In December last year I was very fortunate to be taught Kundalini Yoga by Gurmukh, one of the leading Kundalini teachers in the World today. I went to her course right here in the UK, in London. Amazingly, at seventy seven she is still writing, travelling the world and teaching. She is coming back to London this Autumn and I am looking forward to sharing her words with you.
I am prone to great changes and very much used to powerful experiences but even so was still not prepared for what took place after being on the course for a mere three days. As with every true and authentic experience and with the power of continuous practice, the months that followed turbo charged me and my life beyond my wildest expectations. The intense presence of beauty, the guidance from the unseen and the sense of finding a way to myself with incredible speed was overwhelming. However, I still had questions. I felt there was so much more. I knew Gurmukh would be coming back to the UK and I asked her if she would give me an interview. When she agreed, I was not sure at first what I should ask her, I just knew I had to do it.
When I set off to interview her I wasn’t expecting to end up with just so much information. Usually, I would look at an interview and shorten it for ease of use for the reader, but this time I could not take much out. I felt this was no longer just an interview. I felt all of it was important and needed to be sent out to the world of women, world of men, world of parents and world of good people in its entirety. At the same time, just simply talking to Gurmukh, the interview itself seemed in a way healing experience for me. I decided to split the material and publish it in a couple of parts but I also felt the healing can extend further, to anyone who finds these words resonating with their own life experiences, male or female.
Whether you are spiritual or not I ask you to have an open mind and read it. Perhaps more correctly I ask you to open your heart and take the words in as they flow like healing waters. I ask you to dream of sisterhood as you take this in. I invite you to dream with me as you imagine the beauty of our children’s futures and recognise the power your dream has to create it.
I give you these words from Gurmukh, Kundalini Yoga leader, every woman’s warmest friend, every mama’s guru, every pregnant woman’s angel, every child’s auntie. Here she is in her own words..
Over the past two decades there was a lot of talk and writing about the approach of what is known as an Aquarian Age signaling long awaited great changes in the World. This period, known by many different names and spoken about by various religions and spiritual paths as a great transition from the true Dark Ages of humanity, has gained much interest among the general population over the past few decades.
According to numerous writings of antiquity, from the ancient prophecies of Maya and Inka to legends of Hopi and much studied scriptures of Hindus about Kali Yuga, our recent history seems to be the beginning of this time of transition to the accelerated spiritual and social evolution of humans. Considering I have a professional and personal interest in this I wanted to ask Gurmukh about this first, especially as her own teacher Yogi Bhajan spoke about this process frequently.
BW: What is happening right now globally with humanity?
G: Actually, 2012 was, numerologically and astrologically the dawning of the Aquarian age. Now what does that mean? It means the age of consciousness, when people are awakening – awakening to the whole of what this world is, and why they’re here, and the destiny that we all have to live. Now the dawning doesn’t mean that the sun has come up. That’s when the dawn comes, when the light comes, but there’s going to have to be a lot of strife that will happen until actually it’s actualised. What he* said is 5 generations, about 500 years from now. So how do we keep it afloat until that time? And I know in London… we went from India to Zurich to Munich to Barcelona, to here, teaching all along the way, and we were well aware of how many people are now demonstrating for global warming, and for the change that must come. So you can see it’s an awakening, now, but it’s a turbulent time. The politicians are saying that the times are uncertain, well they are always uncertain – no-one really knows, but we do know there’s probably more change going on right now than the world has ever seen before, in at least the last 2000 years has sped up fast, why? Because to me, consciousness, total awareness must happen where we live for each other, and not at each other, and it seems far away in many cases, because you look at the politics, you look at the business people, they don’t even know what I’m talking about, but it will come to pass, and I feel it is the generations coming in that will be the ones that will make the conscious change, because they will come in much more conscious than your parents, than my parents, than grandparents, and on and on, because they came when they weren’t very evolved. So that’s my take, so everything actually is right on time. Does it mean that you just sit back and say ho hum? No. Means you participate to help bring that consciousness in in whatever way that you can.
BW: As far as I understand, from what I read about this from various traditions, there is a great accent on the role of females in this process, because obviously there has been 5000 years of society where we had the patriarchal order, and a very masculine energy, so from what I understand, the women specifically need to prepare themselves and be active at this time. What is your opinion on this? What are you advising (to women) that needs to be done?
