Chanting Mantras and More Sound Healing

chanting mantras and sound healing

Currently I am chanting So Purkh for 40 days.  I’ve done this a few times over the past 3 years.  I was first introduced to So Purkh about 8 years ago, but I thought it was too difficult to learn.  I tried it a little, but I was also 8 months pregnant, super busy and super impatient at the time.

When I finally attempted it around the end of 2011 it was because of Marcia Canestrano, whose website had an English and Gurmukhi video of Nirinjan Kaur’s recording of the prayer.  Nirinjan’s voice, the calming music and the fact that the video was subtitled helped me a lot.  Marcia Canestrano’s site also introduced me to an idea I’d never heard of before…a chanting circle.  In Pasadena she holds 40 chanting circles and has been doing so for years.

Coincidentally she is a part of another group I’m in (Kristin Sweeting Morelli’s Pleasure Tribe) and when I saw her post there, I let her know just how amazing the prayer has been for me, and that it was because of her that I finally committed to the practice.  She invited me to join her online So Purkh group and since then I’ve been chanting So Purkh like I never have before.

Years ago So Purkh helped me to see my life completely differently in an extremely short period of time.  It helped me to see my long-term committed relationship for what it was.  It helped me to understand what I needed and deserved from a man, although I didn’t totally accept what it showed me, I knew at least that I didn’t have that and that I needed to leave.  It gave me strength as a woman and faith in myself that I’d never had before.  It also helped me to heal my relationship with my father and with parts of my past.

Now I am chanting So Purkh again and I find myself chanting it all day some days.  I find myself in awe of it’s power and my own creative power more often than not.  I find myself feeling warm and fuzzy, in the coldest part of the year that I usually want to hide away from.  And I feel myself becoming much more powerful in my understanding of masculinity and femininity and for the first time in my life, secure and certain in my romantic life.

I highly recommend So Purkh (The Power of Prayer) by Nirinjan Kaur and Marcia Canestrano’s real and facebook chanting circles.  I also highly recommend Simrit Kaur’s Supreme Sound Course.  Check it out here.

You can also learn about sound healing and my recommended mantras, by signing up for my “Mantras to Move You” Guide here: Click Here

The Transformation of Sound Healing

Sound healing is one thing that really helps me stay grounded and achieve transformation.

Simple forms of sound healing are the sound of laughter and kindness, nature sounds, healing music and mantra.   This video below really struck me because I remember the first few times I did Kundalini Yoga and how the chanting made such a big impact on me.  I was very quiet and self-conscious the first time. When I opened my mind the next few times and let go of my fear it transformed my perspective on life.  I never expected the power of mantra to work so fast and so profoundly.  I’m continually transformed by mantra on deeper and deeper levels.

Music has always been a love of mine. Before I happened upon Kundalini Yoga, I had no clue about the magnitude of sound healing.  In my first few weeks I started to process the meanings of the foreign mantras.  I didn’t remember the translations and I wasn’t very dedicated to trying. However, I was energetically integrating the practice and vibration of the mantras.  I could physically feel it!

Benefits:

I’ve used mantra to focus, heal from physical pain, change my mindset and much more. My dedication to chanting almost constantly in my last trimester transformed my high stress in my first pregnancy.  I used mantra to get me through the anxiety I had about traffic and hecklers when I used to bike to work. When I made mantra a routine my tendency to be flighty, nervous and insecure went away.

As much as I feel confident in the power of subtle sound healing, I’m as passionate about more wild versions of sound healing. One method is making primal noises, sounding out feelings, verbalizing thoughts loudly, directly and aggressively, and more.  This form of sound healing is amazingly effective at being a catalyst and catharsis for difficult times in one’s life.  If you’ve never truly explored the power of sound healing I have a free guide I’d like to offer you with some beginner mantras and how + why + when to use them (and more).  Sign up below to get your guide.

~Sat Nam

Summer Festivals & Events: Kundalini Yoga and Fruit

Summer festivals season is here! That means there’s no exception of workshops, events and retreats in either the Kundalini Yoga world or the Fruit-based nutrition world.

