Our Journey of Finding Kundalini Yoga.
This article is loosely transcribed from the video above. It is a conversation between Sara Jade and Tiaga Prem two of the three founders of the Dharma Temple.
SJ: Satnam. Today we wanted to just share a little bit about our journey about how we came to Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.
I came to the practice first, Both Taiga Prem and I have a background in Ashtanga Yoga, He was practicing Jivamukti Yoga with Tina James as a mentor, and I was doing vinyasa + was in the Anasara community, and while we both really enjoyed those practices + still practice Hatha yoga postures, when I became pregnant with our daughter Marley, is when I came to Kundalini.
What I really loved that it got me out of the form. While I loved that about Hatha yoga practices, is having that alignment + knowing where your wrist is, and your ribs are, in your particular body. But, I was also someone who struggled in my life with some neuroses around the body, weigh obsession, body dysmorphia, and also at that time of my life when I was in my pregnancy, and my body was changing so dramatically/// it was really refreshing for me to come to Kundalini Yoga where there was not any focus on the body necessarily, but moving beyond the form, by doing really bizarre, repetitive movements where I was having to face my mind.
In doing that, I had these deep meditative experiences, and was also receiving a lot of energetic benefit that I hadn't experienced in my previous yoga practice. Kundalini Yoga became a very powerful tool for me throughout my pregnancy and into my labour, and so I was very confident in birthing my daughter and had a real strong grip on my mind, recognizing that I am not this body, and I have this powerful tool of being able to channel my energy and use my mind as an ally. To be in the intense pressure of my labor, and be strong enough to face the challenge, really inspired me and allowed me to access apart of myself I hadn't been able to prior. That started my journey with Kundalini Yoga, and after the birth of my daughter I kept seeking more knowledge and eventually led me to my teacher training.
I knew that was going to be my next step in gaining more knowledge in my yogic career, I really wanted to do a kundalini training. Tiaga Prem had been watching me, seeing me getting some benefits, but he was on his own journey with Dharma Mitra as his teacher and so maybe I'll let you share a little bit about how you came into that.
Tiaga Prem: the big eye-opener for me was meeting somebody like Guru Singh who's a mentor and a teacher to me. Who is so free, even in his 70s, to express himself through music, and to express himself as a householder as a grandfather, father and husband and as a primary focus for him in his life in his spiritual practice and that really resonated with me.
Then the other thing is is that as Sara Jade touched on is the steadiness that comes with Kundalini yoga. I'm a very intellectual person, I like moving the body and I like to learn everything.
I have a very pitta dosha from their Ayurvedic standpoint so I want to cover all the bases and learn everything, but in doing that with the body and intellect you may not learn steadiness like where you just need to stay with it within the meditation and that's what I've learned from Kundalini yoga.
On top of this influence from my teacher, of you need to not forget who you are in the process of doing these practices but do these practices to enhance who you are to make you a better business person, to make you a better father, to make you a better partner, to enjoy your gifts and talents even more fully and Kundalini Yoga is so great for that because it provides you with some tools to stay steady when you're doing things that you don't like and to stay steady when you're doing things you do like.
That's such a crucial thing in this life not to just say, “oh well this feels good for me so I'm just going to do this and this doesn't feel good so I'm gonna avoid it.” and that's been a big one especially even with addiction and recovery.
SJ: we didn't abandon those other practices they still very much are integrated in our life as Yogi's you know you have a physical body you need to move your body. Oasis Natural Cleaning have a practice and in fact I feel like my practice is stronger than ever due to the fact I utilize the technology of Kundalini yoga, as well as other practices.
I was on this journey into motherhood and yogi Bhajan’s woman's teachings really resonated for me and so I was leaning into that, and I was watching Tiaga Prem struggle with his addiction, and I was not saying “come over here and look at this (kundalini)” but he eventually came to it, and had his own experience with it … and I just think that it's important to note that the other practices weren't really working until he came and was able to do the deep subconscious work and clearing some of those habitual patterns that he was able to you know find his true Self again, and stand steady in that integrity that he has always been seeking for.