G: Well you’re exactly right, because the age of Aquarian. However, it doesn’t include competing, or putting men down. And that’s often the mistake, because women hold so much anger towards the male, of what they’ve done to us, including their own fathers, and perhaps their partners, and just the whole of everything, the “Me too” movement, but really our power lies not in competition with men. We’re much more evolved than they are, but we have to come to act in that evolved state, which is the most important thing – women need to unite with women, not against men, but just to unite as a oneness, to know that we know, and that comes again through consciousness, it comes through diligence, and it comes through non-competitive, and non-comparative, it comes through women not taking women’s husbands, taking husbands away from.. it comes when we become solid with our sisters, and what goes on so much is that we aren’t separate ourselves from ourselves, and we lose the power. A house divided will always fall, and if women unite as oneness like all our children, not just your children, not just mine, but all our children are together in this, mothers are together in this, and we don’t do each other in, and we don’t… We just have to come into a sisterhood, and what we wouldn’t do to others – we just can’t do it any more, because we lose our power, and our power is not like men’s power, our power is just our oneness, our inner strength, our all-knowingness, as the keepers of the Earth, as the mother of the Earth, as the mother of all children. Once we come to that, in that evolved state, no man can do anything but bow to us – they’re helpless. And this is the biggest thing, they want us to lead – they may act like they don’t, but they do – at some level every man knows that it’s the woman, it’s the mother, it’s the creative force in the universe that will bring about change in the world, but we’re the ones that have to do it, we can’t wait for them to realise it.
BW: When it comes to Kundalini Yoga, what should every woman do – what would be the most important KRIYA that is best for development of women towards this, as you just spoke about, and what is the most important quality within a woman, that every woman should cherish within her, for this particular stage.
G: I would say her intuition, that she knows the unknown, she sees the unknown, she is the unknown, we’re the ones that are one step ahead – we’re the ones that KNOW, and we have to develop the intuition, because when you have an intuitive self that you trust, then you don’t need anything else – you just know the unknown, you see the unseen, you hear the unheard, and that can be developed so well in kundalini yoga, because there’s a science to open up the higher centres, we all know women that live in that higher centre, and no one can touch them. Like Ammaji*- no one can touch her, she’s so powerful, she’s so complete, and with her completeness, all she wants to do is serve. And that’s what happens, when a woman loses her insecurities, from knowing who she is, then she sees her duty, but it’s not overwhelming to her, she just spends every day helping this world to find it’s rightful place, and that’s in a nutshell, and now she needs a physical body that can carry her through this. So I would say things like SAT KRIYA. Kriya is one of the most powerful things a woman can do – balancing her brain, Kirtan Kriya, and then developing, and there’s so many meditations – to develop the frontal lobe, to open the capacity to know the unknown, but not just that, to trust that you know, and when you know – no one can shake you, no-one can move you, no man can harm you – nothing. But it takes a daily practice, it takes getting up before the sun comes up, it takes turning to foods that will feed your brain – a vegetarian diet maybe, a vegan diet that will nurture your body, nurture your soul, keep your brain working good – it’s actually a lot of work, but it’s worth it. It’s a lot of work to be disciplined, it’s a lot of work to be committed, but at my point in my life – at 77, and many other women are realising, what else is there to do? What am I to do? Keep going shopping, keep buying things, keep moving around travelling, just doing this, this, this, like why did I reincarnate at this time? To find all those other people who have come in at this time, and to join together in a force that has to be reckoned with.
BW: Many people don’t know they can do Kundalini Yoga when a woman is pregnant, so what does KY do for a pregnant woman?
G: Well more so what does it do for the womb life, the soul that has come into her body. It could change that child’s destiny. It could heal. It is so powerful in the womb life, in those 9 months. I could tell you so many stories of the past where women have brought a child that maybe wasn’t well, or a child that maybe didn’t have a great Karma, and through the mother’s prayers through her yoga, through her chanting, through walking, from doing the simple exercises that cast away years. Within KY, they are very evolved souls, and I’ve seen it over and over in the last 35 years that I’ve taught it. A mother finds peace within. She finds her breath, she finds why this soul has come in to her. It’s not just about whether – am I going to have a little girl, or a little boy, are they going to wear pink, or are they going to wear blue, that’s part of it, but when they realise they’re bringing in an evolved soul, that will grow up to be an adult, not just a cute little baby – they become bigger in their expansion of their duty you might say, to help this child in utero. They used to think in the past that nothing happened in utero, just cells dividing. This little kid was born. No – Destinies can be re-routed, everything – through a mother’s prayers, her movement, the music she listens to, her chanting, her conversations, her relationship with the father. We say you learn more in your mother’s womb than you learn the whole rest of your life. And that’s what we work to teach, in our teacher’s training and in the courses. And it’s amazing is all I can say. It’s amazing. And I know some of these kids that are now 35 years old, and I think their womb life brought them to what they are today. And most of them want to help humanity in some way, they want to serve.
