance then decide our path from there, ie not wasting your time & straining your eyes staring at facebook, go get some of those important things done!
The next topic for debate was Samsara, ''Sam who?'' I believe Samsara is ''the repeating cycle of birth, life & death (reincarnation)'' it's six worlds of ego, which plays according to game rules depending upon the skill of the player & strength of ego. Samsara could be thought of as a karmic cycle of fear/desire attached to our perceptions/interpretations of the Maya or illusion before us in which we identify to the world or our existence as such. Now i'd heard & read before that all we perceive was just an illusion, however it seemed pretty real to me, an getting someone to believe that it was all an illusion is difficult too, try it sometime, you can all tooo easily get a clip round the ear to hear a sniggering, ''is that an illusion too mate?''
It is believed that we pass through six worlds of ego play; hell, hungry ghosts, animals, human, jealous gods & gods, all these are a gameworlds for the ego & the ego can never be satisfied. As soon as we acquire something it's not long until the satisfaction disappears & we find another desire pulling us towards it, potentially forever, or until we get burnt out!! Ohh-kayyy.......so how can we get out of this???? Was the question, my question........I don't want to be trapped struggling in some terrifying web of suffering, waiting for the spider of doom to make it's move, I want an option!!! Arrrghhh, so what next oh wise one?
The sage took us through some options, one idea particularly clicked with me, you choose Dharma, the golden words were now taking shape, oh how I wished I had listened to what Dharma was!!! So what was Dharma again? It's not been freely discussed in the ale houses of West Yorkshire, nor have any of my chorines been free to offer up quick afternoon workshops on how to buffer up your Dharma for the next year? I have scrawled sometime ago & stuck to my wall, ''Read daily from the scriptures of your choice on topics relating to the path out of suffering (Dharma) & the nature of (Satya) Reality & Meta Physics.'' Clear as mud & I was stuck in it, upto my neck.
I could feel the trick was about to manifest & great teachers keep you suspended in patience, not in hope, the answer is upto you dear friend, drop all hope as it wont come to you like that. The sage explained; ''the cycle of Samsara can be briefly stopped & the door into Dharma can be opened by a guide,'' 'nice' I thought! ''BUT!! the door won't be open for long,'' there's always a BUT!! ''so you have to Jump as you can't be in both worlds, enter into Dharma walk the path & things come.'' This new information was electric to me, I began to instantly visualise my experience, big wheels, doors, jumps & long drops, time limits, oh crikey. This whole door opening thing had really clicked, I began wondering if i'd realise when someone was opening the door for me, also how long would it be before it closed? I decided that if this was to occur I would be super sensitive & leap with both feet & try not to worry about where I landed, as long as I leapt, not leaping was a fate worse then death in my eyes.
A week or two later I was on my way to a Hot Hatha Yoga class, I could see the teacher as she was holding the door open for me to come in, we clocked each other, I said ''hi'' she said ''I'd like you to teach here, we don't have many boys teaching & I really need some boys'' I immediately started to say how busy I was & I was already doing teacher training in Kundalini Yoga making my excuses when I realised what was going on. There she was, a teacher/guide literally holding the door open, leap damn you!! I said leap!!!! Erm ''okay'' I said, she said ''have a think about it & get back to me.'' I could feel that this was the lesson, the air tasted different, if I trusted everything, all would be okay things would look after me I was sure. ''I'm already doing a Kundalini Teaching thingy'' she repied ''thats great, but how long will it take you to get your students, to get established? Enough money to pay/cover room hire?'' I scratched my head & realised what she was saying. ''I've already got the students, just need someone to teach, it's £25 an hour'' she said, I said ''Where do I sign?''
The training was expensive, I didn't have that amount of money so I asked my Dad for a loan, he said he'd help straight away, right-e-oh, whats next? I asked about the timescale of the training, start & likely finish, everything would fit into my already busy schedule like clockwork. I mulled it over for a few days but basically realised that this was potentially a chance to pack in the 9-5 job working with asbestos, a job that was literally killing me, for a pay cut, but hey my life could be mine again, doing something I loved doing & taking a chance, okay time to leap!!!!
I took up the offer, the training was seriously hard & pushed me out of my comfort zone, which was what I desperately needed. By February I started teaching Kundalini & Hot Hatha Yoga, I had fulfilled my dream, I was a Yoga teacher, times two! More doors opened along the way, I began leaping at every opportunity, I understood what Yogi B meant about when he said ''when the time is on, act & the pressure will be off.'' I got the impression that at some point i'd be able to do this full time & it wouldn't just be a bit of extra money. In September I signed a contract at the Hot Yoga studio & handed in my notice, 15 years as an asbestos analyst, wow, I never thought i'd get out!
I've been happily teaching both Kundalini & Hot Hatha for a year now, I make a living, & I am happy, I can see where I was & where I am now Samsara was killing me. I'm not in Dharma but i'm a lot closer then where I was & a little wiser. I tell this story to friends every now & then, last time I was telling a friend when it struck me, I realised that the door may well still be open. What was going on that I couldn't see? I was interested in buying a gong but felt like something was holding me back, leap Joseph Leap!!!! Gong bought, next step learning the Gong, Dharma just suddenly got closer again, I think thats how it works for me.
Look into what Dharma is, ask for some help, prepare to leap when that door opens, you never know what will be waiting for you? You could even write a blog? Erm okay, don't mind if I do.
