Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa
Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa was Yogi Bhajan’s very first yoga student in the United States. They met in December of 1968 when he came to Los Angeles for the first time. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1929, Shakti moved to Los Angeles with her mother and brother in 1943. She graduated as valedictorian from Hollywood High in 1947, and attended UCLA. She was married at the young age of 18, gave birth to a son at 20, and was divorced at 22. Shakti Parwha was at ground zero for the cultural upheaval of the 60s and was powerfully drawn to the spiritual life. She explored many spiritual paths and studied with various teachers. In her late 30s, Shakti spent 40 days in India (1966-67), visiting ashrams and experiencing for herself spirituality at its source.
When Shakti Parwha met Yogi Bhajan, she was surprised to learn that he was very different from the other teachers she had studied with. He was frank and direct and told her that she had been a student long enough. It was time for her to become a teacher! With her characteristic dedication, she drove him to the various classes he taught, took extensive notes (which later were printed as “Sadhana Guidelines”), and within two months she was teaching her own Kundalini Yoga class at the YMCA. When Yogi Bhajan began his lecture tours, Shakti took over his yoga classes in Los Angeles and at Claremont College in Pomona. She was Yogi Bhajan’s close and trusted advisor throughout the remained of his life.
Shakti Parwha Kaur was one of the founding members of the 3HO Foundation and today is known and loved by thousands as the “Mother of 3HO”. She tells us in her own words how this came about: “It was 1968, December, and Yogi Bhajan was cooking lunch … when he told me that he has this vision (though he pronounced it “wision”) of a “3-etch O” organization. He went on to say that I would be the mother of the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization. ‘No thanks,’ I said. ‘I’ve already raised my son. I don’t want any more responsibility, and furthermore, I don’t like organizations.’ Little did I know what the future would hold, and what an honor he was giving me!” Shakti served as the Executive Secretary for 3HO for over 30 years and helped pioneer the growth of Kundalini Yoga around the world.
Shakti Parwha planted the seeds of conscious from which so much has grown. Her books and articles have been read by countless students and teachers alike. Her first book Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power is a seminal work that has guided generations of Kundalini Yoga students. She has also written Kundalini Postures and Poetry – a beautiful collection of her poetry with very early photos of Yogi Bhajan in yoga postures; Marriage on the Spiritual Path – a compilation of her famous matrimonial advice; and Heroes, Saints, and Yogis – a yoga student’s guide to Sikh Dharma.
KRI honors Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa for her life of dedication to Yogi Bhajan and to the amazing work she has done to develop Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Words cannot express the gratitude we feel for the many, many gifts she has given to the world and the future generations of yoga students to come.
Sukhdev Kaur Khalsa
“Just to remember that God is, that is the greatest meditation” – Yogi Bhajan
Sukhdev Kaur Khalsa is the face of Kundalini Yoga in Estonia. She is the founder and continued inspiration of the National Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association (www.kundaliniyoga.ee) and Dharamsaal – School of Kundalini Yoga and Humanology in Tallinn, Estonia (www.dharamsaal.ee). Estonians had very little opportunity to study Kundalini Yoga when Sukhdev Kaur arrived from Mexico in 2004, on her own and alone. Today, there is a vibrant Kundalini Yoga community with hundreds of Kundalini Yoga teachers throughout Estonia, yoga manuals translated into Estonian, a national yoga festival, international concerts, workshops of all kinds, and a vibrant Teacher Training program.
On a day when Yogi Bhajan was teaching in Mexico City, Sukhdev was born in a nearby hospital. Although none of her relatives were practitioners of yoga, from childhood she had a clear vision of yoga as her main dedication in life. Sukhdev took her Teacher Training Level 1 in Guadalajara with Gian Kaur Khalsa. After graduating college in 2004, she moved to Estonia, knowing no one but fully equipped with her courage, faith, and adventurous spirit. She fearlessly followed her path of destiny, teaching Kundalini Yoga in English at first and later in Estonian. She has taught in a wide number of facilities, institutions, and companies since then. She continues to improve her Estonian and is able to deliver Teacher Training in Estonian with cultural awareness and inspiration.
In 2014 Sukhdev founded Dharamsaal – School of Kundalini Yoga and Humanology in Tallinn, Estonia. Dharamsaal is a lighthouse for Tallinn, offering teacher training through the KRI Aquarian Academy, Kundalini Yoga classes, specialty courses, and ashram accommodations. A core concept of the school is to offer support and education in Humanology for all stages of life but focusing mainly on motherhood and conscious family living.
Sukhdev Kaur serves her community through teaching and consultations in Kundalini Yoga, Humanology, Karam Kriya Numerology, and Sat Nam Rasayan. She is writing two books based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, one on grief and bereavement and the other on Conscious Parenting. She is also pursuing her PhD studying the creation, development, and impact of the Sangat.
One of Sukhdev’s biggest sources of inspiration and service to the Divine is her beautiful family. Her husband helps her in her life as a teacher with loving support, physically building and improving the facilities where she teaches, and caring for their two children during her long training days. It is with great humility and gratitude that she continues to do her work of sharing and teaching throughout Estonia.
KRI honors Sukhdev Kaur in 2016 for her love for service that drew her far from her home to meet her destiny and for her fearless integrity that has ensured her success.