Greetings from New Mexico!
This is a wonderful time of year to give thanks. Yogi Bhajan often talked about an attitude of gratitude and giving thanks to God. I just searched the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings ® website and found hundreds of lectures by using the key words “giving thanks”. It was one of Yogi Bhajan’s favorite themes and here are a few quotations that I thought were inspiring:
“Life is a flow of love, only your participation is requested. I would like to ask you certain questions and I would like to ask you very sincerely. Is there any building, any structure in this world for which there is no architect? If you do not respect God in any form and shape, at least give Him the credit as your architect and thank Him. After all, he didn't fix your nose in your toe on the foot, otherwise you would have gotten all the dust in the world and you wouldn't breathe well. There is a certain courtesy that you are required to do as a human being.” 4/9/85
“Any one of you who establishes a practical relationship between the Creator and this creature-ship, in that complete consciousness you will possess and experience the universal consciousness. Any other matter will be an indication of the individual self in direct and indirect relation to your ego. Therefore, out in our own world, it shall be much better if we rise early in the morning and create a contact between our own infinity within the finite, within ourselves, so that for the whole day we can live righteously and continue the promises. It will be very right of us if we can relax in a very relaxing consciousness. ‘Thank you for giving us this day, today. Tomorrow is gone. Now is.’ Anyone who knows how to sleep with this vibration will surmount the fear of death.” 3/14/74
“And it is fascinating, it is the most fascinating point to me but it may not be fascinating to you, that we stand before our mirror and we decide that we should look more beautiful. We stand before a mirror and we do not accept that we are beautiful. Do you know that? Do you know this problem? It is called mental self-coercion. We curse ourselves. We stand before a mirror and we never say, ‘Thank you God, for You have given me this day to look at myself. I am Thy creature. Bless me.’ No we don't do that; we start doing and changing things. We think about how to make changes, additions, and alterations, because basically we have never accepted what God has given us. When we have not accepted who we are, why do we expect other people to accept who we are? So what do we do? We do lots of talking - a lot of talking to convince people that we are beautiful.” 10/22/81
“From all these regions and nether regions and underworlds and over worlds, and beyond even that, says Nanak, do you think there is any chance or possibility of making the account? He is so big that He is beyond the very concept of bigness, why should we waste our time on that? Each one of you is the product of ten trillion cells. Each cell has electrons, protons, and neutrons - Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh - complete. And each cell is alive and dead within itself. So you have ten trillion blessings of God in you at any given moment. Is it difficult for you to just say ‘thank you’? “ 7/1/86
Speaking from my heart of gratitude, I am personally very thankful to the hard working staff at KRI. We have a wonderful group of yogis that work here and consciously live Yogi Bhajan’s teachings. Have you met our small but highly effective staff? You can meet them here.
I am also very appreciative of our KRI Board of Directors. It is an outstanding group of volunteers who love the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. This fall we are welcoming two new Board members, Gurucharan Singh and Sat Sarbat Kaur. At the same time, with deep gratitude for years of service, we are saying farewell to Amrit Singh. Our board gives selflessly without reservation, spending their time and money so that the staff and mission of KRI are supported in the work. You can meet them here.
And in closing, one more quotation from Yogi Bhajan:
“There is one word in the whole dictionary which can represent God in you, which can bring knowledge in you, which can make you everything that you want to be, and that is gratitude. An attitude of gratitude is ecstasy, bliss, accomplishment, and achievement. In English, the word is 'thank you.' To an ordinary person you will say 'thank you.' But do you say “thank you’ enough to your parents? Do you say ‘thank you’ enough to your neighbors? Do you say ‘thank you’ to a tree, which gives you shelter? Do you say ‘thank you’ to your car, which takes you safely somewhere? Why not? The human birth is meant for thanking. You have enemies; thank them! Without them you would never be alert. You would never be smart. You would never enjoy your existence. What is victory? When your enemy is so heavy that life becomes treacherously miserable, and then you survive! Then you say, 'thank you.' And that is existence!” 1/31/95
May we all give thanks for the many blessings we share, for the many gifts we have been given, and for this pure breath of life.
