February 5, 2014 § Leave a comment
This post originally written on 11/7/2007 by me on blogger.
Why the Aquarian Sadhana
How does one make decisions? You may have heard, in food terms, that one craves what one needs? But what if one craves a Big Mac? There is a caveat: when the body is basically healthy, one craves what one needs. If not, it craves it’s addiction.
One of my earlier teachers shared that, in the beginning of his journey, he was so “messed up” that, in order to do what was in his best interest, he had to choose the opposite of what felt right!
Faced with confusion and lack of stick-to-it-iveness, a discipline is helpful. Bliss follows. Self-Authority follows. Gratitude is an amazing side-affect that is guaranteed. One’s desires begin to manifest into reality.
Aquarian Sadhana is sort of like that. Who gets up so early and does this crazy thing every morning? Isn’t 4 am still technically considered the middle of the night? It sounds like a recipe for a long and exhausting day. And what is Japji??
To the contrary, eventually you require less sleep, and it helps you to conquer the Duality of the Mind- this constant back and forth in this great head of ours that seem to have all the legitimate facts on why we ought or ought not to get up, and so forth. It also helps to conquer the bondage we experience from our limited understanding of Time and Space. It is the ultimate tool for developing our own Command. It gives us strength by starting the day, uninterrupted by life’s busy-ness, with our highest Self. The first thing to cross off the “to-do” list: defeat my weak, wavering ass & serve my Greatness. The tone for the rest of the day is set, and our fears are conquered, one by one.
We have now entered the heart-centered Age of Aquarius, where the energy of the Feminine re-emerges. This translation feels a bit…archaic? After all, I am a woman, and a man subscribed it. I can definitely blow this one off…
In fact, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib opens with Japji, and it (Japji) was first manifested in song by Guru Nanak, the first of the Sikh Gurus. The Granth Sahib is more like a hymnal, or a collection of Shabads (hymns) from various saints, not all of them Sikhs. These Shabads are like love songs to God & Truth; singing of its Divinity, Greatness, Infinite-ness, and what it means when we connect as part of this Divine Intelligence.
Japji sings of our inability to give it Justice with words. No worldly attainment even gets close to its contentment. It is the love song of all love songs. One that can truly be understood once Sustained Transcendence & Bliss is attained. Until then, it’s shortcoming lies in the capacity for language to describe something that can not be put into words, relying, then on pure Faith. Spoken, of course, in the Sacred Language of Gurmukhi, no shortcoming.
When the 7th chakra is opened, the feeling of Oneness with the Universe creates this incredible experience of every thing and every Being on this planet being one big love of your life. This feeling experienced at the heart center is quite orgasmic. Yes. It comes from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, a book, the 11th, and eternal living Guru of the Sikhs, but it transcends religion.
If trust takes effort, it is difficult to accept the translations of Japji. It is because we take the words quite literally and from the context of the past. We are still living in that struggle with our first unsettling, and for some of us, horrific, relationship we had with the religion we were exposed to from childhood, be it Christianity, Catholicism, Judaism, Materialism, Capitalism and so on. Or perhaps we have a solid relationship with our religion of choice and we feel disloyal.
Whether or not Japji ultimately resonates with you, once your relationship with all paths as truly ONE and the same is healed & sealed, and particularly if it is met with that Lover’s Essence, it can no longer bother. It is understood.
And once it is spoken, whether or not the meaning is understood is irrelevant. The power of Naad (Sound) that it offers (and oh! what a gift it is) brings you to a whole new level of consciousness. Japji.
The Essence of Practice
November 13, 2013 § 1 Comment
I borrowed this slightly revised title from a newsletter I wrote last Spring about an all day meditation course called White Tantric Yoga (WTY), and I thought, this is totally what I am feeling right now about my morning Sadhana practice!
WTY is known as “the spring cleaning of the subconscious mind.” In Chicago, this event happens every April. Similarly, morning sadhana is a daily clearing of the subconscious mind. I don’t know about you, but I can use a DAILY. The sadhana that I practice, called the Aquarian Sadhana, consists of a 20 minute prayer called Japji (Song of the Soul), followed by about 30 minutes of yoga, followed by 62 minutes of chanting meditation. Sadhana- whether you are doing it for the first time, or re-committing to it- works on you. Things will shift in your life. Sometimes things get messy before they get better. But they do get better. And the greatest blessing for me right now is that I have the gift of a group to practice with, which I have taken advantage of by joining them almost every morning.
Sadhana has been my forklift. Equally, so has been my community. We celebrate each other, and we hold each other up. We help each other see what we need to see, and this includes our blind spots as well as our super awesome spots. Our friends are here to uplift us; to show us what we are capable of, and to hold us in that space. We can worm and wriggle, because things may get uncomfortable, but deep down we know that we are worming and wriggling our Selves into our greatness.
True, we can only look to ourselves to make us whole, no one can do that for us, but this connection to others absolutely makes a world of difference. So much, that it is said that we can only go as far as the 5 people closest to us (so choose your community wisely). At the very least- we know that we are not alone in our quest.
