It is said that our search for romantic love, for material wealth and happiness comes from an innate but misguided desire to find connection with God, our eternal Self. Instead of turning within, we look outside of us to find that sense of wholeness. As if someone else, or something else can make us whole.
In our day to day life, we are pulled into different directions, and we struggle to find meaning in them. Under stress, and the experience of scarcity, we scramble to prioritize what is most important. When we are having this sort of discussion with friends over tea or wine, we know what they are. Our actions say otherwise. We don't want to disappoint. We don't want to say "no." Not to others. But to ourselves, we say "no," or "later" regularly.
Committing to another person, to work, to exercise, these things are important, and they define us to others. We are reliable and trustworthy. These commitments can reward us with companionship, reputation, wealth, a sense of accomplishment and good health. Still, these are external. We commit to these things for ourselves, yes, and yet they are so intricately tied to our desire to be accepted through the eyes of our public and to our parents. The fragility of which is experienced when one part of it, or all of it, crumbles.
There is another level of commitment, and that is a commitment to Self. This is a very different thing, and it feels quite different. It requires one to quiet the noise, both internal and external. It requires one to manage the ego and conquer the mind. It requires a complete surrender to one's true desire for excellence and alignment to one's truth. It requires overcoming external forces and setting healthy boundaries with oneself and with others. It requires being okay when others don't understand you. This path can feel lonely. Yet it takes away loneliness, even when alone. But one never really is on this path. The fear and anticipation of it is real, however. It develops courage and grit. It connects us strongly to our own values, our intentions and our actions. It makes us real human BE-ings.
One "easy" way to develop this is to do a 90, 120 or 1000 day kriya or meditation. 40 days is still short enough where the end is in sight, and we don't mind so much starting over again if we "have to" miss a day. The longer times are long enough that our relationship to our commitment becomes like brushing teeth. We don't ask ourselves, "how many days in a row have I brushed my teeth, and how many more do I have?" It simply becomes a part of the daily doing. It is a personal hygiene one would not consider skipping. Well, maybe one does from time to time, but then one ends up doing it because it's gross not to. Commitment to self is spiritual hygiene. It can feel gross to skip. If you have ever had a regular sadhana practice and have had opportunity to skip it from time to time, you might understand what I am talking about. Also, this is different from exercise. It becomes inconvenient for others, and there is no external force that technically gets why you are doing it. Other than your spiritual community. Connecting with them becomes wise and necessary. That is another benefit: learning to stay connected with your spiritual tribe from which to pull inspiration and strength. Them, you don't have to fight.
So it's time for me to do another one. I am doing the Sat Kriya again. I did it once for 31 minutes for 1000 days. This time it will be for 22 minutes for 120 days. And maybe I'll keep going. There are 10 others so far that will be joining me (including my awesome business partner and friend!), and I start this on Thursday, June 9. If you would like to join us, please let us know. This link goes to both me and my business partner, Jodh. We'd love to keep you in our thoughts as we do our practice. Let us know how long. It can be as little as 3 minutes and as long as 61 minutes. Please keep in mind that however long you decide to do the kriya, you will need to add at least the same amount of time for savasana (aka corpse pose, or lying on your back). The ideal time for savasana is twice the time. An 11 minute Sat Kriya calls for 22 minutes of savasana (ideal) or 11 minutes minimum. If you are doing 3 minutes of Sat Kriya, then you can probably find time for 6 minutes of savasana. For those that are not familiar with the 40, 60, 90, 120, 1000 day commitment: if you miss a day, you start over again at Day 1.
I asked my teacher who helped me choose this for my 1000 day many years ago, "What if an emergency comes up and my child is in the hospital? or I become very ill? or get into an accident on my way home to do the kriya?"
His answer: "Then you won't know what it's like to do it for 1000 days straight."
If you are unsure of how it's done, or want to know the benefits of the Sat Kriya, please see below our Urban Practice video w/ Jodh Kaur, which explains what it is followed by Jodh doing 11 minutes of Sat Kriya. If you would like to commit to 11 minutes and practice it with her daily, click the next video that starts it to 6:01. Just remember to tune in with "Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo" three times.
