Gurunam Singh in Syracuse – Kundalini Yoga Workshop and Kirtan

Just wanted to share these photos of the amazing day we had when Kundalini Yoga teacher and Mantra Artisit Gurunam Singh visited us at the Liverpool Art Center in Liverpool, New York near Syracuse.

The day began with a Kundalini Yoga workshop lead by Gurunam.  Having just finished participating and offering music for a 21 Stages of Meditation Workshop in the Catskills we were treated to 2 hours of these intense meditations.

We enjoyed a time of chatting with friends old and new as well as a delicious smorgasboard of vegan and vegetarian dishes brough by everyone for our potluck in the time between the workshop and the kirtan.

After the potluck our local Kirtan Artisits, Zoë Mullan-Stout, Sandy Sabine from Liverpool Art Center and myself warmed up the audience before Gurunam took the stage.

Gurunam treated us to two hours of song and stories about his time living, working and studying at Hacienda de Guru Ram Das – the home of Yogi Bhajan.

What am amazing day!  Serving the local Kundalini Yoga Community by working with Sandy from Liverpool Art Center to bring Gurunam to Syracuse was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  We look forward to Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa coming for Kirtan in February.  Wahe Guru!

Love,

Liv Avtar Kaur

 

 

Kundalini Yoga Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

IMG_0147.pngSat Naam!  You have questions and I have answers!  Here is my list of Q&A on Kundalini Yoga, Kirtan and Gong.  I include brief answers to everything from what Sat Naam means to why I wrap my head in a turban.

Printed copies are given to new students who come to class or read up before you come!  Many of the answers are short and sweet but don’t hesitate to contact me for more information or ask me anything in person.

So let’s get started…

What does ‘Kundalini’ mean? ‘Kundalini’ means, ‘the curl of the hair of the beloved’. This euphemism describes the subtle feeling of the Kundalini energy awakening at the 4th vertebra and traveling up the spine. Kundalini Yoga awakens this creative energy within you. When someone experiences a ‘Kundalini Awakening’ they’ve tapped into the true nature of who they are. They begin to blossom into their true selves and live their best life.

How is Kundalini Yoga different? Kundalini Yoga is a very wholistic type of yoga which includes chanting mantra, meditation, pranayam or breathing exercises and asanas or physical movements or postures. Kundalini Yoga focuses more on the neurological and glandular systems and the movement/transformation of energy than stretching and exercising the musculoskeletal system.

What is Kirtan? Kirtan is a spiritually uplifting practice of community singing or chanting. During a kirtan you’ll participate in singing transformative ancient chants that vibrate your being releasing joy and increasing feelings of happiness and well being. The word kirtan means several things, including ‘divine song’ and also ‘to repeat’.

What are the benefits of The Gong? The gong is one of the oldest instruments and has been used for healing for thousands of years. The vibration of the gong balances our glandular system, it aligns and balances the chakra system (energy centers in the body) and slows down the brain waves. My gong is tuned to the same frequency as the planet Saturn and enhances discipline and wisdom and works to release past issues and memories that our subconscious is ready to release.

Who is Yogi Bhajan? He is the visionary who brought the teachings of Kundalini Yoga from India to the United States in 1969. Up until then Kundalini Yoga was not available to the public – it was very closely guarded and kept secret. Yogi Bhajan realized that our information-driven lifestyle would only become more and more fast-paced and that people would become more and more stressed out as we moved into the Aquarian Age. He set up yoga centers in North America and taught with the intention of teaching teachers who could help others navigate these stressful times with ease.

What is the Aquarian Age? We are currently shifting from the Piscean Age to the Aquarian Age which has created a huge expansion of human consciousness. With technological advances the human brain processes more information today in one day than people had to process during their entire lifetimes in the 1700’s. The demands on our nervous systems and brains is tremendous and causes great stress and ‘burn out’ over time. The tools of Kundalini Yoga helps us navigate the increased information and stresses and heal ourselves and others.

What does ‘Sat Naam’ mean? It is common for Kundalini practitioners to greet each other or part by saying “Sat Naam”. Sat meaning truth and Naam meaning name or identity. I see the the beauty of the truth within you – it’s the same truth that resides within me.
Do I have to wear white and or cover my head? No, it’s not required. The white clothing and head coverings are tools in our yoga toolbox that you might want to try. Read more below…

What’s with white clothing? Wearing white expands your aura and creates a powerful connection between you and your environment. Negative energy is reflected away from the body and positive energy is contained within. By wearing white, all the colors are available to support and enhance your aura and eight chakras (energy centers).

Why the turban? Turbans provide a way for the head to be covered retaining the energy within we’ve worked so hard to activate. The fabric presses on acupressure points on the head increasing feelings of well being and focus. A turban literally, ‘keeps your head together’. Plus Yogi Bhajan encouraged his students to wear turbans so that those in need could easily recognize us and ask us for help.

Why practice on a wool blanket or animal skin? Similar to wearing the color white, practicing on natural fibers helps to expand our aura and electromagnetic fields. Try it and feel the difference for yourself.

What is Pranayama? Pranayama is the science of expanding and regulating the flow of life force/vital energy through the breath. We can change our consciousness at any moment simply by changing our breath.