In service and In God I dwell,
Nirvair Singh Khalsa
Research on Yoga in the School Setting
Nikhil Ramburn, B.A. and Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D.
Children and teenagers today face mounting pressure to perform academically along with numerous stressors in their social and family lives. The consequence has been an alarming increase in the prevalence of physical, mental health, and behavioral problems. Despite the long-held role of schools to provide an academic education leading to success in the job market, parents, educators, and students are increasingly demanding more than academic success from schools. As a result, numerous programs to promote health and prevent problem behavior in the school system have sprung up. Unfortunately, many programs are fragmented and not well-integrated into school structures. To address this problem, the education system is in need of programs that support mental and physical health and that can be easily integrated into the school curriculum.
Studies on the therapeutic effects of yoga for youth indicate that it is efficacious in improving both physical and mental health, making yoga a prime contender to meet the school system’s need for an effective and holistic health and wellness program that can promote social and emotional learning (SEL) goals such as self-awareness and stress regulation.
Research into school-based yoga programs is a nascent and growing field. The first study of this kind, published in the journal Academic Therapy in 1976, reported that elementary school children exhibited calmer behavior and improvement in psychomotor skills following a yoga program. The authors also suggested that yoga may be more beneficial than other gross-motor physical activities because of its calming aspect. A follow-up study in the same journal in 1979 by the same researchers surveyed 34 children in Delaware who exhibited educational problems. The children were six to eleven years old and given fifteen minutes of yoga instruction before being assessed for their concentration levels. The study showed that students worked with greater efficacy following periods of yoga. However, like many studies in a new field of investigation, sample sizes were small, there was no control group and there was actually no statistically significant differences in improvements between changes in a yoga period as opposed to a general psychomotor program. However, statistically significant results were found in a 1989 randomized control trial of 80 students attending a private, religiously affiliated middle school in northern New Jersey. This study published as a doctoral dissertation at Seton Hall University showed that yoga meditation showed efficacy as a self-regulation strategy, thereby demonstrating the value of yoga to meet SEL goals.
Over the past ten to fifteen years, evaluations of school-based yoga and meditation approaches targeting children have increased significantly in both quantity and quality of studies. The recent surge in the popularity of mindfulness practices by the general public and has also been reflected in educational settings. In a small, randomized control trial of urban youth in 2014, application of the well-known Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction was associated with qualitative outcomes of increased calm, conflict avoidance, self-awareness, and self-regulation. These are all essential characteristics that make a productive learning environment and healthy school community. Mindfulness practices were also associated with a significant reduction in depression and stress in a nonrandomized parallel group study in 2012 showing the benefit of mindfulness programs in addressing the mental health epidemic facing today’s youth. More recently, a larger randomized control trial with fourth and fifth-grade students showed that students receiving a school-based mindfulness program showed greater decreases in depression, aggression and were rated by peers as more trustworthy, kind and helpful. Those same students had a more normalized diurnal profile of the stress hormone cortisol as determined by salivary assays.
With respect to yoga studies in school settings, a recent review paper published in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy identified twelve peer-reviewed studies of school-based yoga programs. Seven of the studies reviewed were conducted in the United States in public elementary schools both within the curriculum and in after-school programs. In India, studies were conducted on yoga programs in both residential schools and special education schools and studies of English and German public school yoga programs were also identified. Research designs involved in this research included pilot studies, single group trials, quasi-experimental and randomized clinical trials. Although most of the students were normally healthy youth, some of the yoga studies included students with autism, and with intellectual and learning disabilities.
In terms of characteristics that were observed to improve, students receiving the yoga intervention reported fewer negative behaviors, showed less body dissatisfaction and lower levels of stress. In addition, students were able to plan and execute tasks more quickly, were more self-confident, and communicated better with their teachers and peers. A study of Indian students, showed that students made fewer errors in depth perception after a yoga intervention. In a German public school, there was a decrease in group aggression and increase in stress-coping ability. Finally, significant improvements on IQ and social adaptation were noted in a special education school in India. Although the effects of participating in school-based yoga programs appeared generally beneficial, methodological limitations including the lack of randomization, small samples, limited details regarding the intervention and statistical ambiguities have limited the drawing of definitive conclusions at this point.
