A Note From Nirvair
Sat Nam. Greetings from New Mexico. June was
an amazing start to the summer with a potent
full moon and an amazing Summer Solstice
KRI had some great and powerful courses. The Level 2 Conscious Communication course gave us the tools and experience to communicate with integrity from our deepest soulful self. The 21 Stages of Meditation course was a lot of fun as well as being deep and rejuvenating.
Our second annual North American “Mela” was a huge success. The Mela is a gathering for teachers that are embarking on the pathway to being a Level Three Teacher in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®. Participants and KRI staff expressed enthusiasm and gratitude to have the support and inspiration to continue to immerse themselves deeper into Yogi Bhajan’s teachings. By joining in peer groups, we are able to appreciate the living example of connection and service that he modeled for us.
Summer Solstice Sadhana was super! I really enjoyed all the classes. Thanks to all of you that took the time to say hello and a warm “Sat Nam” to me.
Happy Independence Day! The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings® has several inspiring classes that Yogi Bhajan taught on or near 4th of July. Here is what he said on July 3, 1991,
“I hope and pray that you will be conscious, protect the Earth, Mother Earth, and you will teach your children certain do's and don'ts to save tomorrow. That is what America needs today. Tomorrow is our independence day, by virtue of which we are free to a certain extent. But I hope the best thing is, we feel free. Still it's a wonderful land compared to other areas and we pray to keep that way. So enjoy your tomorrow, feel good as Americans. Do something nice tomorrow. Do something graceful tomorrow, in gratitude. God gave you freedom, gave you sovereignty, and gave you a great country that you can call home.”
Do you have a longing to be a teacher of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan?
Now is the time for Teachers! We still have space available in our International Teacher Training Level One Immersion Course. The Aquarian Age is calling and you can become a Teacher of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan this summer. It inspires me to know that a lifetime of service and uplifting students is available to you as a teacher. If you are considering that path or you know a student who is considering teaching Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, there is still time to register for Level One Teacher Training here in New Mexico. Come be with us this August, it is an amazing experience for students and trainers alike!
All the best with blessings,
Nirvair Singh Khalsa
CEO Kundalini Research Institute
Yoga Research - Hypertension
Nikhil Ramburn and Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D.
Pranayama, specifically slow breathing practices, are known to have direct and immediate impact on the autonomic nervous system and blood pressure by enhancing baroreflex sensitivity. This significant finding has been particularly well-characterized by the elegant and rigorous studies of pranayama researcher Luciano Bernardi in Italy, which clearly demonstrated the pronounced effects of slow yogic breathing on both the respiratory chemoreflex response as well as the baroreceptor reflex response in both normal and hypertensive subjects. As early as 2001 he concluded that, “Enhanced baroreflex sensitivity might be one factor inhibiting the chemoreflex during slow breathing. A slowing breathing rate may be of benefit in conditions such as chronic heart failure that are associated with inappropriate chemoreflex activation.”
More recently, slow pranayama was shown to be effective in reducing blood pressure in an Indian study by yoga researchers Bhavanani, Madanmohan, et al. involving 29 patients with hypertension or prehypertensive conditions. Within only five minutes of practice of Pranava Pranayama, which involves a slow and deep inhale followed by a prolonged chant of AUM (OM), subjects revealed a statistically significant reduction in systolic pressure and supine heart rate, both indicators of cardiovascular function and sympathetic activation. In addition, the immediacy of the results (within 5 minutes) indicates that yogic breathing may also be used in acute clinical interventions when blood pressure needs to be lowered as quickly as possible. These findings also suggest that pranayama should be considered as a key component in yoga interventions.
The first systematic review of the literature on
the efficacy of yoga for hypertension was
published in 2014 and included 39 cohort
studies, 30 nonrandomized controlled trials (NRCTs),
48 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 3
case reports. The yoga interventions ranged from
1 week to 4 years and involved a total of 6,693
subjects. Most studies reported favorable
outcomes with yoga effectively reducing blood
pressure in both normotensive and hypertensive
populations. The investigation of yoga as a
treatment for hypertension has a long-standing
history, and in fact, the very first RCT ever
published on yoga was on hypertension. In that
early United Kingdom study from 1975, 37
hypertensive patients were randomly allocated to
yogic relaxation, breathing, and meditation or
to simple relaxation, twice weekly for 60
minutes over the course of 6 weeks. At the end
of the trial, the yoga group had a significantly
greater reduction in systolic and diastolic
blood pressure compared to the control group.
Although this early study had a number of
methodological short-comings, it was overall of
acceptable quality. Since that first research
trial, the number of RCTs that have been
published on this topic have made hypertension
one of the most researched areas of yoga
More recent studies have since provided similar findings, including a landmark paper published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension in 2014. This is the first RCT to show the significant effects of yoga when compared with an exercise control group. The participants in both groups were asked to attend two 55-minute classes per week for 12 weeks and to perform 3 sessions of home practice for 20 minutes each week. The study included 84 individuals with prehypertension and stage 1 hypertension between 21 and 70 years of age, with over 90% female and predominantly African American. The results in this high minority population indicated that yoga decreased blood pressure while the active control intervention (nonaerobic exercise) did not. The mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased by approximately 5 mm Hg and 4mm Hg respectively, consistent with values found in other controlled studies of yoga for hypertension and comparable to those obtained from other non-pharmacological strategies such as diet, physical exercise, and salt reduction.