Sat Nam everybody x
I am a lover of projects. Learning things and doing things. Always “up to” something. To the amusement and sometimes dismay of the people I love in varying degrees.
My projects always start off with the best intentions, usually self-improvement, often to sate my curious appetite and ALWAYS ambitious, because life is for living you know. I’m making an experience. Ahhh. How nice.
For a while now I’ve been juggling a couple of projects:
But what does all of this have to do with yoga or anything for that matter? Simply, this:
I have become really busy, saying yes to everyone and everything; except to myself. I have been so busy working hard at making others happy that I have neglected my heart and my soul, because I have neglected my Sadhana. It’s true, it is extremely difficult to do anything other than work, when work has one stuck in a windowless office for eighty hours over a ten day period… but my question to myself is: “Why are you doing this? Why do you say yes to things that make you sad, and ill, and so frustrated and off-course that you do silly things like not eating, not doing Sadhana, not enjoying your family… chopping off all of your hair?” Why?
Because it looked like the right thing to do. Because I listened to people who are not like me; who do not share my values; who do not understand that there is more to life than running around in circles for more stuff. I know we all need to do what needs doing, but I also know that there is more to life than this… so I’ve been treading water, trying all the conventional ways for keeping ‘up’, but in my heart of heart’s I knew it was bringing me down; so I said, “OK, this is hard, but I’ll count my blessings, and every day make note of one thing, just one, for which I am grateful. I’ll take a picture and share it with the world” – more pressure of course, downloading and uploading when I’m already sick of screens, and after a while, even that became hard to do; because what I longed for was to hold my daughter close and read stories, walk in the woods, have supper with my husband, chant and meditate and dance… but my energy was so low, my body so tired and my head hurt with stress and worry. Am I good enough, am I making all these people happy, why am I not making them happy, what is wrong with me?
I am ill today. Four months of running around chasing someone else’s dream has left me spent and exhausted. I’ve had to cancel my classes today. This is a new low for me. I never cancel my classes… so I become still, I sit quietly and I listen. I listen for an answer. I listen for my breath. I allow my head to stop spinning. I tune in. Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. I allow myself to cry. It’s OK baby. It’s OK. I’m here, I’m still here. Remember your name? Do you remember? Yes… I am Uttampreet Kaur. I am not alone. And I’ve got things to do…
So I have my cold shower, somehow familiar. And I dress all in white. And I tie up these wispy bits as best I can, and I cry some more. Because I remember that face, I remember that voice, I remember the peace I feel when I sing the song of my soul. I remember how good it feels to be with the people I love, and the friends I have made in Edinburgh and Mexborough, I remember that I have a teacher who has faith in me, and I remember I have a promise to keep.
Chattra Chakkra Vartee, Chattra Chakkra Bhugatay, Suyambhav Subhang Sarab Daa Saraab Jugatay.
Dukaalan Pranasee, Diaalang Saroopay, Sadaa Ang Sangay, Abhangang Bibhutaay
I have a new project. I have to get my house in order. And I’ll sing as I go, sort out, discard that which no longer serves, and hold dearly that which sparks joy… be brave Uttampreet, and be brave yoga-pals, every day is not forced to be easy, but keeping up with what we know works best for us – means we are “kept up” as well… I leave you with this quote from Yogi Bhajan:
“There are a lot of things we need: One of these needs is that for the mind to work for you for the whole day, it must be fresh and clear; it must be made livable. That is why it is a requirement to rise early in the morning when nobody can disturb you, when you can be yourself. ”
Anyone for Sadhana at my place? Everyone’s welcome, because you know, even lighthouses need their bulbs replacing sometime.
Sat Nam x
Starting out in a new year always inspires me to reflect on what I would like to bring with me in the next and what it is I would like to drop!
This time last year, I moved to Purusha - home of the Sahej Academy, Hari Har Ji and her lovely dog Brogan.
It has been a time of learning, growth and commitment! Being blessed to live a life of service is such an honour and a blessing. I am frequently thankful for the sweetness of life. Of course, sweetness does not come without effort and its also true that effort can be made and sweetness does not always arrive!
Dropping the need for a specific outcome and letting go of how things turn out is an experience I'm constantly reminded of. Doing something because it needs to be done is the way of the heart and the path for 2016 and the future. Dropping the need to control and to give because you must, is the call of 'The Aquarian Age'.
Community or Sangat is one of the foundations of which Kundalini Yoga is built upon. We "live for each other", so that we can support each other on our path. To be in this relationship with others, we must get out of our comfort zone, we have to risk something and share whatever it is the universe has graced us with.
Yogi Bhajan said the most courageous act of a human is to "be with another human". He said, we need to come out and touch everyone with the longing of the soul! To do this is totally courageous because we risk having to expand ourselves, so we can contain whatever the other brings. Even if this person drops 10 tonnes of garbage at your feet!
Can we embrace them and accept them?
Can we let them know simply, "I am with you"?
It is so simple, and yet so transformational....to expand our hearts and to look at each other in the eye and know that the infinite lies within. This is why we greet each other with 'Satnam', to remind ourselves that Truth is who we really are.
So, I begin this year with joy, knowing, that as challenges come and changes come...whatever is real will be sustained and whatever is an illusion will go. Lets take risks and and uplift each other so we truly are "living for each other".
I am reminded of one of my favourite poems, and would like to share with you
"TO RISK" by William Arthur Ward.
"To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
The pessimist complains about the wind;
The optimist expects it to change;
And the realist adjusts the sails."