Greetings from New Mexico! May has two
celebrations in United States that are very much
in alignment with Yogi Bhajan’s
teachings…Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation
I just searched the word “Mother” on the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings ™ and found 254 lectures where Yogi Bhajan talks about mothers!
On May 10, 1978 (just four days before Mother’s Day in 1978) he said, “Do you believe that you must not forget one simple situation? We have totally forgotten the institution of mother is the greatest institution on this planet.” Let us all honor and celebrate our mothers this month.
Yogi Bhajan gave KRI the task of creating three levels of Teacher Training: Level One (Foundations) where you learn how to be an Instructor; Level Two (Transformations) where you become a Practitioner; Level Three (Realization) where you become a Teacher. You can read more about Teacher Training at www.kundaliniresearchinstitute.org/teachertraining
If you are thinking about becoming a teacher, enroll now in KRI’s Foundations Immersion Course and experience being your most beautiful self in New Mexico this summer. This course is the Aquarian Teacher International Teacher Training Level One course in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®, which prepares you to lead Kundalini Yoga classes. I look forward to this course every August. Students come from all over the world to attend this course in Espanola, and it is great fun to get to know everyone personally during the training. Visit our site http://immersion.kriteachings.org for more information.
If you are already a Level One certified Instructor, sign up for KRI’s Level Two Lifestyles and Lifecycles course in Espanola! Spend an enlightening week at Hacienda de Guru Ram Das this June and revitalize yourself with the music, kriyas, and processes that are part of this Lifestyles & Lifecycles course. Sat Siri Kaur, Jagat Guru Singh from India, and I will present this important module of Level Two studies right after the Summer Solstice Sadhana Celebration this year. Yogi Bhajan’s lectures for this course are especially magnificent. This is a life changing course! For more information visit http://transformation.kundaliniresearchinstitute.org
We are also offering the full 21 Stages of Meditation course (all three ‘Journeys’!) in June this year. The course is a part of Level Three Teacher Training certification. There other components of certification as well. Guru Singh, Shanti Shanti Kaur and I will be leading this powerful course. For more information visit http://www.kundaliniresearchinstitute.org/21stages
Have you visited our KRI Facebook page? We try to share useful news and content for everyone interested in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan™. It’s a great way to keep up with KRI, and for us to keep up with you! Leave us a comment or write us a message there.
Blessing to all the mothers and teachers on this planet!
All Love in Divine,
Nirvair Singh Khalsa
CEO Kundalini Research Institute
Sat Nam from the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings™
Spring has arrived with all its wild windiness here in New Mexico, which keeps reminding me that spring is the time to stir things up and make change. Time to bring in the new! The month of May brings two wonderful celebrations, Mother’s Day and Teacher Appreciation Day. When I was thinking of how to weave in both of these days in this piece I realized that over the years Yogi Bhajan often referred to mothers as the first teacher, so it seems very appropriate that these holidays occur so close together. Yogi Bhajan said, "first teacher is always a woman, your mother" (August 12, 1998). As a new mother, I am always humbled by the influence we have on our little ones, the responsibility of teaching and guiding and showing them the way. It makes me appreciate my own mother and the foundation she has laid for me as a woman. Yogi Bhajan said,
He ends this lecture with this prayer to the Divine Mother:
and hear more, including Yogi Bhajan
speaking about his own mother. He also
teaches a beautiful kriya in this lecture
Old Gypsy Way of Calling on The Spirit',
which Yogi Bhajan says invokes the spirit of
Mother Earth with your own body.
This month, let us all look for moments to show appreciation to our mothers, guides, teachers and those who have led us to where we are now. Whether it is just through our prayer or through our connection, may we honor our own mothers and all the mothers in our lives that bring so much to the world.
Thank you to all of the generous donors who keep supporting the legacy of these precious teachings! We are so grateful to each of you for all that you contribute to The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings™. If you are not already a donor, consider making a gift, or become a monthly donor.
Shabd Simran Kaur Adeniji
The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings™
Kundalini Research Institute
Find us on Facebook “The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings”
We Are KRI–Kundalini Yoga Level One Teacher Training Expands Throughout Africa
Yogi Bhajan’s famous quote "I did not come to
collect students, I came to create teachers" has
become the guiding light of his legacy as Level
One Teacher Training continues to expand
throughout the globe. In this column of the KRI
Newsletter we bring you stories of these
trainings and the impact they are having on
individuals and communities throughout the
world. This month I am sharing the story of
Mona, who is a Kundalini Yoga Teacher in Africa.