Despite these weaknesses, these findings do suggest that yoga provides a skillset to facilitate SEL such as stress management and self-regulation, thereby providing a cost-effective, evidence-based program to schools. As a holistic system of mind-body practices, yoga has been found to be an effective complementary therapy to promote health and reduce many factors related to physiological diseases in the adult research literature. Given that strong evidence exists between the promotion of SEL and beneficial student outcomes, more rigorous trials and funding are needed to support the research into school-based yoga programs. Further high quality research will be useful towards justifying the inclusion of yoga into the school curriculum, which may then become a universal practice and spread across the globe, completely reshaping education in the Aquarian Age.
Sat Nam from The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings™
The fall season is one of my favorites - a time
of cool weather and coming together with family
and community. Most of all November brings
Thanksgiving Day, a holiday that is a beautiful
reminder to slow down and be grateful for the
bounty we all have in our lives. I am so
thankful for my full life of family, love, and
consciousness – and this brings me great
Yogi Bhajan said: “Contentment comes from gratitude - whatever the circumstances are contentment is there if a person lives in gratitude. In this country where Thanksgiving Day is celebrated, I do not understand why can't we have each day as a thanksgiving. I have heard some people say to me, ‘We are fed up because of this, this, this and this!’ It always makes me smile to hear this and so sometimes they ask, ‘We are in pain, we are in difficulty, so why do you smile?’ I reply, ‘I smile simply for one reason, you have only this much difficulty - not THIS much. Because just now somebody went through something ten times more difficult than you!’” ~Yogi Bhajan, July 8th, 1971
Read or listen to this complete lecture that was recorded in Hartford, Connecticut early in his teaching in 1971.
Most of all I want to take a moment to share our deep gratitude for all of your generous donations. You are what makes The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings® a growing resource of Yogi Bhajan’s teachings. Without your contributions, love, and support we would not be able to make these teachings available online to the world for free!
Shabd Simran Kaur Adeniji, Fundraising Coordinator
The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings™
Kundalini Research Institute
Find us on Facebook “The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings”
We Are KRI: Teacher Training in Spanish throughout Latin America
In October we celebrated the 11th anniversary
of the passing of Yogi Bhajan also known as the
Siri Singh Sahib (August 26, 1929 – October 4,
2004). Yogi Bhajan traveled tirelessly to spread
Kundalini Yoga across the globe and to serve the
community of seekers who had emerged. This was
his mission and his passion and we are the
grateful inheritors of this legacy. The work
continues and now the technology of Kundalini
Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® is in practice on
every continent and the Kundalini Yoga Teacher
Training Program, “The Aquarian Teacher™”,
is offered in 52 countries in over 20 languages.
But how is this possible? It is through the love and commitment of students, teachers, and trainers who have dedicated their time to translating the curriculum materials for Level One and Level Two training, including The Aquarian Teacher textbook and manual - The Master’s Touch, and all five modules of Level Two training. These translations are the foundation upon which Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan has spread to all corners of the globe.
In sincere appreciation, I want to give tribute to Pritam Pal Singh of Mexico who has dedicated himself to getting the Spanish translations of manuals and DVDs to students in Latin America. Thanks to his work of printing and distributing The Master’s Touch in Spanish, the teachings are available throughout Latin America and Spain to support the teams of trainers, translators, and sevadars. Many of these teachers have donated their work in countries where the economy does not support the purchase of materials or the cost of Teacher Training. Pritam Pal Singh took on the task of ensuring that these materials could reach students who wish to become Kundalini Yoga teachers, from the streets of Buenos Aires to the jungles of Bolivia and Peru.
Students in the Level Two modules can also experience Yogi Bhajan on DVDs with subtitles in Spanish thanks to teams of translators in Latin America and Spain. Once again, Pritam Pal Singh’s commitment to printing and distributing these materials has ensured that Kundalini Yoga continues to serve people throughout the Spanish-language world.
Times are changing and soon these materials will be printed and distributed by the national associations in each country served by KRI and The Aquarian Teacher. Pritam Pal Singh has been in the forefront, graciously serving this transition process. Thank you to Pritam Pal for his tireless work spreading the teachings of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.
