In August, I taught a “I Am A Woman” workshop at the Russian Yoga festival. These women are so beautiful! The power of a spiritual woman cannot be underestimated. Yogi Bhajan said in 1984, “Although mankind has gone very low, to the extent that there’s nothing lower remaining, mankind has also expressed its own grace, and woman is returning to her own understanding and own Self. There’s nothing to find. There’s nothing to learn. There’s nothing to know. It is the Self within the woman that matters.”
Hari Charn's Travels and Adventures
Hello sweet world from Russia!
We just celebrated the birthday of our Teacher, Yogi Bhajan, with the Russian Kundalini Yoga Sangat. We had a beautiful sadhana of Japji and 2.5 hours of long Ek Ong Kar in the Amrit Vela. The beauty and diversity of our global community is miraculous. I bow to the Infinite One with deep gratitude.
This was my first visit to Bali where there is such peace and harmony. I am here with my grand-god-daughter Prem Kaur enjoying mornings filled with swimming, walks, playgrounds and pure joy. I am also meeting the local Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® Teachers and Trainers and feeling the warm heart of this land.
Wherever I go in the world I want to connect with the local teachers and trainers to learn about their outreach, teaching and the culture of the area. In my visit so far, I have come to understand that the Balinese have a very sacred and deep connection to their land, the elements, and their ancestors. They have a rich and humble relationship to their families, community and temples. They live their lives based on the three harmonies Tri Hita Karna to create peaceful and happy balance in life. Tri Hita Karana word is come from Sanskrit Language that has meaning to keep the harmony as well as balance between human to the divine, human-to-human and human to environment. The love and joy in the faces of the people glow with this balance.
When coming to Bali I reached out to Hari Dass Kaur of Los Angeles to connect me with the local trainers. This past year Dr. Haridass Kaur Khalsa, Ph.D. a Lead Trainer from Los Angeles led an Outreach Training for local Balinese Kundalini Yoga students to become Level One Teachers.
Before I go on let me explain Outreach Training to underserved markets. At present, there are over 700 Level One Teacher Trainings that take place around the globe and most of these are in cities where there are many students who can afford the price of Level One Teacher Training. A small percentage of these programs are Outreach Trainings to underserved areas – areas where due to the economy, or language (lack of translation) and/or geography, long distances from where Teacher Trainers live, the students have not had access to the Aquarian Teacher Level One Teacher Training Program. So, to meet this need there is a small but growing number of trainers that are reaching out and delivering the Level One Program receiving little or no trainer fees and sometimes paying for their own transportation in the spirit of delivering the teachings. KRI is actively working with a group of Lead Trainers to develop and expand the numbers of these Outreach Trainings. You may have read my recent blog post on the Outreach Training in South Africa.
Dr. Haridass Kaur, is completely dedicated to these Outreach Trainings to underserved areas. In her own words, “Why not? What have I got to lose? I can gain valuable experience teaching and I would travel to distant lands to those who are ready to commit to becoming Kundalini Yoga teachers.”
In this past year, she responded to a heartfelt request from Savitri Devi-Amarjeet Kaur to bring the KRI Level One Program to local Balinese students. Dr. Haridass Kaur was very moved by this request, “The Bali training was especially significant as it was comprised of mostly Indonesians and Balinese students who had never done Kundalini Yoga before. By the grace of Guru Ram Das and the support of an international team of trainers, we were able to provide and complete the first KRI Level One Teacher Training for the local people in Bali last week.”
I would like for you to meet Savitri Devi- Amarjeet Kaur
My name is Savitri-Amarjeet Kaur, born and raised in Bali but was living in Toronto for 25+ years, of which the last few years were spent living at Guru Ram Das ashram. I have been practicing Kundalini Yoga since 1998, and became a teacher in 2009. I had a deep longing for a sangat ever since I returned to Bali in 2015. There are Kundalini Yoga teachers in Bali but none of them are Balinese. Witnessing how the Balinese play serving roles on their own land has awakened in me the desire to have them train as Kundalini Yoga teachers to possibly change their future. But this desire was almost futile, as their monthly salary is only USD $150. Furthermore, they often are required work on their day off during peak tourist season.