I don't want to speak for you, but this is just through my observation as his partner. I knew Guru Singh as an elder teacher in this lineage, having 40 to 50 years of practice under his belt, and I know that really appeals to Tiaga Prem, is having people who have depth like Tina James, like it's no wonder that that was his mentor for so long he really wanted to be with someone who has depth, spiritual yogic knowledge…Dharma Mittra, living a life of devotion and service to this path as a means to uplift others. and so when Guru Singh came to town, and being into Kundalini Yoga myself at that point, I was like this is worth someone checking out, and so that was his gateway to having an experience, having a really good teacher and now it’s our path to share these teachings that our teachers have shared with us as a means to uplift all of you…
If you're new to the practice to have some kind of an experience and it isn't about you know the way that it's always been, it's about developing a relationship with it that works within your lifestyle, because I'll tell you as a new mom I wasn't getting up for the aquarian sadhana. Sleep is extremely valuable, and we value and that is not to throw out Aquarian Sadhana…but there needs to be some exploration of what is working.
There's an access, an entry point for everyone, and whether it's just a simple three minute meditation, whether it's committing to coming to class once a week or, or it is getting up and chanting with your baby, those are all beautiful way you can develop a relationship with Kundalini Yoga.
Tiaga Prem: And I think that's the great thing about Kundalini yoga too is it provides you with an opportunity to meet yourself where you're at. It's like you're saying let's say really all you have is three minutes every day to spend some time with a mantra, that will be effective if you commit to doing it. Or maybe like if you're really struggling, and you need some more structure in your life, maybe you commit to getting up at a certain time or going to bed early or there's all of these ways to approach it.
It's not like, “Oh I've got to get more discipline so that I can become more flexible” there's so many ways to approach it and especially for people who are interested in music that's the common through-line for me from the beginning of this. What drew me to David and Sharon (Jivamukti) was the music, and the sound, and now learning the technology of Naad through Kundalini Yoga. How can you live a life where sound is the primary devotional practice? How does sound relate to your life, because to me that is the greatest medicine that there is and a the central focus of Kundalini Yoga, is sound as teacher
SJ: I think it's really important to reflect on that as a hatha yoga practitioner as well, is like you're doing your yoga practice and all you're thinking about is “where where's my wrist, where’s my knee, where where my ribs? My organs… etc” that is a dense expeirience… but if that's providing you with mental clarity, and more space in your mind, wonderful keep doing that, but if your sound current is actually in judgment and criticism of your form, of the physical body, that eventually is gonna become this (refers to the ground) then you might need to check in and see if there's some other positive sound current that you could be inserting while you do your yoga practice. It doesn't need to be in Sanskrit, it can be simply as like breathing in ‘I am love’ or some other phrase that works for you…it's about inserting that positive sound currents so that you can start to shake up those negative brain waves that are holding you back on experiencing your Self
Tiaga Prem: There's no question that I think that your purpose as a human is your ability to hold a high frequency, and what can you do to get to that place where you are holding that high frequency and there's so many ways to do it. And the science of yoga, and the science of Ayurveda, and the science of living… so how do you get yourself to a place where you're a container that's holding a high frequency?
Whether it means spending more time with your family, spending more time with the music that you love, spending more time in the garden, there's also many ways to approach it so I just want to remind you that that's the whole purpose of all of this.
Also to reiterate what Sara Jade said, for me moving my body is part of that, you know I go to the hatha yoga classes, I love to play basketball, I love to be outside in nature. Really what we want to impart through sharing these videos with you is this idea that this isn't about rules and it isn't about belief systems. This is about how can you create a container so that you can be really free of any sort of like ‘I don't measure up or I'm too busy or life is too stressful’ and get to a place where you're fully standing in your vitality and your truth and there are a lot of practices like meditation and yoga that can support you to do that. But ultimately it's a letting go of anything that's not you, more than it is becoming something outside of you.
SJ: We have a center where we share Kundalini Yoga, it's a passion of ours so if you're curious about the practice if you feel like it's weird, you're not alone … and I felt like it was super weird, I didn't want to do it. I was very very closed in that way before I ever even had an expeirience of Kundalini, where I was like “I have my practice. It looks like five A's and it looks like five B's… and it looks like me trying to get the next thing…” and when I let go of that and actually allowed myself to surrender, and have an experience of my Self, of my Soul, I found that there was a lot more available, that I wasn't experiencing… and I am so so so so grateful that I was able to surrender and have that experience and now have an opportunity to share from that place of experience.
Tiaga Prem: it's all about getting more free so you can do the things that you love be with the people that you love and be of service on our planet is a human being.
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