Want fruit and fitness?  Check these out:

Aug. 18-25 is when the Woodstock Fruit Festival in New York starts.  http://www.thewoodstockfruitfestival.com/  You don’t have to attend for the whole festival and if you can’t attend at all, maybe you can attend the post-fest party on August 28th…here is a link for more information…Aimee and Chris are kinda my faves in the raw fruity world!  http://sundayisforlovers.wordpress.com/2013/08/11/you-are-invited-chris-kendall-plenty-of-fruits-plenty-of-friends-me/

Sept. 1-7 Then there is the Raw Fruit Festival in Spain in September, this is a festival on the farm site, with camping, tons of fruit and fitness and outdoor activities. http://www.raw-fruit-festival.net/festival.php

Sept. 15- 22– Strength, Health and Fitness Week with Dr. Doug Graham in Washington state in September.  http://foodnsport.com/store/health-fitness-week

So you want yoga events?…Here’s a few choices:

Aug. 19-28 Brazil Yoga, Music and Eco-Adventure Retreat:  I can’t do a better explanation than this: http://www.yoganonymous.com/featured-event/micheline-berry-brazil-yoga-music-eco-adventure-retreat-arena-copacabana-hotel-rio-de-janeiro-brazil/

Aug. 30- Sept. 2 Yoga Hoedown in New Lebanon, NY  music festival and yoga retreat in one

August 30-Sept. 2 Ecstatic Chant, Rhineback, NY With Snatam Kaur, Krishna Das, Ram Dass and many others

Sept. 5-8 Bhakti Fest in Joshua Tree, CA  A Yogic music festival with lots of chanting music.

Sept. 19-22 Pranafest Ashland, Oregon Sept. 20-28 Into The Mystic: Yoga, Music and Irish Culture , Westcove House, Castlecove, Kerry Ireland

Sept. 26-29  Sat Nam Fest East, Waynesboro, PA:: A Kundalini Yoga and music festival…if you can’t go during this time you can also try for the Sat Nam Fest party on Aug. 18th in New York City

Sept. 23-26 Liquidland Festival, Jalisco, Mexico

There are no more summer festivals, but it’s equally awesome… on Sept. 1st a concert with Nirinjan Kaur in Sacramento, CA!

If you’re really fast you can register for the Y.O.G.A for Youth Teacher Training, if you can be in the L.A. area right now: http://www.spiritvoyage.com/neweventPage_2012.aspx?eventId=TIX-902072

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Sadhana: The Cornerstone of Kundalini Yoga

立石光正

立石光正 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On this blog you will hear me talk about sadhana a lot.  It is basically a dedicated(hopefully daily) spiritual practice, specifically a yogic practice, especially emphasized in kundalini yoga.

A traditional sadhana as taught by Yogi Bhajan is done in the ambrosial hours(before the sun rises). It includes chanting, meditation, pranayama (breathwork) and at least one kriya that is repeated daily for a period of time, hopefully to mastery.  A cold shower before yoga is recommended.

It’s a great way to begin each day.  Sadhana can be done with a group (and is great that way) or alone.

Most Kundalini Yoga teacher trainings will require sadhana practice.  I fell in love with Sadhana during my teacher training.  Yoga festivals (such as 3HO Solstices, Sat Nam Fest, Wanderlust, etc.) also have sadhana. Many yoga centers in big cities also have sadhana, though the hours are usually not the traditional hours (4-6:30am).  Sadhana classes are often free or by donation.  It is usually a more relaxed, meditative and atmospheric class than regular yoga class, but there can be a portion that is a work-out.

If you’re doing sadhana on your own, in private, it’s important to have a good location in which to practice.  You can however do sadhana at whatever time works best for you.  If you’re not experienced I’d recommend sticking to a sadhana organized or recommended for you by a yoga or spiritual teacher.  If you are experienced, feel free to experiment.

My sadhana has at times consisted of transformational (reichian) breathwork and ecstatic yogic dance, along with chanting and meditation.  At other times I would do traditional kundalini yoga warm-ups, pranayama, a couple of kriyas, meditation and chanting.  Sometimes I split my sadhana into morning and evening.  Doing just an hour in the morning of meditating with music and doing a very simple (non-noisy) kriya, usually spinal kriya, so as not to disturb others sleeping, and reserving my energy to move with force and ability to chant loudly for my evening sadhana.

For more information about setting up your own Sadhana practice, check out this article.  Sadhana Q & A with Yogi Bhajan

For Kundalini Yoga and spiritual practice advice check out Siri Mera Kaur, where you can sign up for a free “Bliss Path E-course” to get you started on the yogic path.