Another more recent rigorous study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania by Dr. Debbie Cohen and colleagues was just published in 2016. This 3-armed RCT allocated 137 patients with prehypertension and stage 1 hypertension into one of 3 groups: a dietary intervention with a walking program, a regular, twice-weekly yoga practice, or a combination of these two. This was the first study to directly examine how yoga compared to a dietary intervention. All three interventions had a favorable effect on blood pressure reduction with a significantly greater reduction in systolic blood pressure at 12 weeks in the yoga and combination groups as compared with the control group of diet and walking alone. Although the blood pressure reductions were small, they are still noteworthy since even a 2 mm Hg fall in mean systolic blood pressure results in 7% and 10% decreased risk of death from heart disease and stroke respectively, which is a clinically significant reduction in morbidity and mortality rate.
In summary, studies to date have demonstrated the efficacy of yoga, and especially of pranayama, for lowering blood pressure in hypertension without significant adverse side-effects. Future research should provide more data on safety and address the problem of adherence to long-term practice. Despite the encouraging results from existing studies, the American Heart Association has not yet recommended yoga as a non-pharmacologic intervention because of the lack of high-quality RCTs. Given the potential efficacy of yoga for hypertension (and its added value in addressing the underlying causes rather than just symptoms) and the likely cost-effectiveness of such interventions, the need for larger, high-quality RCTs with long-term follow-ups is critically important. Future research will further improve our knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of yoga action in hypertension and will facilitate the development of even more effective yoga interventions.
Nikhil Rayburn grew up practicing yoga under mango trees in the tropics. He is a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher and has taught yoga to children and adults in Vermont, New Mexico, Connecticut, India, France, and Mauritius. He is a regular contributor to the Kundalini Research Institute newsletter and explores current yoga research.
Sat Nam from The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings®
It was so wonderful to meet some of you this year at our Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings booth at Summer Solstice! Thank you for stopping by and bringing your questions and suggestions. Your input, gifts, and support are what have brought the Library of Teachings to the level it is at today.
This month in the United States we celebrate our Independence Day, Happy 4th of July from The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings. Yogi Bhajan gave a lecture on July 4th of 1978 that I think offers us a wonderful reminder of what is truly important when talk about independence, he said:
“I wish you a happy Fourth of July and Independence Day. It reminds you not only that you are a member of an independent country but also that you have to give independence to your soul. Dharma is the path to cut down the karma, the blocks of life, so that you can go ahead and merge with from where you came. The greatest thing of the day is: All things come from God and all things go to God.”
“In this country, you have been raised as children for the sake of ego. If your ego gets its way, you feel happy. When ego gets stuck, you feel very sad and unhappy. Actually, when the ego gets stuck, you should be very happy to see how you can solve the tangle. That is where your Self starts. Ego is a challenge because ego is limiting, it is a belittlement of the Self. Infinity is the source of Godhood and it will come to you when you know who you are. And you can never know who you are if your ego always flows the way. It will give you the way. Only you know who you are - then the ego is challenged.”
Listen or read the full lecture to hear more from this very early lecture from 1978.
There is so much to be grateful for and yet so much to strive towards. Let us take this month to consider the independence of our soul and the blocks that we may experience in living this Dharma.
Thank you for your continued support of The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings® it is through your gifts that the world has access to these teachings for free!
Shabd Simran Kaur Adeniji
The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings®
Kundalini Research Institute
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The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings® is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible under IRS code 501(c)(3)
New from KRI:
KRI Recipe of the Month for July
From Vegetables, With Love
Recipes and Tales from a Yogi’s Kitchen
(Revised and Expanded New Edition)
By Siri-Ved Kaur Khalsa
Yield: 6 servings
Serve these as a protein side dish, add to stir-fries, eat as snack, or use in sandwiches. Save leftover marinade for dipping sauce for the tempeh strips. So tasty!
This marinade is also used as dipping sauce for Tofu Satay (p. 229).
2 8-ounce packages tempeh
Thai Marinade or Satay Sauce (this appears on page 103)
Yield: 1 cup
3 tablespoons lime juice
2½ tablespoons tamari soy sauce
1/3 cup smooth almond or peanut butter
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 tablespoons light honey
2 teaspoons minced garlic (3 medium cloves)
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (about a 1½-inch piece)
2 teaspoons crushed red chilies or1 teaspoon cayenne
Mix together lime juice, tamari soy sauce, almond butter, rice vinegar, and honey in a 1-2 quart mixing bowl until smooth. Add garlic, ginger, and red chilies and mix well.
Steam the Tempeh:
This step removes bitterness from the tempeh. If you like tempeh right out of the package, you can skip this step. Cut tempeh crosswise into slices no more than 1/3-inch thick. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add tempeh slices and boil for 10 minutes. Drain and discard water.
Prepare the Marinade:
Add tempeh strips to the marinade, spooning marinade over each layer to be sure all strips are well coated. The tempeh will start absorbing
the marinade right away. Let stand 15 minutes.
Bake the Marinated Tempeh:
Preheat oven to 375° while tempeh is marinating. For easy clean up, line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray paper with olive oil spray. Place tempeh strips on the parchment in one layer. Be sure to reserve marinade remaining in a bowl for dipping sauce. Place tray on top rack in a hot oven. Bake 8 minutes, turn strips over, and bake another 8 minutes.
How to Marinate Tempeh
When you make Twice Baked Barbecued Tempeh or Marinated Thai Tempeh
you will discover that tempeh is much more receptive to absorbing other flavors than tofu. Try other ingredients in your marinade before you bake, grill, or fry the tempeh. Some great marinade additions include: finely chopped green chilies, shredded or minced fresh ginger, tamarind concentrate, Cajun seasoning, crushed mint leaves, rice vinegar, ketchup, honey, or other sweetener. You can also add cubed tempeh (straight from the package or, for better flavor, steamed and fried, grilled, or baked) to stews, sautés, sabzee, or soups. It soaks up the flavors of whatever it’s in.