“Thankfully, G-O-D and Guru heard my prayer, and sent Dr. Haridass Kaur Khalsa a Lead Trainer from Los Angeles to Bali with her team of trainers last year and the teacher trainees graduated last Saturday. I am very grateful to the sacred technology of Kundalini Yoga. I hope that the new graduates will start spreading the teachings in their community. They are very excited to take these teachings to the villages where this technology is so desperately needed but where there has been no access up until now. We are already planning another local Level One Teacher Training Program for 2018 this time in Ubud.
“Additionally, Dr. Haridass Kaur has helped to reinstate myself with the Aquarian Trainer Academy and I am working with Hari Charn Kaur of KRI to move forward. My goal is to be a Lead Trainer in Bali where I can sponsor programs and help develop teams of Balinese trainers. As I am working on moving on forward, I pray that I will continue to work closely with the new teachers. Although still in its infancy, the future of Bali sangat is bright.”
Let me introduce you to the six new Balinese Teachers: Ida Bagus Gede Buda Siwantara , I Dewa Made Yuda Wirama, I Gusti Nyoman Subudiarta, I Komang Ayu Suciani, Ni Made Eka Pratiwi, and Rani Rachmani Moediarta.Thank you to all the KRI trainers who provided their time, flights, hotels, and service to make this training happen. We welcome the first generation of Balinese and Indonesian Kundalini Yoga teachers in Bali!
The community of Teacher Trainers around the world is a crown filled with gems of devotion and sparkle. One of these gems is Nguyen Tien Nghia, known to us as Tien, who lives in Bangkok Thailand and serves throughout Asia.
I first met Tien in Bangkok at the Kundalini Yoga Festival in 2010. She is the most energetic person I have ever met! At this event she was serving the teachers and students at least 20 hours a day. I remember asking myself who is this woman? And I came to know that she is one of Sunder Singh’s first students in Asia – an inspiration and teacher to all who study Kundalini Yoga in Southeast Asia. Tien speaks seven languages and understands a total of 14. She has a personal mission to bringing the teachings of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® to the people of Thailand and Viet Nam as well.
I have had the honor to serve with her for many years on KRI Level One Teacher Training Teams in China. Tien came to Espanola in the summer of 2014 to participate in the KRI Immersion course as a TNT – Trainer in Training. when she landed at the airport she ran into Shanti Shanti Kaur who innocently asked her, “Why haven’t you applied to be a Lead Trainer yet?”
Tien thought about this and began the process to become a Lead Trainer to be able to fulfill her mission to share the teachings to those in Asia who have not had access to this technology, especially in the smaller towns and villages. She is translating the Aquarian Teacher® Manual into Thai as well. This is her story in her words.
“In the summer of 2015, thanks to the generous support of many teachers at KRI, I finally made my way to the land of Yogi Bhajan after 14 years of studying and practicing his teachings. My mentor, Sunder Singh Khalsa blessed me in his recommendation for my Lead Trainer process. He said, ‘Tien is a product of slow-cooking.’ Hari Charn Kaur had invited me to come and participate in the Immersion, so off I went.
“At Hacienda de Guru Ram Das in Espanola, on this sacred land and in the classroom where Yogi Bhajan taught ‘The Master’s Touch,’ I experienced and learned the way Yogi Bhajan taught to ‘Serve, Love, Obey, Excel.’ During this time in Espanola, working with TNTs from around the world, I built relationships with trainers from Canada, Egypt, China, Europe, and the US.
“While in Espanola I had my initial Lead Trainer interview with a panel of experienced Lead Trainers who assigned me the meditation of chanting the Shabd, Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur daily. Returning to Bangkok, Thailand, on September 1st, 2015, I began to chant this beautiful Shabd 11 minutes a day as a minimum. For the correct pronunciation of this difficult Shabd, my mantra teacher, Dev Suroop Kaur, recommended recording Love and Other Miracles by Sat Purkh Kaur, whose clear voice and timber made it easy to copy for the uninitiated ears like mine.
“The Shabd flowed beautifully into my daily life and teaching. Sat Purkh’s music resonated deliciously in my little yoga space in my home, next to my kitchen. Everything I cooked turned out yummy, didn’t matter what I used in the dishes. Outside the home, things turned out all well also- almost effortlessly.
