#1 „Sleep is the best healer.“
So why does this workshop start at 5 am in the morning, I mumble while the tanned old lady on stage reorganizes her turban. Gurmukh Kaur elaborates: „Of course, first you have to do your Sadhana (early morning yoga), then go into the world and serve. In the evening you do a set of Kriyas (cleansing exercises) to loosen up all the toxins in your body and mind. After all this good work you can rest and let sleep do its magic.“
There must be something right about systematic sleep deprivation. In clinics they use it as a therapy against depression and burnout. I must admit: After five days of severe morning torture I felt everything around me was melting. Gurmukh’s voice reaching out for me from a realm far, far away. And the first sleep-in after the workshop was the best I ever had.
#2 „If you get the breath – you get the life.“
With our very first inhale we enter into this world and with the last exhale we leave it again. Everything in between is what we call life – always accompanied by a more or less steady breathing. Sometimes, when situations or asanas feel difficult, we hold our breath or it becomes shallow. Conscious breathing and pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) help us to come back to our normal breathing, calm our body and mind. When we are one with our breath we are truly in the present moment. Then life becomes pure joy!
#3 „Eat light – be light.“
While in Jivamukti Yoga we suggest not to drink during classes in order not to cool down the fire we are stirring with our asana practice, these Kundalini Yogis had at least two bottles of water and tea next to their fur-mats. Taking a sip every two minutes. Gurmukh explained: „The drinking supports the cleansing effect of the Kriyas. The more we drink the easier all toxins are flooded out of our system.“ Plus: „Stay away from sugar, processed food and of course meat!“ „Have a light lunch!“ With Thai curry in spin cycle during eight minutes of jumping jack after lunchbreak I understood why.
#4 “Yoga is not about self-improvement, it’s about self-acceptance.”
Although most of the women in the workshop seemed familiar with this water-and tea-detox, the majority were rather soft-shaped in the thigh-belly-buttocks-area. But then came chairpose for what felt like twenty painful minutes and they were not trembling a bit! These were amazingly strong, healthy women who knew how to work their kundalini energy to hold their body upright instead of the (also well-trained) muscles. I was impressed!
#5 „Let your presence speak louder than the world.“
„Don’t talk at people, talk with people.“ This is what militant animal-rights activists and right-wing politicians often have problems with. The best example that the „soft sell“ is much more effective is Gurmukh herself: This radiating 74-year-old lady sprinkles her teachings with ironic comments about her „shopping-addiction“ and the joyful years as surfer-babe in Hawaii. After a whole day of teaching she joins a full on Jivamukti Open class gracefully lifting into headstand while the hip young Yogis around her struggle with ego and sweat. Her presence simply convinced me!
This is why I am very curious how Hari Bhajan Singh’s presence will speak to me during his Kundalini Yoga sessions on Friday (11:15 am) and Saturday (almost Sadhana-early 8 am).
Check out this Youtube-Video with Gurmukh’s Liberation Kriya.