Why Chant Mantra? Think of a mantra as a vibration that shakes something loose or activates a desired state of being within you. There’s mantra to make us feel protected, courageous, compassionate. Mantras also heal. Chanting mantra puts us in touch with the Naad the sacred sound current of the universe.

What is the Chakra System? Understanding the chakra system will help you understand how to become aware of your own energy plus you’ll have new tools to help you change your energy. The chakra system is a series of seven energy centers that run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head plus the eighth chakra – the Aura or the electromagnetic field that surrounds us. When the Chakra System is in balance we feel balanced in mind, body and spirit.

What is a Kriya? A series of exercises, mantra, mudra, meditation and or pranayam that create a desired state of consciousness or has a desired effect. Kryia means ‘action’. There’s Kryia to detox and tone different organs, gland and other systems of the body, Kryia to bring the spine into alignment, or open the heart, or help us become like angels – quite literally there’s a Kryia for whatever you’d like to work with in body mind or spirit. There are thousands of Kryia and also thousands of meditations so one Kundalini Yoga class can be very different from from the next.

Why do we relax after kryia? Resting in stillness at the end of class is challenging for a lot of people mainly due to emotional conflict. However it’s an important part of the practice which allows your body to assimilate all the good work and benefits from the practice you just did.

Where can I find out more? Some resources for all things Kundalini Yoga are the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization https://www.3ho.org/ and Spirit Voyage http://www.spiritvoyage.com/ Check them out!

Finger Lakes Yoga Festival – Kundalini Yoga and Kirtan

Friday Zoe Mullan-Stout and I travelled to Savona, New York near Bath for the Finger Lakes Yoga Festival.  This wonderfully laid back festival of yoga and music has been going for a fair few years now.  We were excited for the road trip from Syracuse and the opportunity to share kundalini yoga and a blisteringly heart opening kirtan with a whole new tribe.

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Here’s one Zoe took of me playing the gong with the trees obscuring everyone in savasana…

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And a few cosmic kirtan photos…

Peace and Light,

LivAvtar Kaur

Kundalini Yoga Workshop and Kirtan at Finger Lakes Yoga Festival

So this is exciting – I’ll be offering a Kundalini Yoga Workshop and a Kirtan with Zoe Mullan-Stout on Friday the 18th of August 2017 at the Finger Lakes Yoga Festival. The workshop will be during the day, and the Kirtan will begin at 8:00pm Friday night.

There are some wonderful teachers offering workshops this year from Thursday the 17th – Sunday the 20th.  Plus you’ll have two opportunities to experience kirtan as Sonam Targee will be offering Kirtan on the Saturday night!

If you’ve never been to the Finger Lakes Yoga Festival it’s a wonderfully rustic, open air-type of yoga experience (and open air always creates magic when you add yoga as far as I’m concerned).  I went for the first time four years ago and then taught at the festival the following year.

We sleep in tents, do yoga under event tents during the day (with grass floors so don’t bring your best mat or put a blanket down first) and sit around the campfire at night. The festival is donation based this year and it’s it’s on a farm in Savona, New York.

Find out more about participating or teaching at the festival here.

Blessings,

LivAvtar Kaur

Using Kundalini Yoga to Move From Fear to Love

IMG_0113Last’s nights Kundalini Yoga class at Mandala Moon Yoga in Marcellus finished a 4 week series on Finding the Light Within.  During this class we worked with releasing fear to make way for love.  Many people believe that hate is the opposite of love, when in fact it’s fear that begins to create polarity and separateness from each other, our universe and our creator.  Once we’ve released fear we can move into love.

Even Jedi Master Yoda knew that fear is the first link in the chain that leads to suffering.

Several people asked for the details of the kryia – and so here it is – Kundalini Yoga Kriya to Relax and Release Fear.  Here it is on the 3HO Website.  For the music that went with, for the Sitali Pranayam and the exercise directly after, the kriya indicates that we are to listen to the Dukh Bhajan.

I found a version of the Dukh Bhanjani Sahib on Spotify but I also found several on YouTube that would work just as well.  I used a keertan version that worked for moving the body in time with the music.  Experiment and see what works best for you!

For the Bowing Jap Sahib Meditation I used this from YouTube.  Wait until after the Mangala Charan – the preamble or beginning of the Jap Sahib  – and at around a minute and 30 seconds the Bhujand Pryat Chund begins and that’s when you start the cycle of bowing.  You’ll recognize it because it goes, ‘Namustung akalai, namustung kirpalai’ and so on in rounds of 4 with a rest between – which matches the bowing pattern.

For the last exercise, the kriya asks us to chant along with the Jap Sahib.  I instead had us chant to Snatam Kaur’s version of the Guru Gayatri Mantra which is a part of Jap Sahib.  My thought was chanting something simpler and more familiar would promote a deeper experience during the class.  Learn the words and more about the mantra here.  Or ask me for a mantra sheet next class and I’ll gladly give you one.

Our next four week series begins on the 11th of July – our Kundalini Yoga Series for Summer.  Make sure you remember to register from the Mandala Moon Website.

All love,

LivAvtar Kaur