Experiencing pain is a part of being human. The question is, while you are in it, while you are sad, heartbroken, confused, afraid or angry, do you know that you are still perfect in your unique, delicious way? If yes, then go into your human-ness and feel what you feel knowing that your feelings do not define you. If you have self-doubt, then reach out. Connect with the people that show up for you and hold you high. Because their vision of you is Truth.
Sadhana is a powerful boost for elevation. But in the end, what we need is each other.
January 26, 2013 § Leave a comment
The effects of practicing kundalini yoga exercises and meditations are written in many KY books. This copy was shared on FB. Wanted to share it here. Hope knowing the effects help you to keep up!
October 17, 2012 § 1 Comment
This spinal series video was requested by a student. Thank you– Please keep them coming!
The spinal series is a quick and easy way to maintain flexibility in our spine, which supports our movement, our structure, and our spinal cord (which allows our bodies to move and our organs to function). A nice, flexible spine also helps prevent or reduce lower back pain and stress on the upper back.
In fact, yoga says that we are only as young as our spine is flexible!
While we would all love to get into a beautiful, full back bend, this is not necessary for increased quality of life. The spinal series is your floor.
Drishti (eye focus): third eye
Mantra (optional): if you would like something to keep you here in the present moment, try mentally chanting Sat on the inhale, Nam on the exhale. Sat means Truth, and Nam means Name. Truth is your name. Truth is your essence. Truth is who you are. It is a bij, or seed, mantra that you can use as a living meditation (while you walk, cook, etc).
Time: 1-3 minutes per exercise. In this video, we practice for approximately 2 minutes each.
September 18, 2012 § 2 Comments
These two videos are dedicated to students who are starting out in their own personal practice in the privacy of their own home and without the teacher in the studio.
First, congratulations! In this tradition, we like to say, “Wahe Guru!”
Please email me with questions regarding this practice anytime.
Tuning in with the Adi Mantra is important. It calls on, and connects us to, the wisdom of all ages that reside within us. We want this intelligence guiding us in our practice! The Mangala Charan mantra is technically optional, but I think it is very important. It protects us from harm.
Then the close. Ritual is good. It lets our bodies know that we are transitioning from one thing to another, and ritual allows us to pause for a moment, pay attention and be present. This close centers us in our Truth as we step away from our mat, or meditation cushion, and into our busy lives.
Here they are. Enjoy your practice!
Tune in with Adi & Mangala Charan Mantras
Close with Long Sat Nam
July 4, 2012 § Leave a comment
When chanted eleven times, each pauree in Japji produces a certain effect. This one is for prosperity and fulfillment of all of your needs. I’ve chanted this once through so that you may get the pronunciation of it, along with the transliteration so that you may follow along visually. Until I figure out how to repeat this eleven times and transfer it into a YouTube video efficiently, I ask you to replay it ten additional times to get your eleven. Sorry.
December 26, 2011 § 1 Comment
As I drove to Northbrook Mall for our flash meditation, I was thinking how scary Flash Mob events can be. You don’t really know how many will show up. And if you are one of the first to get there, you’re afraid no one else might come, and there you will be, chanting on the floor of a big mall during the holiday season with one or two other people. The fun, exciting, glamourous side of Flash Mob is gone and anxiety takes over.
This thought took me back to when I was a student at the Wright Leadership Institute, and they put us in uncomfortable situations all the time. Situations weren’t random. They were meant to wake us up and put some “skin in our game.” The skin is personal risk. The risk is not of self-destructive nature (though it feels that way at the moment because your ego is pretty sure you are going to die), but one of self-affirmation by bringing out what we’ve got. And we’ve all got it. What? Gifts.
Every time I’ve been put in such situations and survived it (we always do), regardless of the outcome, I felt great. Like I accomplished something big, akin to slaying a monster that has kept me locked up. That part of me that hungers to express in a way that is “not me” (a good indication that I have limited myself) that has been yearning to come out forever.
From this flash med experience (there were 7 of us), I’ve taken away much more than what a normal group meditation at a yoga studio or in someone’s home can do:
- Prepare and market the event in advance of more than the week we gave ourselves. With our September flash mob, we prepped for 2 months and we had 40 people going. When the weather turned bad on us (it was cold, dark, rainy and with high winds), we still had around 17 people show, which was remarkable. (And it was then that we decided to make all future flash mobs inside.) We marketed the Sept one with clear time lines to keep our participants informed so that they knew what was happening. The preparation awarded us success in numbers.
- Offer opportunity to meet for tea about a half hour leading up to the flash mob so that participants know that they are in good company. It’s only supposed to look spontaneous.
- Let the mall know what we are doing so that security knows. Yea, they came up to us. Thankfully one of the participant’s husband was there to watch and he spoke with security so we could continue on in our bliss.
- Bring paper handouts so people know what we are doing. Shoppers came up and asked our videographer what was going on. Good opportunity to introduce the practice of Kundalini Yoga and Urban Yoga Chicago.
- With only 7 chanters, the energy was remarkably powerful. The people that were in it were really into it. And we more than survived a scary thing. We experienced a much needed type of community bonding, and we realized that this offered opportunity for more of it. The excitement and personal risk that we experienced created a glue. In a venue that brings us out as we go in, it helped us grow into our light.