Sat Kriya 11 minutes with instructions
The Age of Aquarius is bringing unexpected changes so we should develop our strength and our talent and our IQ and our intelligence and our consciousness to face it gracefully. - Yogi Bhajan
The times, it's crazy. This election process is a mammoth mirror, reflecting the confusion and turmoil that we are experiencing as a society and as individuals.
There is division and there is union. There is deception and there is transparency. There is despair and there is hope. There is fear, and there is love. And all of this is happening inside of us.
It may be important to note that what we don't like may not be as dangerous as the war onwhat we don't like. This does not mean that we accept the unacceptable. It does mean, however, that we need to take extra care not to become the unacceptable. First, recognize that the other person is you.
When I get pulled into the craziness, I find the need to pull back into my own space and ask myself, who am I? Where is this anger, or disdain, coming from? Am I healing or fueling that source? Is it making me more compassionate or self-righteous towards others?
Wanting change is more than okay. The question is, at what cost. I think of the character Annikan Skywalker from Star Wars who became the very thing that he fought against. When I judge (and I admit I am capable of judging fiercely) I know that I have touched on a hunger inside myself. I pray that I have the strength to take care of my hunger first before I let the beast ooze out of me, blind-sighting those around me.
This election pushes many to a more primitive place. The bright side is that anger and hope can awaken us to create a better process together. Where we go with this awakening, and how we relate to it, will tell the rest of the story.
Fear can lead to the dark side. Fall into it, and it leads to anger. Fall into anger, and it leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering...
...no matter who is in office. -inspired by Yoda
Global 40 Day Meditation
4th Sutra of the Aquarian Age:
Understand Through Compassion or You Will Misunderstand the Times
3HO in partnership with Spirit Voyage is leading a 40 Day Global Sadhana starting Monday, May 16 (and ending June 24) dedicated to Compassion. Even if you are getting this after the 16th, start today. Here is the meditation. Or go straight to the instructional video(left). Don't need the instructions? Play the video on the right to go straight to the meditation.
Love Yourself First
You can only give what you have inside of you. And, it’s how you can be with others without risk of getting lost.
Date Yourself First
Looking for someone to make you whole? That’s quite a responsibility to put on someone else. Can you imagine if you were encumbered with that same task?
Imagine two whole individuals coming together. No more co-dependence.
What would that sort of interdependent play look like?
Date yourself first. See how you can make yourself happy. If you can’t do that, how could you expect others to make you happy?
Find a way.
And when you finally do, expectations melt as healthy boundaries emerge. Attachments soften as commitments strengthen. And you begin to see the light in others— one that is constant. Because you’ve seen the light in you.
Below is a fantastic mantra meditation to chant to: Beautiful Am I by Aykanna.
Beautiful Am I, Bountiful Am I, Blissful Am I.... Wahe Guru!
[Repost from May 12, 2014]
Congratulations to the folks in Chicago for getting through this incredible winter– evidently, we experienced the “coldest four months ever [in Chicago]“!
Perhaps that’s why I can’t believe how warm it is today. On some level, I thought the cold was here to stay. Not really, but on some level…
Chicago winters are not the favorite amongst many; people move out of this great city often because they want something milder, kinder, and less volatile. On the flip-side, Chicago summers are super fantastic! The slight hint of summer here causes residents to want to celebrate and go carefree; to shed the layers (on many levels) and be outside as much as possible, soak up the sunlight, barbeque outside, run, play tennis, go for walks, have an outdoor party and stay away from the gym unless it’s raining, or unless the heat gets unbearable.
In fact, some of the obstacles that we believed would never disappear back in February seem to vanish just like that. Why?
Because we feel great!
The sunlight (the magnificent light outside of us) has awakened us and given us new energy. A caged & beaten lion free at last! We feel expanded, like we can breathe. We feel healthier maybe because we aren’t shivering, and maybe because we crave things other than food, beer and Netflix.
Life is a celebration. And Chicago summers are definite celebrations!
But instead of expending all of your pent up energy woo-hoo-ing outwards, I challenge you to take some of that fresh energy and newfound strength to get back on your horse named Discipline and build up that reservoir necessary to get through the other months that can feel so isolating and challenging.
