A Note from Nirvair
Sat Nam. Greetings from New Mexico! May has two celebrations in the United States that are very much in alignment with Yogi Bhajan’s teaching - Mother’s Day and Teacher’s Day.
I just did a search on the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings®. You can search too. It is one of my favorite pastimes.
I wanted to see what Yogi Bhajan said about his own mother. He had great respect and gratitude for his mother, Harkrishan Kaur. His mother taught him very valuable lessons that helped him throughout his amazing life.
On July 4, 1994, he said,
“First of all, today is my mother's day - she qualified herself to leave the earth after giving me birth and nurturing me. I am especially grateful to her because she nurtured me so directly that whatever wisdom I have, I owe it to her. She was very direct! There was a saying that I always remember from her. She would say, ‘The world is always in trouble. Don't look around just keep going.’ And there is another thing she would say to me, ‘Stopping is senility; as time never stops, you must not stop. You have to run fast to be ahead of it. Those who do not have speed like you have can never receive the baton from you. They can never run the race, so don't call them friends. If you rely on everybody's soul, you will never regret it. But if you depend on their humanness, you will always regret it. Earth is not your home - you are only travelling through it. If everything in life treats you the worst, that means God only want to see your best. Have courage!’
“This helped me so much in my life that I can't believe it. She always understood these words, ‘worst is best’. When I tried to sit and eat at a table when I was a bachelor and young, she always told me, ‘Sit on the ground and eat in my presence.’ When I want to know why, she told me it was because I was a fast eater and she wanted me to slow down. She would say, ‘The stomach has no teeth.’ Her spirit lives on and this son bows in gratitude.
“The kindest touch of the mother dwells in one's heart. It is pure. Her purity was power. She was so frank and so straightforward and her words were so good, it's unbelievable. She set a space and a base on which one could walk. The after-effect of her life on me is that I cannot see a woman let herself down, or see anything done to anybody which is a letdown. These are my mother’s words, ‘Don't let yourself down, don't let anyone else down, and don't participate in anybody's letdown.’”
Grow this Summer with KRI in Espanola
Yogi Bhajan gave KRI the task of creating three levels of Teacher Training. Level One - Foundations where you learn how to be an Instructor. Level Two - Transformations where you become a Practitioner. Level Three - Realization where you become a Teacher. You can read more about Teacher Training here.
If you are thinking about becoming a teacher, please come and share in the experience of being your most beautiful self in New Mexico this summer. Sign up for our Foundations Immersion Course. This is the Aquarian Teacher International Teacher Training Level One course in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®. I really look forward to this course every August. Students come from all over the world, and it is great fun for me to get to know everyone personally during the training. Visit our site for more information.
Do you meditate every day? Are you ready for a powerful and transforming experience that will deepen you daily practice? If so, join us! We are also offering the full 21 Stages of Meditation course in June this year. This course is a part of Level Three Teacher Training certification, and counts towards that requirement whenever you take it. The course will be led by original students of Yogi Bhajan; Guru Singh, Krishna Kaur, and myself. If you have not seen Guru Singh and Krishna Kaur teach, now is the time. They are wonderful! For more information, go to this link.
Have you visited our KRI Facebook page? We have had over 66,000 likes, lots of announcements, content and comments on our wall. Come join us there!
Blessing to all the Mothers and Teachers on this planet!
All Love in Divine,
Nirvair Singh Khalsa
CEO Kundalini Research Institute
Thumbtack Names Sat Kartar Singh the Best Personal Chef – 2015
Our very own head chef for the Level One Immersion Teacher’s Training course, Sat Kartar Singh, was named “Best Personal Chef” in the San Francisco area by the popular website Thumbtack. Sat Kartar is a highly creative and conscious chef with a holistic approach to cooking. At Level One Immersion, August 6th to September 2nd, Sat Kartar prepares a delicious lacto-vegetarian menu, made from fresh organic produce, and includes vegan and gluten free choices. With Sat Kartar in the kitchen, you never go hungry!
Yoga for Type 2 Diabetes: Scientific Rationale and Clinical Research Evidence
Nikhil Ramburn and Sat Bir Singh Khalsa, Ph.D.