She was able to become a Kundalini Yoga Teacher
because of the commitment and passion of
Ravinder Kaur of Belgium, who has traveled to
Africa for years to share this technology and
support the growth of teachers through Yoga
Teachers 4 Africa.
Through outreach efforts like YT4A and other initiatives, Level One Teacher Training is touching the lives of people all over the world. Because of these trainings and programs, Kundalini Yoga is having a positive impact in war torn areas, impoverished areas, inner working with orphans, refugees and victims of violence, and multiple other spaces and places in need of help, hope and healing. I would like to personally invite you to send me your stories of how Kundalini Yoga outreach programs are touching your life and the lives of people around the globe. Email me at email@example.com
I hope that Mona’s story, shared below, touches your heart as it did mine.
Hari Charn Khalsa
KRI Director of Outreach and Professional Development
Yoga Is Not A Religion
The Awareness Kundalini Yoga Brought To Me As A Muslim
Sat Nam, Namaste, Elsalam Alykom, Ameen, Shalom. As I write those words I am very aware how powerful words are and the impact they have on each of us. I would like to share my experience as a Muslim practicing Kundalini Yoga and hope with the blessing of Allah that this might be helpful to you. I am writing this humbly through my heart with truth and compassion.
In the Holy Koran God mentioned that he sent many messengers and holy books before Islam, and to be true Muslims we have to respect all of those religions by acknowledging this oneness. No matter what our beliefs are, when we move away from our hearts we lose our connection to the divine. Instead, we search for him in books, through a messenger or in a preacher's eye.
My seeking journey brought me to Kundalini Yoga and out of despair I was reborn into this precious life. It was the first time that my body, mind and soul united. I started to see the beauty in every face, I started to hear the sound of music in every voice, feel the compassion in every heart, but the most important was that I started to see it, feel it and hear it within me.
Born into a Muslim family there was lots of disapproval around my Kundalini Yoga practice. Had I become crazy to practice something that never was heard of in my village? The criticism and judgment brought me to a place of doubt and fear. Am I doing the right thing? Will God punish me for this? Will I be rejected by my family? Not accepted by society? I was allowing the doubts and fears of others to affect me.
The deeper I went into my practice, the stronger I became. I tasted the changes Kundalini Yoga brought to me and slowly they started to see it too: This depressed, fearful, angry, weak person was becoming strong, full of courage, trust, faith, and love. From fainting at the slightest occasion, she stood up strong and held their hands when needed. For the first time in my life my father told me in his own words "My daughter, when I was poor I wasn't happy, when I became rich I didn't gain happiness and you my child you worked on yourself, you pulled yourself out of a very deep hole, and you found your own happiness. I am very proud of you and what you have accomplished.” Let your faith in yourself and in God be stronger then any fear or judgment you might face, so that nothing can affect your inner peace. Shine your own light, others will start to see it, and sooner or later they might even follow it.
Through my practice I started to see the precious benefits of the simple things that we practice in Islam that through time became a kind of habit not connecting to their rule value: "Elsalam Alykoum" "Peace Upon you" meant: Give the other person the space to breathe, having the same right as you regardless of what religion, belief, race or color they come from. It means respect one another, there is enough space in the world for you and me to breathe and live freely. "I am a Muslim": In Arabic the word Muslim means to surrender to a stronger power, to embrace whatever you receive and be grateful for it.
Through Kundalini Yoga I came to this awareness that my tear equals my smile, without one I couldn't taste the sweetness of the other. I gained patience and I started to breathe again, to reconnect to the prana, the life energy, in Islam "Alnafas" the breath is a sacred space that brings you back to your heart. Prayer became a form of meditation for the love of God and not a duty out of fear of being thrown into Hell. As humans, we walk on two legs, our head is higher then
our heart (that's why we moved away from it). When we pray, we bow whether kneeling on the knees or half-standing, every time we bring our head lower then the heart, the blood flows into the brain. When we pray we praise the divine and we repeat words of gratitude, peace and mercy which is a form of mantra that nourishes you with positivity.