With deep reserves, winter can be embraced as a time to go inward and tap into the magnificent light and strength that is within us, to guide us through our day, rather that a time to just somehow make it by the skin of our teeth. It can be a time when the Closing Sun that we sing after every kundalini yoga class works its blessings on a much higher level than they might serve otherwise.
This can be a time to forge lasting relationships with community and with Self, and to strengthen the practice. Celebrate these wonderful months AND nourish yourself to be sustainable and constant. Chicago weather is volatile, yes. But we don’t have to be.
Chicago has the "el" train, and the Metra.The Metra runs in several directions from Chicago's downtown Ogilvie station out to the greater Chicagoland areas.
On May 12, 2012, we chose the Metra Northline to Flash Mob. Or rather, Flash Med-itate.
People are still asking about it, so we thought we'd share. Check it out:
It doesn’t really show here, but it was pretty fun to witness the surprise. One girl nudges her boyfriend as she says “it’s a flash mob, take a video!” And several others came into our car, or down from the second level, with their iPads out. A couple of “strangers” joined in on the chant, and the ticket checker, caught off guard, did a 180 and left our car, only to return after he recomposed himself. At the end, he said he enjoyed it and gave us a big thumbs up.
Guru Ram Das- we invite you to ride with us any time. In fact, we pray that you always do.
This is the last of four Meditations to master the suspension of breath. This series helps to expand the pranic body. You will feel expanded, strong and your endurance increased.
The Composite Polarity teaches subtlety and command. Take your time and build this meditation up to 11 minutes. The preciseness of the mudra is important on this one.
Please note that this is an advanced meditation.
Eyes are 1/10 closed.
Elbows are relaxed at your sides.
Hands come forward at the level of the heart, palms facing down.
Bend the left wrist so that the palm of the left hand is facing forward.
Leave the palm of the right hand facing down and parallel to the ground.
Inhale slowly to the top and hold the inhale for as long as you can comfortably hold.
Then exhale slowly to the bottom and suspend the breath at the bottom of the exhale for as long as you can hold (w/o feeling like you need to gasp for air).
Then inhale slowly again and continue the cycle for up to 11 minutes.
Sat nam! This is the 3rd of 4 in the Suspension of Breath Series. If you have come this far from the beginning, congratulations! If you are just coming to this, please note that this meditation is an advanced practice. It is advised that you begin from the Calm Heart Meditation to build up to this pranayam.
This meditation is practiced from 3 to 11 minutes. Please practice this for as long as you can in full presence and build up to where you want to go.
The Meditation for a Stable Self teaches constancy and visualization. This is great for increasing one's capacity to create and complete! It continues to expand the pranic body (which helps with endurance & vitality), and the biggest challenge here is the visualization part of the meditation. Stick with it. Observe the stuff that come up as you do it, and let it all be okay.
This is the 2nd of 4 in the Suspension of Breath Meditation Series and is 3-5 minutes in length.
If you are learning about this for the first time, and you are new to pranayam, or breath exercises, we suggest that you begin with the Calm Heart Meditation, which is super yummy in what it will do for you, and starts with the most basic components of conscious breathing. The Caliber of Life Meditation builds on the Calm Heart making it easier to practice once the Calm Heart is established.
The Caliber of Life Meditation will offer you just that: Caliber.
It helps with depression and feelings of discouragement. It expands the pranic body, which means that it strengthens lung capacity, endurance and vitality. It strengthens the nervous system (our response-ability), and promotes an overall sense of inner strength and wellness. It brings you up a notch in terms of your own self judgment!
Try this for 40 days, and let us know how it goes for you.
Breathe your way calm...
This meditation will help to soothe and strengthen the nervous system, expand lung capacity, increase endurance and help you relax and find your center. Do this for 40 days, and you will find your breath slowing down, helping you to experience greater emotional balance, which translates to an overall better daily life experience.
Review the Long Deep Breath and How to Properly Suspend the Breath.
To master the suspension of the breath is to master the inflow and outflow of life itself.
Take the 40 day challenge in one or all of the following pranayam meditations, at the time of day that works for you!
**40 days to creates a habit, 90 days confirms a habit, 120 days makes it who you are, and 1000 days masters it.
Kundalini Yoga Quotes:
“I’d never felt anything like it; it was just an opening of energy and a feeling of such liberation.” -Marika Bethel, owner, Glowing House