BW: And what do we say to women who didn’t do any Kundalini Yoga. Can they do something else now to help their children?
G: Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. You know most women don’t know , they don’t know kundalini. They’re born, they’re just doing their typical thing, (baby) in the pram, and maybe trying to do it naturally (the birth), having to do all that is great, and it’s all important. But after the child is born – the first three years of a child’s life, the mother is the teacher. So what does she want to teach them, because what she’s going to teach them is what they’re going to be when they grow up. I think most mothers would like their children to be loving, to be kind, to want to do something in the world that makes a difference, because what’s the point of coming back – just to hang out again? The mother would be the living example of that for the first 3 years. She would teach them love, and prayer, and yoga and fellowship. Every single thing that she wants them to be when they grow up. And there’s (Kundalini Yoga) classes, there’s “Mummy and Me”s, there’s so much a mother can do now, just to be with her kids. Kids want to be with other kids, so you choose a community of like minded mothers. You eat a clean diet. You know these days if you don’t eat an organic, clean diet, your children don’t stand a chance. There’s so many diseases, and disorders, mentally and physically that come from all the chemicals and all this stuff. You work hard on the relationship with their father if that exists. Not work hard, just know that that’s so important, because they look towards both of you as living examples of how they should be. Children are copycats. What you do, they’ll repeat, so – it’s to me is the least educated, the least qualified, and the most important position in the whole world – profession in the whole world, to be a parent, and yet it lacks the most of anything. It’s so funny. You can be a lawyer, but you don’t have to have any qualifications to be a parent. So we like to help mothers and it’s interesting because when they hear this, in pregnancy, or classes, or Mummy and Me classes – there’s never an argument, because they know it’s the truth. Women know what truth is, and when it rings a bell, they say “Ah ha”, it may not have come up consciously, but every woman knows her truth.
BW: From what you just said, if a woman was to do all this, how do we make sure that women don’t get things like post-natal depression? Society’s not geared up for the community nowadays, there are so many people who are bringing their children up on their own, and how we make sure that we help women even if they’re on their own with their child, to not get post- natal depression?
G: Community, community, community, if they’re single mothers, they don’t have finances, a lot of things worry mothers, we need to be with sisters, we need to be in villages, you know, we need to reach out, we need to have classes, where they can bring – whether they have a spouse or not, it doesn’t matter. I always have Mummy and Me-s (classes), then have Infant and Me, and then Toddlers and Me, and they live in a community. If they’re going through stuff they talk about it to each other, because post-natal depression usually comes from isolation. A woman doesn’t know anybody else, has a baby – she’s home alone, she’s not eating very well, she’s tired, she’s not sure if her baby’s getting enough milk, and it goes on and on like that. In the olden days I bet there was no post-natal depression because people lived in villages. There was mom next door, there was aunty down the road, and your sister lives there, and everybody helped raise that child. Now so many women in cities, they don’t even live close to their parents, and a lot of them that live close to their mother don’t even want their mother around because she’s so neurotic, so what we have to do as new mothers is to join together. I love to teach it (Mummy and Me classes), and we have many people teaching all over the world, because then they give them (new mums) the technology of kundalini yoga – getting their bodies in shape, getting their minds working again. You know they gave their lives of 9 months to their child, they gave their womb, they gave their belly. Now they have to retrieve it, so they’re strong again, so they can be the best mother, but if you’re tired, and you just feel not good. In America you go to your doctor, and they want to give you pharmaceuticals. There’s no reason for post-natal depression. You’ve got to eat good, you have to be in community – it happens so rarely, in all my classes throughout the years, because they can pick up a phone and call someone, and say “I feel really crummy, I feel really sad, I feel really afraid, I don’t have energy” whatever it is, and then somebody comes to help, and we say “Just come to class”, and then everybody would just be around them, and the heart opens, and then they don’t have it any more. It’s isolation – it’s just about isolation, so there’s one thing having communities of like-minded women with their babies, it saves the day for so many of them.
BW: Talking about that Gurmukh, you know you have your teacher training programme, do people need to go through the full teacher training programme to work with the mothers, or to work with the children?