“For me, the first Kundalini Yoga- Thailand Community Retreat in Chiangmai, October 20-24, 2016 was also part o
f the vibration effects of the daily chanting of Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur. There were children who came with their parents to the retreat, and while the adults were in class the children were taken care of separately. Here in Chaingmai, for the first time, families were doing yoga together, playing on the mats, on the lawn, and in art workshop together. The little boy in my Love and Other Miracles class was totally at easy and followed the class translated by his mom. He truly enjoyed his space and time with the rest of the group.
“The chanting of Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur continues to keep me in perspective, and in gratitude, for all there is.”
One of the most inspiring expressions of KRI Teacher Training is the service that teachers do during and after Level One Teacher Training. Wherever I travel I have the opportunity to experience the power of this technology to uplift the spirit. It always amazes and humbles me!
This lovely video of Ramsukh Kaur of Lima shows her devotion to the patients at the Community Hospital. This is where patients come who do not have the funds for their chemo therapy and other treatments. The demand is so high… many of those in need travel for hours by bus or even by foot to receive care and often sleep on the lawn between treatments.
Kundalini Yoga teachers and students from the Teacher Training program, and from a wonder organization called Mujer de Luz, offer meditations with mantra during the chemotherapy treatments and offer Kundalini Yoga Classes in the auditorium to staff and patients. When I walked in with these teachers I could feel the deep affection and bond between the staff and the teachers. The beauty is that each and every Kundalini Yoga teacher finds his or her place of service. This program was initiated years ago by Balwant Kaur of Lima, Peru who is now in the process of becoming a Teacher Trainer. Hail Guru Ram Das and heal the world.
I love traveling to Chile each year for the International Festival of Kundalini Yoga and the KRI Trainer’s Forum. January 20-26, all of South America gathers in the foothills of the Andes Mountains at the beautiful town of San Esteban. The festival is hidden in a beautiful valley surrounded by the astounding abundance of nature. To me, it feels like my home away from home.
Each year I stay out in Lampa with Jai Gopal Kaur and her beautiful family and then travel with them to Los Andes for the Yoga Festival. This Yoga Festival is result of the devotion of a team of younger Kundalini Yoga Teachers and Trainers who work all year to put on incredible this event. At the end of the Festival, we have a one day teachers meeting and then two days later meet at the Agni Yoga Center for the Chilean Trainer’s Forum.
This year at the Forum the trainers from Chile did most of the teachings and there was a powerful workshop on the Anatomy of Sound by Sat Jiwan Singh and Gurudarshan Singh. Sat Jiwan Singh, a Professional Teacher Trainer, is a physiotherapist working with the Ballet of Chile and a teacher at the University. Gurudarshan Singh, a Professional Teacher Trainer, is a musician as well as a trainer. Together they told the story of how sound effects our being even on the cellular level. All members of the Forum were totally engaged in this workshop asking questions and sharing with one another. It was a community of teachers and students impassioned with a subject and it was totally exciting.
Here I am with one of the trainers from Santiago, Bachan Singh. The trainers gave me this gift of a handmade sign “KRI Embassy.” We always joke that when I come to run the Forum, we open the KRI Embassy in Chile for two days. As I travel the world working with trainers and teachers this sign hangs in my office to remind me of the importance of serving these relationships.
The International Festival of Kundalini Yoga in Chile is a great experience of our global family. Why don’t you join us in 2018? Find the details at: http://www.festivalkundalini.com
I knew that this trip to South Africa was important but I had no idea how deeply I would be affected by the strength and heart of the people I would meet and the depth of care and service by all of the Kundalini Yoga teachers. I had no real understanding of what the students and teachers in South Africa had experienced nor of the daily sacrifices they had made. Spending time at the homes of the trainers, Pritam Hari Kaur and her husband Harbhajan Singh as well as Ravi Kaur, opened my eyes to their love and service.
Before coming to South Africa, apartheid was only something I had experienced through the news and through reading. Visiting South Africa and spending time with the teachers who are serving to heal the wounds and build unity in the democracy established post-apartheid, has changed me and opened me. As I travel to work with our teachers and trainers around the globe my inner world expands to include more truths. Being with the trainers and teachers in Capetown, Robertson, and Johannesburg helped me look at the world through new eyes. It opened my heart, showing me more of what I did not know. Let me share this with you.