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (DM2), also called adult-onset diabetes, is a metabolic disease that was formerly only diagnosed in midlife but is now impacting younger adults and even children. This disorder is characterized by defects in insulin production and action, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels, which can lead to serious medical consequences. Long-term complications from diabetes account for more adult cases of vision loss, end-stage kidney disease, and amputations than any other disease. In addition, diabetes significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and may be linked to cancer. DM2 is largely a lifestyle disease caused by inadequate physical activity, diets rich in highly-processed foods and refined sugars, and elevated levels of life-stress. Twenty-eight million people in the United States have DM2, and more than 80 million are considered to be at high risk of developing it, a state called prediabetes or metabolic syndrome. Worldwide, more than 350 million people are estimated to have DM2, a disease affecting many developing countries with limited resources.
The high cost and relatively low effectiveness of conventional treatment has resulted in an economic burden estimated to total $322 billion annually in the United States. Conventional treatment aims at controlling glucose levels through medications, education, and behavior change schemes. However, behavior change is notoriously hard to enact because the same environmental and social conditions that gave rise to the disease-causing behavior are still in place. Pharmaceutical treatment drawbacks include dependency, resistance, and adverse long-term effects. Consequently, there has been a concentrated search for non-pharmaceutical treatment and preventative measures. Behavioral treatments such as lifestyle interventions addressing the risk factors of obesity and sedentary activity reduce the development of diabetes by as much as 58% and decrease the need for medications. However, current conventional behavioral lifestyle interventions have limited effectiveness; this is a factor that may likely be improved with yoga.
Yoga interventions address several DM2 risk factors and bring a much-needed holistic approach to DM2 treatment. In yoga, physical exercises are linked to lifestyle and behavioral changes that include diet, relaxation, and stress management. A lesser-known aspect of yoga is the social support that a yoga class or community provides and social support is strongly linked to improved diabetes self-care and clinical outcomes. Yoga is better known for increasing fitness and physical function, thereby improving both glucose metabolism, and psychological health. At the same time, yoga promotes and supports weight loss and thereby addresses obesity which is a major cause of DM2 onset and complications. Finally, the two most beneficial and consistent outcomes of yoga are an increase in mind body awareness and stress-coping ability. This leads to a host of positive downstream effects including improvements in healthy behaviors, avoidance of unhealthy behaviors, better sleep cycles, balanced neuroendocrine status, improved metabolic function, and reduced inflammatory responses. There is convincing research that shows that yoga improves mindfulness and mind body awareness, and this may well encourage individuals to gravitate to healthy behaviors such as exercise and healthy food choices, and away from unhealthy habits such as consuming junk food. This is all due to their enhanced experience of the positive effects of these behaviors. Evidence suggests that stress may play a major role in the development of diabetes, which is why relaxation techniques found in yoga could serve as a very effective complement to other lifestyle modifications. Therefore, there is every reason to believe that yoga should be efficacious in preventing and treating DM2.
Studies evaluating yoga interventions in patients with DM2 found that yoga normalized metabolic functions which resulted in increased insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance, and improved lipid profiles. These beneficial effects of yoga on glycemic control are well documented. A recent review in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy looked at the evidence for the benefits of yoga in adults with DM2. Peer-reviewed studies published between 1970 and 2006 looked at the effects of yoga on diabetes and diabetes risk factors in a broad range of outcomes, such as insulin resistance, glucose intolerance, elevated blood pressure, and excess body weight. Each of these factors is strongly implicated in the development and progression of DM2. Despite considerable variability in design, clinical measures, and target populations, most trials reported positive changes in at least one of the outcomes related to DM2 and in clinical outcomes as well. The most recent review of research on yoga therapy for DM2 was published this year by Kim Innes of West Virginia University in the Journal of Diabetes Research. Researchers found 33 papers reporting findings from 25 controlled trials (12 of them RCTs) representing 2170 participating research subjects, and concluded that “collectively, the findings suggest that yogic practices may promote significant improvements in several indices of importance in DM2 management, including glycemic control, lipid levels, and body composition. More limited data suggest that yoga may also lower oxidative stress and blood pressure; enhance pulmonary and autonomic function, mood, sleep, and quality of life; and reduce medication use in adults with DM2.”
