Many people can count their daily sadhana in the hundreds and even thousands of days, but few people can quantify it by decades. That requires a dedication that goes beyond self-discipline and into the realm of personal integrity. GuruJivan Kaur is one of those people, and KRI honors her with the 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award.
“Kundalini Yoga and Meditation is my life. It has made me healthier in mind, body, and spirit on a deep level. I could not have imagined gaining this without my daily sadhana. It has allowed me to keep up without all the drama and trauma that life brings. By the grace of God and Guru my sadhana has never faltered and it is what keeps me going in grace and integrity.”
GuruJivan is the Lead Teacher Trainer of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan© in Australia and New Zealand. She has been teaching in the region for 45 years, serving Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Nepal, and many other countries as well as her adopted home in Australia. She has dedicated her life to teaching and serving as many people as possible, offering the golden chance to experience what it is to live in conscious awareness. With the wealth of her experience, she mentors others to become teacher trainers so that more and more people can experience the joy of their own true Self within.
GuruJivan met Yogi Bhajan when she attended Summer Solstice Sadhana as a young adult. He saw in this young woman an uncommon strength and the rare gift of being a true teacher, someone dearly needed in the world. That day he told her that despite the circumstances of her birth, she was not an “American” and that she was destined to serve people. She went on to study Kundalini Yoga directly under the Master and, at the young age of 20, he sent her to Hong Kong to teach. She kept up and never looked back.
“The very first time I met Yogi Bhajan at Summer Solstice, I went to see him with some questions. Boy, did I get some answers and they were nothing of what I expected! I was engaged to marry my childhood sweet heart but all he said was “not for you,” and instead introduced me to another man in Sikh Dharma whom I married. I asked him about some health issues and Yogi Bhajan gave me a “sadhana for life” and a “special diet also for life,” a discipline which I have kept to for 45 years. He also gave me my spiritual name at that time. Wahe Guru. What a day! He changed my life forever in a great way, for which I am forever thankful.”
She arrived in Asia in the early 1970s, long before yoga was a popular trendy activity. Isolated and alone she kept up, teaching classes and serving people throughout Asia. After teaching in Hong Kong, for nearly a decade she and her husband and daughter migrated to Australia, teaching classes, workshops, and Teacher Training all over the region.
Gurujivan studied Psychology and Women’s Studies at Harvard University, Radcliff College, and the University of South Australia. To serve her students, she has studied healing modalities including Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy, and Sat Nam Rasayan. She lives with her family in Victoria, Australia, and teaches throughout the South Asian Region.
KRI honors Gurujivan for her dedication to teaching and her life of service to the people of Asia. She is a rare individual born with a blessed destiny.
Starting new and important projects is familiar to Guruka Kaur as she has been a ground-breaker her entire life. She, and her soon-to-be husband, first saw Yogi Bhajan at the Earth Rebirth Festival in 1971. They listened to him speak and were touched by his vision and depth, but were not ready to accept a spiritual teacher. Little did they know that this encounter started a sequence of events that delivered them to their future destiny. Later that year they went to the Summer Solstice celebration at Paonia, Colorado, and here they finally met personally with Yogi Bhajan. That meeting changed their lives. They got married and knew that they had found a community where they could build a future.
After spending some time in ashrams in New York, they struck off to serve a 3HO “outpost.” In 1974, Guruka Kaur and her husband Guruka Singh (founder of SikhNet) became the ashram directors of a 3HO Ashram in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio was quite conservative, far from the epicenter of the cultural revolution of the 1960’s, but the Gurukas made a cozy home and built a thriving ashram. They taught classes everywhere; in prisons, women’s centers, hospitals, and wherever else people were in need. Guruka Kaur completed nursing school and began a successful career as an operating room nurse.
They served for 15 years in Ohio before Guruka Singh took a technology job in California. The work there was exciting and challenging, but they missed the sangat. In 1992, Yogi Bhajan told them to come live with him in New Mexico. Guruka Kaur worked for 3HO and the then newly formed International Kundalini Yoga Teacher’s Association (IKYTA). In 2003, she was appointed the Executive Director of IKYTA, serving Kundalini Yoga teachers around the world.
While Yogi Bhajan served the community, he firmly held the integrity and the standards of all his organizations. He was the one you called whenever you had a problem. Through her work at IKYTA, Guruka Kaur recognized the need for a comprehensive and lasting ethics statement as the number of Kundalini Yoga teachers grew.
“Yogi Bhajan would announce his phone number right in class and invite people to call him with any problems. I still remember it – 213-273-9422. But as his health declined, and he ultimately left the earth, who was there for people to call? I saw this as a big gap.”
Her vision was to create an ethics program that took care of people and gave them the touch of the Master’s vision and standards. In 2015, Guruka Kaur founded the office of Ethics & Professional Standards & Conscious Conflict Resolution (EPS). This office serves Kundalini Yoga instructors, but it also serves all of the Yogi Bhajan legacy organizations, including Sikh Dharma, 3HO, and KRI. EPS receives, investigates, and works to resolve complaints and ethical issues using a Complaint Procedure developed with Yogi Bhajan and the cooperative model of Mediation and Restorative Justice.
“We hold EPS as an integrity model, not a compliance model. We are not the police. Rather we are here to help people learn and grow into the best teacher or minister they can be.”
KRI honors Guruka Kaur for shouldering a difficult but essential job. Her work in ethics and standards improves our service to humanity and strengthens all our organizations