One example of the service that is happening is by a teacher who is a court advocate for her day job and her service is bringing Kundalini Yoga to black youths in Capetown. For many years, even with the many outreach efforts, yoga had been perceived as “for white people only.” It was difficult at first for me to understand the true meaning of those words, but even in my rejection of the concept I did not understand the intense impact of the statement “for white people only.” During my visit I came to understand how deeply this affects all of the teachers, and especially the beautiful youth of South Africa.
I had the opportunity to visit The Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, the prison where both Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela were imprisoned. This was where I got really educated about how apartheid affected every action of daily life. For example, during apartheid even in the prisons, there were different rules and benefits for the prisoner if he or she was determined to be white, colored, or black. These were the three major classifications made by the government. “White” prisoners had twice the food and had protein and bread; “colored” prisoners had ½ the protein of the “white” prisoners; and “black” prsioners had no meat or broth and half the amount of food. On Christmas day, “white” prisoners received cake and “black” prisoners received a cup of coffee. Everything in life during apartheid was experienced through the color of your skin as assigned by the government.
As a result of 50 years of apartheid, all types of yoga was perceived as not being equally accessible to everyone and that carries a huge mountain of pain and hurt. For years the teachers and trainers have worked to change this, to reach out, and now those efforts are building in their success. The young Kundalini Yoga teachers both in Capetown and in Johannesberg are reaching new populations of students to bring this life-changing technology to the townships that are so much in need for it. Fundraising is happening, scholarships are available, and South African teachers are being trained as Teacher Trainers for the future. The future of all people.
Traveling to South Africa from New Mexico is a long, long trip… 40 hours plus of traveling. We are a huge family of teacher trainers and yogis so when I had an 11- hour layover in Frankfurt I emailed Avtar Kaur. She and her husband own Sat Nam Versand which distributes Kundalini Yoga books, manuals, CDs, as well as products for a healthy lifestyle. I had no idea what an amazing operation they run. Here I am pictured with Guruka Kaur (with whom I am traveling to South Africa) and friends Avtar Kaur and Gurubasant Singh. If you have ever traveled to the European Yoga Festival you have seen their large booth. I never realized that it was a large business with over 17 part and full time employees.
I did finally make it to Capetown, South Africa and I’m staying in Long Valley Farm with Pritam Hari Kaur and her family. Today we traveled 100 km to Barrydale to visit Atma Kaur who was a TNT in the Espanola Level One Immersio
n in 2011. A friend of Pritam Hari Kaur, Slu came with us. As it turns out Slu’s boyfriend Jeffrey is living in Rochester NY studying Kundalini Yoga with Sat Dharam Singh … who was a TNT in the 2011 Immersion as well. While we were together, we phoned Jeffrey and sent a message to Sat Dharam Singh. A digital reunion! This big world gets smaller and smaller!
Welcome to the launch of the We Are KRI! blog. For many years now, I have been traveling the globe, working with all levels of KRI teachers to train, mentor, and coordinate a sustainable network of teachers for future generations. It is exciting work, and those of you who know me, know that I love it. I can’t believe how many lovely, talented, and dedicated teachers make up KRI. I hold each one dearly in my heart. But now, I want to share it with you, too! So, stay tuned for my news and enjoy the travel with me!
Most of my traveling is with the Trainer Development Programs offered by KRI to support our certified instructors. This can be Global Trainer Forums, individual mentoring, peer coaching, or just sharing in the joys and challenges of walking this great path. Trainers from all levels of the academy are required to attend a Trainer Forum at least once every two years as an important step in the life-long journey of developing the skills and caliber of a trainer in the Aquarian Teacher Program. The Trainer Forum is for you, the trainer, and keeps you up to date with the growth and development of of the KRI Aquarian Trainer Academy. It is an inspiring opportunity to refresh your skills, build relationships with other trainers, participate in important discussions regarding the culture and policies of the Academy, and meditate together in the company of peers.
But this doesn’t have to be all about me. I would love to hear from you and see what great things you are doing. Drop me a note, send me a picture, and I will share it here on the blog.
What is KRI? Well the answer to that is simple – We Are KRI!