I was always told I had to cover my head so men will not look at me. As a rebel I refused this logic. Kundalini Yoga taught me that there is a scientific reason for covering the head, and it is not only for woman but men too, it’s a kind of protection. Covering the head enables you to command your third eye, to activate the pituitary gland, and stabilize the cerebral matter and the 26 parts of the brain, which are interlocked with the neurological system and electromagnetic field. Additionally, covering the head creates a focus of the functional circuit of the hemispheres of the brain, and tunes the neurological system. It also provides a nice cranial adjustment for the tiny bones of the skull that are constantly moving, even if only by micrometers, and the degree to which they move impacts levels of calmness or anxiety. Covering the head literally helps “keep your head together.”
In the holy Koran there is a verse that says "Speak about what God has given you" and it means be generous with others, feed the poor and serve those that are in need. Through teaching Kundalini Yoga, others learn about the power of service too. This is what the other teachers are doing too, traveling the world out of generosity and for the sake of serving to share these teachings to benefit all humankind. I have met Muslim teachers teaching in Egypt, Dubai, Lebanon, and Morocco. I have Muslim students and they all say the same thing: this is not far from Islam, on the contrary it brings us closer to its essence.
Yoga is not a religion it is a spiritual practice that brings you closer to you, to finding the true self. Closing the eyes while practicing takes you away from this world of Maya into a space of deep gratitude and love, into the realms of the soul, that is just pure light from where you can relate to other souls as a reflection of your own, for in that space there is no land, no possession, no attachment, away from all distractions you and the divine become one.
May Recipe(s) of the Month
Chickpea Dahl Curry (Chanaa Daal Karee) + Yogi Bhajan's May Clove Recipe*
This spicy, satisfying dish contains an unusual yet
delicious blend of flavors. Serve with plain rice.
Yield: 8 cups
½ cup lotus root
7 cups water
½ cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
½ cup cubed peeled eggplant
1 tomato, chopped
12 green chilies, mild or hot, to taste, chopped fine
½ cup diced cauliflower
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
½ cup green peas, fresh or frozen
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon crushed dry red chilies
½ cup ghee or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
½ cup tamarind concentrate, seedless
4 teaspoons chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
If the lotus root is dry, it should be set in water overnight. Also, clean and soak the chickpeas in 7 cups of water overnight. In the morning, wash, peel and cut the lotus root into small pieces. Cook the chickpeas in the water in which they were soaked, along with the lotus root pieces. When the chickpeas have become very soft, remove the lotus root pieces from the water and set them aside in a bowl. Strain off the water (don't throw the water away!) from the chickpeas and set aside.
In a large, thick-bottomed pot, place the chickpeas, 8 cups of water (including chickpea water), salt, turmeric, red chilies, and all the vegetables except the lotus root. Cook over low heat until all the vegetables are soft. Add the cooked lotus root.
In a thick-bottomed frying pan, heat the vegetable oil or ghee and sauté the fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Add the tamarind and coriander leaves and cook for 5 minutes. Pour this mixture over the chickpea-vegetable mixture and serve.
"Yogi Bhajan's May
For the Month of May Only (every May!)
Spring is often a time of cleansing and processing, which in turn makes one more vulnerable to colds and flu. Here is a reminder from Gurusahay Singh Khalsa, D.C., about a remedy for the month of May.
Take a handful of cloves and soak them in room temperature water overnight-no need to boil. First thing in the morning, when you brush your teeth, take 3-4 tablespoons of the clove water (not more then 5-don't overdo it.), swish it around in your mouth and then swallow.
For convenience, you can make enough for three of four days and keep it in the refrigerator. For best results, take some every day throughout the month of May.
"It will save you from a lot of viral diseases. The month of May breeds viruses. Your ears, nose and throat will all be all right. Symptoms will almost not appear. If you do it every year, you will never fall apart" -Yogi Bhajan
*This information comes from ancient yogic traditions. Nothing in this manual should be construed as medical advice. Any recipes mentioned herein may contain potent herbs, botanicals and naturally occurring ingredients which have traditionally been used to support the structure and function of the human body. Always check with your personal physician or licensed health care practitioner before making any significant modification in your diet or lifestyle, to insure that the ingredients or lifestyle changes are appropriate for your personal health condition and consistent with any medication you may be taking.
May Specials from KRI
Thank you for supporting KRI’s mission by purchasing directly from The Source!
Yoga Research on Neurodegenerative Diseases
By Elizabeth Morris, M.Div. and Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D.