November Recipe of the Month
The Amazing Almond
Excerpts from: Foods for Health & Healing
Remedies and Recipes Based on the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, PhD
The almond is a wonderful nut. It can be eaten whole, or made into butter or milk. Its oil is excellent for both internal and external use. In most cases the outside skin, which is very astringent, should be removed before using.
Almonds are an excellent source of protein for vegetarians.
Almonds are a good source of manganese, phosphorus, and potassium. They are easily digestible and good for the eyes.
Almond Milk is an excellent first food for babies, and is also good for those suffering from anemia, diabetes, and malnutrition.
Young children should not eat almonds whole. Instead, give them Almond Butter. It can be used as a tasty spread for the entire family.
This is an excellent first food for children while they are nursing, and a great substitute for breast milk when weaning. It is high in protein, calcium, phosphorus, and iron.
4-6 raw unsalted almonds
1/2-1 tsp. cooked honey or raisins
Soak almonds overnight in water. Peel and place in blender with a small amount of water. When blended, add remaining water, honey or raisins, and blend well. Strain through cheesecloth before serving.
During the first five mornings of her menstrual flow, a woman should eat a handful of unpeeled almonds sautéed in ghee or almond oil as a small breakfast. A little honey should be added, not just as a sweetener, but because it increases calcium retention and rejuvenates the reproductive system.
Except for during her period or after giving birth to a child, almonds should be eaten without the peels since they are very astringent and can contribute to wrinkles and aging of the skin. Soak the almonds overnight in cold water. The peels can then be easily removed by hand.
Excerpt from Foods for Health & Healing
Yoga Por La Paz
1000 People Gather for “Yoga for Peace” in Mexico City
by Sat Tara Singh Khalsa
It was cloudy and cool on the morning of September 20, 2015 as the International Kundalini Yoga Teacher’s Association (IKYTA) of Mexico started setting up for the event “Yoga for Peace” in Chapultepec Park, Mexico City.
One of the largest city parks in the Western Hemisphere, Chapultepec is a beautiful green zone of over 1,600 acres. The stage and yoga space was graceful set up in front of the Canadian Totem pole, gifted more than 50 years ago in celebration of the deep friendship between the Canadian and Mexican people. There was excitement and a degree of uncertainly that crackled in the air, since this was the first event of its kind that IKYTA Mexico had ever done.
By 10:00 AM everything was set and people began
to arrive. Our well-loved Jap Singh was on stage
sitting on the teacher’s mat with the totem
behind him and more than 500 people sitting on
the grass in front of him, eager to start. The
clouds parted and a brilliant blue sky greeted
the yogis, warming their bodies and hearts.
More people arrived and, as the class started, nearly 1000 students had gathered for the event. There were both new and experienced yogis in the class, and the IKYTA team were on hand to guide the beginners. The group energy swelled and rose as the sun reached its apex. It was great to see so many new practitioners of Kundalini Yoga. With a clear intention and purpose, the vibration of “Yoga for Peace” spread from the totem out towards the city.
After the kriya and meditation came a deep relaxation on the green grass. Then the whole class sat and raised their voices with the healing mantra, “Sat Narayan Wahe Guru, Hari Narayan Sat Nam”. Yogi Bhajan recommended this mantra to heal and bring peace to situations in violent times. Accompanied by Jap Singh’s guitar, the mantra was chanted from the heart, expanding through the trees and beyond for more than twenty minutes. As we prayed for the wellbeing of all living creatures, we asked for love among people, for harmony in the universe, and peace in our country.
The yogis left the park changed in a deep and meaningful way. Our cup was full with the energy of peace that we shared freely during the rest of that day, and now for all eternity with anyone who crosses our path - in the subway, in the classrooms, in the office, at home. For a short video of the event, please see our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RecreaMX/videos/908429842585461/?pnref=story
We want to thank everyone who came to do Yoga for Peace. May this be the first of many events that remind us of our grace as human beings and our true nature as children of Eternity. Sat Nam
November Specials from KRI
Success and the Spirit:
Foundation DVD Set