Improved Sense of Well-Being
In a pilot study conducted by Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa and Guru Parkash Kaur of the Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine and Humanology (founded by Yogi Bhajan in Espanola, New Mexico to apply the practices of Kundalini Yoga for therapeutic populations), they applied 3 questionnaires to evaluate the effectiveness of an 8-week Kundalini Yoga and lifestyle intervention program in diabetic patients. One of these was the Audit of Diabetes Dependent Quality of Life, which measures individuals’ perception of the impact of diabetes on their quality of life. Improvement in quality of life was measured in 9 of 11 participants. The second scale was the Profile of Mood States which consists of subscales measuring the following moods: anger, confusion, depression, fatigue, anxiety, and vigor. There was statistically significant improvement in all of the above mood states following participation in the diabetes program. The third measure was the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy - Spiritual Well-Being, which measures a faith factor as well as a meaning-and-peace factor. There was a statistically significant improvement in spiritual well-being following participation in the diabetes program as measured by this scale. The evaluation showed that most participants found the components of the program extremely helpful especially in the areas of mood, stress management, quality of life, and ability to relax. Although such findings support the efficacy of yoga as a therapeutic intervention to improve quality of life and stress management, larger randomized control trials are required to substantiate the results.
Assistance in Controlling Glucose Levels
There is now a growing number of studies with larger sample sizes showing that yoga can have a positive impact on diabetes. For example, a recent Indian study from 2015 highlights the efficacy of yoga in controlling blood glucose levels in patients with DM2. The study was conducted at the Department of Physiology and Diabetic clinic of a teaching hospital over a period of two years. The subjects were 30 middle-age male diabetic patients and an equal number of non-diabetic volunteers made up the control group. The significant decrease in blood glucose levels after yoga in both the experimental and control groups indicates the potential role of yoga as preventive and treatment strategies for DM2. In addition, there is some reason to believe that yoga may rejuvenate or regenerate beta cells of the pancreas which can normalize insulin production.
Given its positive effects on metabolic regulation, physical well-being, and mental health, yoga can be considered as a cost-effective and non-invasive adjunct therapy for treating DM2. With few exceptions, the studies document beneficial changes in yoga program participants and suggest improvements in several risk indices mentioned previously such as glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, lipid profiles, blood pressure, oxidative stress, and pulmonary function. However, several of the current studies have small sample sizes which prevent the generalization of findings. The therapeutic potential of yoga in the face of a worldwide epidemic of diabetes warrants additional research, which will require more funding from our public health institutions. This would likely prove to be a valuable investment given that conventional pharmaceutical treatment comes with a number of side effects and limited efficacy. Yoga is potentially a highly cost-effective protocol to treat and prevent DM2 since it addresses the underlying causes along with symptoms.
Sat Nam from The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings®
This month we are celebrating Mother’s Day and the grace of women everywhere! In the 11 days leading up to Mother’s Day, we are hosting our Spring Fund Drive for the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings®. In honor of this, we are celebrating something that was often a focus in Yogi Bhajan's lectures – Women! Join us during these 11 days (April 28th- May 8th) and hear the words of Yogi Bhajan as he talks about the incredible depth and power of women and mothers. On July 4th, 1976 Yogi Bhajan said:
“When God pleases, he creates the Great Mother, and when the Great Mother pleases, it creates a life that creates greatness around the earth. This is the principle of total involvement of Infinity into the finite. God cannot appear- if God appears at one place, every other place will be dead! But God does appear in the principle aspect of motherhood. That is the truth and if you don't accept that, then you have not accepted your life and the art of living.” Yogi Bhajan, July 4, 1976
as we honor the mother, a feature of human evolution
since the beginning of time. Mother, the source of
all life, is seen as symbolic of the earth itself –
the life-giving principle shrouded in mystery,
sacredness, and divinity.
For those of you who have already contributed to our Spring Fund Drive, thank you! As many of you know, even though the searchable database is incredible, the work is not done yet! The focus of The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings® continues to center on archiving, digitizing, transcribing, and editing the thousands more lectures, kriyas, and yoga sets left to us by Yogi Bhajan. The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings® is funded by donations from you, the global community of students, teachers, and practitioners. We rely on your donations to make possible our ongoing programs and to undertake important new initiatives. Donors like you have built this database resource over the past 15 years and we sincerely hope you will be able to donate again this year.
Tune-in to your inbox for our emails or if you have missed any of the emails we have sent out this past week highlighting Yogi Bhajan’s teachings around motherhood be sure to visit The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings Facebook page to catch up!
Shabd Simran Kaur Adeniji
The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings®
Kundalini Research Institute
Find us on Facebook “The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings”
The Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings® is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible under IRS code 501(c)(3).
