Today on Yogi Bhajan’s birthday celebration, I’m finally settled in Española, New Mexico. Since I got here, I’ve been feeling the daily support of the community (Sat Sangat) and the medicine power of wild animals, expansive mountains, native plants, jujube trees, wild opium lettuce, sunflowers, wine grapes, and even an apple orchard! There’s an organic symbiosis of myself and the environment that speaks to me louder than any other place I’ve lived.
When leaving California two months ago, I didn’t think I would be so blessed. I moved because I wanted to practice my Kundalini Yoga and Meditation in community at the “Mother Ashram,” and be close to a Gurudwara/Sikh Temple. I wanted to dive deep in SIKH DHARMA, the ethical foundations of my spiritual discipline.
I felt that I was leaving my past behind, and when I got here, it was merely a dream, as if I had walked into a hologram of a new HIGHER VISION of myself.
The Adi Shakti, the primal force symbol of creation, was guiding me in visions and in the women’s circle I was holding space for in Sebastopol with two other Kundalini sisters. We chanted with music and Celestial Communication, invoking the powers that be. I could feel in this move, my heart was aligned with the fearless, creative energies, calling in a peaceful vision of the future, one that is sustainable and inclusive, not just for the planet but also for myself. And before I knew it, I was packing and moving. Here in Espanola, I connected with the Shared, “Bhand Jammee-Ai Bhand Nimmee-Ai,” which honors the power of women as containers of the universe, and confirmed that there was no greater force next to God than our creativity and feminine grace, and no greater joy than joining a collective consciousness through the three daily hours of praying, yoga, and chanting.
The environment also welcomed me with a few surprises. I encountered a red snake, the power symbol of women’s knowledge and healing in most traditions–shedding skin layers and helping to shed the EGO–and I rescued a juvenile hummingbird right in my backyard. The fragility of his body taught me to stand still at the center, while also traveling the four directions. As women, we are the containers, the space holders and shape-shifters in these times, when large-scale changes are happening all around us. The burning of the Amazon Forest is one of them, and like those ancient goddesses and priestesses when healing the wounded and bringing peace, to the weary, I feel call to answer.
My move in the midst of environmental and political changes reminded me of the VESTAL VIRGINS who protected the sacred flame in the Roman temples, and who took celibate vows and prayed in oracles for political security. I too, hold space in my practice for the suffering of the world, as I am supported by the Sangat/Community.
Another time I could remember reading about the role of women in chaotic times, was in an African-Yoruba legend, when the GODS excluded Goddess OCHUN from populating the EARTH and she made every woman barren. Fertility was restored when the male ORISHAS made Her place the guardian of family and creativity. She asserted her voice as a powerful paradigm shape shifter, navigating the feminine and masculine energies and restoring balance.
Yogi Bhajan, who honored women in the Kundalini practices he taught in the West since 1968, once wrote that “if there will be no respect for the woman, there shall be no peace on this Earth.” Another of his teachings has to do with paying attention to the energy of the planets (represented in our fingers when we do mudras–hand movements that accompany our style of yoga– as well as the sun and the moon, as an aid to align with the more subtle vibrations of God–the universal soul.
These past few days, I’ve been able to notice how my own moon centers–the hairline, eyebrows, cheeks, earlobes, lips, earlobes, breasts, navel, clitoris, vagina and inner thighs–are all constantly changing, influenced by the planets orbiting next to Earth. The New Moon in Leo this month was on the waxing curve, embracing and taking in new virtues, open to creativity and transformation all the way to the Full Moon in Virgo, getting us ready to shed what no longer serves us–emotions outbursts, negativity, and tension.
To me, Leo’s creative energy has invited me to propel myself into the unknown, and prepare myself physically, emotionally and mentally. Virgo has helped me to strategize and prioritize what’s important in the larger picture, yet paying attention to the details of everyday life. I’ve have gained more MINDFULNESS, just by watching how my practice changes from one day to the next. And as I fortify my body and my mind with daily KRIYAS (exercises sets combining asanas, mudras or hand movements, breathwork and mantra passed on by Yogi Bhajan from thousand of years of yogi knowledge), I am more ready to embrace what’s there awaiting for me and my new life in Espanola.
That is what the word YOGA means, union with infinity, when we feel completely align with our SOUL PURPOSE, OUR SOUL MISSION. As we celebrate Yogi Bhajan’s birthday today and the Ashram is full of classes and events, including an evening dance, I can’t feel gratitude in my heart for his courage to answer the mandate of his teacher, Guru Ram Das, to bring YOGA to the West. Since I’ve arrived, called to practice yoga in this lineage, I feel at home in my heart.
In loving service, Satnam.
Atma Chanan Kaur