Kundalini Yoga and Ayurveda

I know this is late notice but if you want an introduction to understanding the significance of Ayurveda in relation to Kundalini Yoga click on the link below and sign up for this free web-event. Jai Dev Singh is a great teacher. It has been several years for me, since I was taught by Jai Dev, it was during my yoga teacher training…but I will not forget his presence, he was warm, extremely easy to relate to and great at explaining things. I have no doubt this will be a special and very enlightening event. I am signed up and ready to learn, are you?


http://jaidevsingh.com/subtle-beauty-webcast

Why You Should Go To Sat Nam Fest, Pt. 1

Are you one of those naughty yogis who never sets foot into a classroom or practices with another yogi?

Okay, this doesn’t make you naughty. Doing yoga at all, by yourself, from videos or books or memory, actually makes you pretty awesome…but admittedly we could all use some yogi community every now and then, and the more the better really.

That’s why all these yoga festivals are so important. Those who don’t have a home studio get to experience the community aspect of the yoga environment. This video in particular will help you feel those vibes and hopefully buy a ticket, because it’s much more fun in person. For information on buying a ticket to Sat Nam Fest look beneath the video.

Sat Nam Fest, Sept 13-16 Waynesboro, PN, www.satnamfest.com and use the code SFEMERA for a $25 discount, because you are special. 🙂

~~Sat Nam and see you there?

Fruitfull Fashion

One of the things I love most about Kundalini Yoga is the attention to every aspect of your life.  You don’t have to follow any recommendations and a real Kundalini Yogi will not judge you for your appearance or habits, but you can bet there’s a recommendation for just about anything you can think of.

Clothing?  There’s a recommendation for that.  Natural fibers of course.  They breathe better, which means you’ll stink less.  Feel better on the skin and don’t get in the way of the healing, cleansing, releasing process of Kundalini Yoga.

But there’s more to it, of course.  Lots of Kundalini Yogis, especially teachers choose to wear white during class or in their daily lives.   For my first few years of practicing Kundalini Yoga I didn’t wear white, but when I finally tried it I really fell in love with it.   I have since moved and only have one piece of white left in my wardrobe(my teacher’s turban) but I am eye-shopping for snowy additions to my closet all the time.  Here are some ideas of how a Kundalini Yoga class looks:

Cold Showers & Chanting So Purkh: Personal Sadhana

I’m a day late sharing my sadhana, but this has been my routine.

A cold shower. This sets me in motion. After I take my shower, I feel warm, comfortable, creative and ready to go.

Chanting So Purkh in Gurmukhi and English(as many times as possible). This brings me to tears. This is my biggest commitment. I chant it as many times as I can.

I just recently found this video by Nirinjan Kaur…it quickly resonated with me as exactly what I needed to connect to:

Stretch pose. I actually started intuitively moving my body and realized I was in stretch pose with my hands under my butt. I did breath of fire in this position. I intend to do stretch pose regularly for core strength and 3rd chakra activation.

Spinal Kriya. Since I can easily remember the parts of this kriya without needing to look at a book or computer screen I usually do this kriya in the dark or teach it to my girls.

Adi Shakti meditation. Another that I remember easily and do with my toddler and preschool age daughters. This is fun and easy.

Transformational breathwork/dance. For trauma release, releasing extra emotions, extra grounding, creativity and a sense of being empowered.

Followed by melon. For simplicity and pleasure. For beauty and sweetness.

Marked with breaks of bliss, amazement, smiling contentedly, head nodding and releasing tears and fears.

Sat Nam~~

Fruitfull Fashion 1.1

I found this photo over on pinterest and it personifies my idea of kundalini comfort over the summer.  I’ve been wearing my hair like that and looking for a dress like that in my size for ages.  I really like yoga in dresses.

 

Other things I really like about this photo is the mudra and the subtle neck lock. The background is also beautiful. Does this not inspire a blissful yogic practice?

~~Sat Nam and May the Fruit Be With You

Kundalini Yoga for Detox

oficina de kundalini yoga 3

oficina de kundalini yoga 3 (Photo credit: Alex Czajkowski (Amrit))

Whenever we introduce our bodies to more health, our bodies respond by kicking out its defenses, coping mechanisms and stored illness. This is usually not so pleasant, unless you have a great mind-set.