We Are KRI – Teacher’s Day is May 3rd
Teachers play an important role in our lives,
serving to mentor, guide, and inspire. Teachers
open our eyes to possibilities that we had never
before considered and expand our horizons beyond
what we thought was possible. In America, we
honor teachers on Tuesday, May 3rd - Teacher’s
At KRI, the teacher we honor, respect, and continue to serve is Yogi Bhajan. Through his inspiration, vision, and deep understanding of the human spirit a nation of consciousness was born, and we have all inherited this great legacy. 20-years ago this summer, Yogi Bhajan taught the first “teacher’s training” course – The Master’s Touch. Since then, thousands of Instructors have been trained and certified, and the KRI Aquarian Teacher Academy today is an evolution from that very first course.
On May 3rd we honor Yogi Bhajan as our teacher. But we also honor all of you, the Instructors of Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan®, who have dedicated your time and energy to improving the lives of others, freeing people from their pain, and enriching the quality of life for tens of thousands of students. Thank you for the long hours you invest in your students and in yourself on this path of conscious. We are honored to be walking side by side with each one of you. Sat Nam.
Kundalini Yoga with the
Master DVD Series
KRI Recipe of the Month for May
Masaala—Kidney Beans Punjab
From Vegetables, With Love: Recipes and Tales from a Yogi's Kitchen (Revised and Expanded New Edition)
By Siri-Ved Kaur Khalsa
Raajma Masaala—Kidney Beans Punjab Style
Yield: about 8 servings
Punjab-style kidney beans simmered in spiced tomato gravy. Divine served with basmati rice.
2 cups dry kidney beans
6 cups water
2 medium onions, chopped in small dice
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1–2 serrano chiles, finely chopped
1½ cups diced tomatoes (optional)
6 tablespoons ghee or oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons ground coriander
¼ teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon garam masala
⅛ teaspoon asafetida powder (optional)”
⅛ teaspoon asafetida powder (optional)
3 tablespoons butter (optional)
½ cup chopped cilantro
Soak the Beans: Remove any debris from dry beans. Rinse in cold water. Place in a 2-quart container and add 6 cups of water. If on hand, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Let soak overnight, or at least 8 hours.
Cook the Beans: Drain soaked beans and discard water. Place beans in a pressure cooker and add enough water to cover beans by 1 inch. Bring to pressure and cook for 15-18 minutes until soft. (If using a regular pot, use same amount of water; cooking time will be 60-90 minutes.) Remove from heat and release pressure with the quick release method. Taste a bean. It should be soft through and through. If there is any “chew” to the beans, pressure cook for another 3-5 minutes or until done. Drain beans and reserve 2 cups of the cooking liquid.
Prep the Vegetables: Chop onions, garlic, ginger, and green chili, keeping each separate. Pulse tomatoes a few times in a food processor to coarsely chop. Have necessary spices handy by stove.
Make the Masala: Heat oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add cumin seeds and let sizzle 30 seconds until toasted. Now add chopped onions and sprinkle with salt. Stir onions, cooking over medium-high heat, about 8 minutes until they are soft and barely browned. Stir frequently to avoid getting too browned. Make a little pool in the center of onions, adding a little more ghee or oil if necessary. Add turmeric and let it sizzle few moments. Now add chopped ginger, garlic, and chili, cooking and stirring another 3–5 minutes. Add tomatoes, and then the other spices (coriander, garam masala, asafetida). Keep cooking, stirring frequently, over medium-high heat 5–10 more minutes (longer if using fresh tomatoes), until the mixture becomes unified and pulls away from the edges of the pan as stirred. Then the masala is done.
Completing the Dish: Add masala to cooked kidney beans and 2 cups reserved cooking liquid. Use a slotted spoon to mash some of the beans against the side of the pot to help thicken the sauce. Add butter and simmer for 5–10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add salt to taste and stir in chopped cilantro.
Serve with Love: Serve Raajma Masaala over steamed basmati rice (see Basic Basmati Rice on page 186) or Basmati Rice with Peas (page 187) for a simple and satisfying meal. The most blissful kidney beans you could ever imagine!
Prep Tip: Complete Veggie Prep (chop garlic, ginger, and chiles) the same time that you set the beans to soak. Refrigerate until cook time. This way all you have to do is chop the onions (they are really best chopped fresh and not refrigerated) and make the masala when beans are cooking; both will be done about the same time.