G: Yes, but it’s only 8 days! This is what it does though – what we spend the first couple of days, is we rebirth ourselves, we go back to meditations Yogi Bhajan gave us, a whole series, where you go back to your own womb life. (This is ) because you can’t help people totally if you’re carrying so much scar tissue, and so much baggage about your own birth, or early years, about your first early years. I was just talking to teachers training today – if you can’t forgive our parents, forgive our mother for whatever she did, we will never, ever be happy. And it’s like “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do” they did the best they could. So through the meditations that we spend the first two days doing, you get free (from the past). And then the last 6 days you learn the technology of how to teach it, and then we also have produced a lot of videos on different subject matters – we go through everything, from where should babies sleep, to vaccinations, to just every single topic that can come up – breastfeeding – that will need to be decided if they have a partner – a lot to discuss, a lot to teach, we try not to be dogmatic. People have to know, it’s not just having a pet that you bring home from the pet store – it’s a big deal, having a baby. Also we talk to people – like “why? Why do you want to have a child?” A lot of people just want to have it because they think that they should, or the biological clock is ticking, or for some reason that isn’t even worthy of having a child. I love it when women say “you know – I’ve just decided not to have a child, and I feel good – there’s enough children in the world, or I will adopt if it comes, I just don’t have that feeling.” Then I said “that’s perfect”. And then other women – “I have to have a child, I have to have a child” and then they go round and round with in vitro, and everything, and I don’t know – It’s kind of a crazy world because you can do all that. In the olden days you couldn’t have all those choices – you either got pregnant or you didn’t.
BW: With this course that you said is 8 days – it’s only for trained Kundalini Yoga teachers?
G: No. Anybody can do it. We love to bring in anybody – doctors, nurses, psychologists, just a mob. You know what’s really the best? We find women who want to get pregnant. Just come and learn what it is, and then even teach it. Even if you don’t get pregnant – I’ve had so many women, some of my best teachers they haven’t even had kids. Some would like to, some aren’t able to, some don’t. It doesn’t really matter. once you free yourself from your own birth, you’re free, and then you can go on and help others. It’s for anybody, you can be a hatha yoga teacher, you can be pilates, you can not even having ever done yoga. I have a woman, she’s an Australian Aborigine, she wants to come to the USA to do it. They come in all different ways, we have grandmothers that come. People that just want to help, that come. It just goes on and on, but what happens – the women form communities that are life long, in those 8 days. You can’t believe it. The harmony of longing to belong as in a sisterhood cannot be matched, and then they go through it all, you get tested, and there’s graduation, and it’s a pretty joyful time, is all I can say. For some women it was the best experience of their whole life, whether they teach it or not, but most of them teach it, because they go out, they have an experience and they want to share it with others.
BW: That sounds amazing. Do you actually teach it in Britain?
G Not yet. This coming fall we’re teaching it in Portland Oregon, and then in January in Miami, but then in the spring we’re teaching it in Munich.
BW: But what about teaching children? I believe there are some programmes for children?
G: There are programmes – Shaktakara has a children’s programme that’s very good. We teach some, we teach a “Mommy and Me” aspect of it, but a lot of children’s yoga, a lot of infant and baby yoga, you get a clue how to do it, and then your imagination takes over. In other words, we figured it out – women – there’s no big dogma, and old scriptures that tell you how to do it because it was never done before. When I teach the mommy and me, and I made the videos, I didn’t have a book to follow, I just followed what I’d been doing, what was fun for the baby, or how the baby could work, and it all works out really good like that. In fact if you just get a format, and as a woman, and you’ve got that kind of childlike quality, you can just make this stuff up – that’s what I did. It’s not that big a deal, where pregnancy is, it’s a big deal, because there’s dos and don’ts, and then also with ‘Mommy and Me’ you want to strengthen the momma after she’s been home for 40 days, and so then you work more on abdominals, you work more on stuff if you’re a hatha teacher, exercise teacher, pilates teacher, it kindof all makes pretty much sense, and we all sell manuals with things you can do.
BW: And what is the youngest age that they can start, just doing ordinary KY.
G: Oh, they can do it at any time. They can start at four years old. There are just certain things, until they get to puberty you can’t do Breath of Fire, and pulling the locks, but other than that, we go into classrooms all over the world and teach. We go into jails and teach. We go into so many places, and they just love it, because KY for young people is very playful, and we use really really good music, and they really get high in a sense on their breath, and so we teach teenagers, 4yr olds, 8yr olds – it doesn’t matter who. They love it. It isn’t like perfecting asana, postures. It’s like having an experience on the inside of you, with the remembrance of God, and we don’t even say those words, but what you feel really good, even if you’re a biker, going up and down hills, even if you’re a runner, a hiker, you feel good afterwards, you feel one with the creator, why? Because you’re connected to your breath – same as children. You don’t even have to call it yoga, but they feel happy, when they dance, when they jump up and down, when they do partner exercises, and when they laugh, and they do fun songs to help them – remind them of the connects, without even saying anything about God. Because children know everything.
*Swamini Pramananda (affectionately known as Ammaji)
END OF PART ONE
Interview by Billie Krstovic