There are however some ways of dealing with the symptoms of detox. Kundalini Yoga helps us to get deeply into the sensations of our bodies.  Through breathing and movements that massage our internal organs and gently loosens up our joints and spine, we are primed up for a release that we can cope with and manage more comfortably.

I know this through experience.  I have felt the heat on my skin and the radiant strength pulling through in the midst of some ugly detox symptoms due to my own desperation to go to my Kundalini toolbox.  The simplest of techniques works for detox and intense kriyas may not be the ideal step in these circumstances.  Spinal Kriya, I believe is one of the best activities to do during an intense detox or cleanse.  All of the traditional Kundalini Yogi warm-ups also work well.  Chanting and any form of breathwork is great…especially alternate nostril breathing.

One thing I want to mention however is that everything is not detox. Sometimes the symptoms we experience are in relation to toxicity entering our bodies rather than being expelled.  In this way we may feel that Kundalini Yoga is failing us, or our bodies are just too toxic and we may as well give up on it and live complacently until we die.

Just because you’re eating raw or more raw foods doesn’t mean that everything you’re eating is high quality or safe for human consumption. There are lots of scams out there in the raw world and the best I can say without going into too much detail(for this blog post) is simple is better.

Just like in the yoga world, certain traditions have endured for good reason. And this is not to say that anything new is fake or fraud, but when it comes to the body our internal conditions need simple maintenance with the natural foods designed for us and that we were designed for. There are no villainous fruits and veggies and there are no elite exotic superfoods that you need for health.

Pili nut and other tropical fruits

How could these be evil? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What we need is to listen to, trust and nourish our bodies. We obviously need lots of water, sunshine, sleep, laughter and nutrition in our lives. We also need to trust that the universe is abundant in what we need to survive and not just those who can afford expensive, exclusive products.  Kundalini Yogis are vocally open about raw food nutrition.

In a class I took with Gurmukh she mentioned the superiority of raw food nutrition.  In the same studio, Anahata the studio’s owner had experience with Ann Wigmore’s raw food movement of the 70’s.  My very young yoga teacher trainer Jeffrey was in communication with Gabriel Cousins and included raw foods as a part of his teacher training and his teacher Siri Gian Singh is a raw chef.  I believe I have even heard Yogi Bhajan talk about raw food.

Unfortunately there are also people like David Wolfe going around claiming what Kundalini is, and I’ve gathered there are several others out there getting on the bandwagon just to use the name of Kundalini to sound shnazzy.  This is not to say that eating superfood products is the doom of civilization, but some raw food leaders (who are called gurus strangely enough) recommend an extremely high percentage of “superfood” products, supplements and practically condemn simple fruits and veggies.

So, I believe Kundalini Yoga can really help a person decipher the real healing from the fake.  It can take some time however to shift through it all, if you are connecting to the truth of raw foods and reading the soap opera version of the philosophy.  The same way people can connect to the philosophy of yoga, but are turned off by trendy, shallow commodities.

oficina de kundalini yoga

oficina de kundalini yoga (Photo credit: Alex Czajkowski (Amrit))

I have experienced transitions within my body in adapting my eating patterns to a raw and fruit-centralized style.  However, before I became a fruitalini, I was a nutalini and consumed high quantities of fat and processed superfoods.  I suffered with what I believed was detox for a really long time and was so paranoid about doctors and stuck in the paradigm of “this is so expensive, how can I get help”  that I wouldn’t get help and figure out what was really going on with me.

Once I found the fruitalini way, through 80/10/10 by Doug Graham, I was free from constant pain and detox.  This doesn’t mean my body didn’t cleanse.  It did, and when it did I decided to write this post about how the discomfort was cradled by my Kundalini Yoga practice.

I am not eating 100% raw right now.  I am still cleansing every now and then as I add and subtract from my fruit-focus.  When I cleanse, I get on the floor, with fire breath and spinal twists and my bodily sensations erupt with an action that clearly creates a response to help me “Stay calm and carb up!” or “Stay calm and keep up!”  After 3+ years in the high carb, low-fat raw style, I am a million times more stable in my eating and health.  I know how to be reasonable with my self and enjoy what I’m doing.  I’m ready to challenge myself to up my raw intake again, so it will be fun to share my detox/cleanse days and show what is realistic and helpful during this time.

~~Sat Nam~~And May the Fruit Be With You~~

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