Although life expectancy and the percentage of the population that is elderly
has risen dramatically since 1970, so too has the rise in the number of people
suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease,
and Parkinson’s disease. Some of the greatest risk factors for neurodegenerative
diseases include chronic stress, stroke, depression, sleep deficits, and mood
disturbance. Statistics suggest that as many as 36 million people currently
suffer from neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. By 2030, this statistic
may almost double in magnitude with scientists predicting that as many as 66
million people could be affected.
Despite this alarming trend, substantial growth is occurring in research specifically focused on reducing behavioral risk factors of neurodegenerative diseases and/or preventing the degenerative changes that come with aging through mind-body therapies such as yoga and meditation. A notable example of interest is a set of studies conducted by the laboratory of Harvard Medical School researcher Sara Lazar in which changes were measured in brain activity, cortical thickness and gray matter with meditation. Gray matter is involved in muscle control, sensory perception, memory, emotions, speech, decision-making and self-control. The findings suggest an increase in cortical thickness in areas associated with emotional integration and attention among experienced meditation practitioners as compared to individuals with no history of meditation. In addition, the results suggest that meditation is brain protective and associated with reduced tissue decline with age. A study assessing fluid intelligence and aging in long-term yoga and meditation practitioners found that fluid intelligence declined more slowly in yoga practitioners and meditators. Fluid intelligence governs an individual’s capacity to think logically and solve problems in new situations and often declines steadily with aging. In general, meditation was positively correlated with an increase in resilience and showed a slower rate of decline in brain functional architecture and a preservation of brain network integration. It is likely that we are at the beginning of an era that will see a substantial increase in research devoted to mind-body medicine on aging.
Despite this growth in research on aging and risk factors, very few mind-body studies have been conducted on cognitive impairment relative to existing neurodegenerative diseases. A recent review study published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience in 2014 assessed seven studies focusing on a range of meditation techniques classified as both open monitoring and focused attention on elderly suffering from neurodegenerative diseases. This review concluded that meditation practices have a positive effect on memory, verbal fluency and cognitive flexibility. A study on Kirtan Kriya, a well-known practice within Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan™, showed particularly significant improvements in stress, quality of sleep, mood, sympathetic activation and memory in adults suffering from cognitive decline. Kirtan Kriya was incorporated into an 8-week trial and participants who practiced Kirtan Kriya on a regular basis showed significant increase in blood flow to the prefrontal, parietal and auditory areas of the brain. Participants also showed significant improvement in verbal fluency, logical memory and retrospective memory, or the ability to remember people, words, and events encountered in the past. This mantra-based meditation apparently leads to positive biochemical transformation in the brain and activates areas of the brain associated with attention and exclusive functions (frontal area, cingulate cortex), while diminishing the negative impact of aging on the brain.
One organization that is at the forefront of promoting cutting edge research in this area is the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation (ARPF; see: www.alzheimersprevention.org), a nonprofit dedicated to preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s by funding research and providing educational initiatives and memory screenings. Dr. Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. founded the ARPF in 1993 and the influence of his organization and its efforts inspired an invitation to testify before the U.S. Congress in 2003 to articulate the importance of lifestyle influences on Alzheimer’s disease. The ARPF continues to fund studies on the therapeutic benefits of Kundalini Yoga on subjective cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s prevention. The ARPF has research initiatives in California, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Sweden, and educates the public on ways to maximize brain function and reduce memory loss through diet and brain-specific nutrients, stress management, physical and mental exercise and spiritual/psychological wellbeing. By focusing on Kirtan Kriya, the ARPF suggests that cognitive decline can be significantly reduced based on studies that show Kirtan Kriya’s effects including reducing memory loss, improving sleep, increasing cerebral blood flow during chanting meditation, down regulating inflammatory genes, increasing frontal lobe activity to significantly improve attention and concentration, and improved immunity.
Of particular significance, the ARPF is currently supporting the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) in partnership with the Ministry of Health in Finland. The FINGER study is a groundbreaking research project and the largest study in history to date on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. It will include over 1,200 subjects undergoing nutritional guidance, exercise, cognitive training and social activity. Research being conducted at UCLA and the University of West Virginia, aims to show that Kirtan Kriya is a viable mind-body prevention for the millions who suffer from cognitive decline. Mind-body practices such as yoga and Kirtan Kriya may be highly effective in reducing the incidence and influence of the common risk factors associated with the escalation of neurodegenerative diseases.