Kundalini Research Institute’s 2020 Honors
Each year the KRI Board of Directors select one or more people to honor for their commitment, their integrity, and their service. The KRI Outstanding Achievement Award is a peer acknowledgment that says, “Thank you for your hard work and your service to humanity. We are so grateful to be walking this Path with you!”
This year, KRI has selected individuals who have dedicated their lives to the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. The 2020 Honorees are people who have tirelessly served, some spanning decades. Bring Kundalini Yoga to the world, these exceptional people keep-up every day and impact hundreds of lives.
KRI is honored to present the 2020 KRI Outstanding Achievement Award to Tarn Taran Singh and Kaur Khalsa, Satsimran Kaur, and Jai Gopal Kaur Khalsa. Read more about these amazing people below.
“His name is Tarn Taran Singh… Tarn Taran means who swims across and takes everybody else across, it’s a lot of heavy load, lot of heavy load … He went to Hamburg and started a center and restaurant and a very beautiful 3HO center and a beautiful Sikh Dharma center…going there with nothing …but I have a just comfortable feeling because he is son of a minister. So it is in his genes to preach the gospel so pretty fundamental exploitation of a trade which runs in his family… [He] is a very special boy and he is very meek, nice, beautiful. And to keep him very content and calm, God has given him a very pretty and good-looking, intelligent kind of wife so that he may not get freaked out.” Yogi Bhajan–April 19, 1982 (On the occasion of Tarn Taran Singh’s birthday)
Tarn Taran Kaur and I are products of our post-war boomer generation. A Boy Scout and Girl Scout – a high school football player and Home Economics major whose minds were opened up to the wider world and the inequalities of our society in college – as highlighted in the civil rights movement and the horror of the Vietnam war. We were both active in the anti-war and civil rights movements during our college years.
We met in the back hills of California in 1971, after evolving from political radicalism to the cultural revolution of the Flower Children and were traveling together to live on the beaches of Mexico when we drove by Mahan Deva Ashram in Tucson. We asked a friend, “Who are those people?” What came next was a full-moon feast, a lecture by Yogi Bhajan, a picture of Guru Nanak falling from the wall onto Tarn Taran Kaur’s head, and the Ashram Leader asking her “What are you doing with your life?” This led us down the irresistible path of moving into the ashram.
Yogi Bhajan gave us our name, which means, “one who swims across the world-ocean and inspires others to swim.” Then he asked us to swim (well actually fly) across the ocean and support the Sat Kartar’s who had just opened the first continental European ashram in Amsterdam. Two years later we were painting the top floor of an old factory in Hamburg white. We arrived with $500, a two-year-old daughter, no visa, and not a word of German… but we had a mission to start an ashram and bring the Teachings of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® to Germany and the German people, who were still recovering and rediscovering themselves after the trauma of World War II.
From the first day we had people living with us in the ashram. Devi Dyal Kaur, who now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, was the first to knock at our door saying, “I’ve been waiting for you.” At the beginning, it was hand to mouth – teaching yoga classes and baking cakes for a bio laden (health food store). Then, Tarn Taran Kaur got the idea to cut and mix the Yogi Tea spices like we always served at the ashram, and the Yogi Tea company was born. 3HO Deutschland was founded as well as Golden Temple GmbH, which eventually became the Yogi Tea Company.
Just as things were starting to stabilize, the ashram burnt down! We went looking for a new place to live but found a restaurant instead. Soon afterwards one of our customers offered us a big new apartment, very near the restaurant in a very nice part of town. We were there many years, eventually having over 30 ashram members in three apartments, plus another apartment for our offices and a yoga center. In those years, I started the first German Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainer Program and Tarn Taran Kaur designed and developed Conscious Pregnancy Teacher Training. I became 3HO Regional Director and the European Yoga Festival was started.
In the early 1990’s, Yogi Bhajan began to consolidate the European and US Yogi Tea businesses. He sent me off to Eugene, Oregon to learn the operational aspects of production in our natural food’s factory there. Tarn Taran Kaur began to work for the international marketing team and our work brought us to several cities in the USA and Europe. Eventually I was back in Europe as the Yogi Tea Operations Manager in Amsterdam and Tarn Taran Kaur was the CEO of KRI® and 3HO International, based in Espanola. All the while, we both kept teaching and I was working with KRI as the chairperson of TTEC to complete the Level One Teacher Training Program and get it launched internationally.
After Yogi Bhajan passed, I was asked to move to Espanola and work directly for KRI. In 2006, I became the Executive Director of the Aquarian Teacher Training Program. In the next ten years, we were able to spread Level One to 54 countries with over 300 programs a year. We completed Level Two and Level Three Teacher Training Programs and established the Aquarian Trainer Academy, watching it grow from 75 to 750 trainers. Meanwhile Tarn Taran Kaur “retired” from her work with 3HO and began leading Level One programs in Mexico and mentoring a training team there. In 2013, she began the same process in China, where she has mentored one of the first Chinese Lead-Trainers and is actively mentoring over 20 Trainers-in-Training in China, Taiwan, Philippines, and Bali. She continues to teach Conscious Pregnancy and is developing a 10-part Women’s Leadership Program. I retired from KRI in 2017 and walked out of my last TTEC onto an airplane and have been traveling the world ever since visiting friends and teaching in Europe, Australia, and Asia. Whenever I can, I stop in Rome to continue to record new CD’s.
It’s been a wild and wonderful journey! We feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to serve in so many ways. We are forever grateful for our daughter, a KRI Lead Trainer in her own right, and our two remarkable grandsons. We try to spend our summer months at our beautiful home in Espanola. There is nothing better than to be with friends who come from around the world and sit in Tarn Taran Kaur’s garden in New Mexico and drink Chinese tea.
We have accomplished many things in our lives, individually and as a couple. Though we are two people with very different personalities and family backgrounds, our great strength is our common mission and devotion to the teachings. Sometimes we clash, but even in that clash there is a creative spark. Our successes come from a deep love and respect for one another and a relationship where one compliments and supplements the other. As Tarn Taran Kaur likes to say, “One plus one equals 11.”
I was always on a spiritual quest. I never had any formal religious or spiritual training, but was always curious about the transcendental experiences I had. In college, I first studied psychology and then religion but found no answers in either at that time. In my 20’s, I was introduced to Eastern religions and practices and started meditating, chanting and doing yoga and had less of a mental yearning but instead had visceral experiences.
Living in Los Angeles, I was exposed to many spiritual paths by teachers themselves or their students. I started meeting teachers who had come from India, or through students who studied with them and brought their teachings to Los Angeles.
I met Yogi Bhajan in 1970. I had never heard of Kundalini Yoga, just had read some books about the kundalini awakening, but after my first class with Yogi Bhajan, together with the experience of the yoga and meditation I had been doing, I felt like he had the answers to the questions I never knew I had. He was taking a group to India at the end of that year and he suggested I join the 84 people for the three-month adventure, which I did.
Shortly after coming back from India I started working for 3HO Foundation as the Director of Public Relations in Los Angeles. This allowed me to continue to study directly with Yogi Bhajan and focus on my practice and be with a supportive community of people doing the same thing.
I became Yogi Bhajan’s tour and appointment secretary. I arranged his travel and was one of the people accompanying him on many of his trips where he taught meditation and White Tantric Yoga® around the world. I was the archivist who physically taped many of the original lectures on a little ‘walkman’ and who recorded the expansion of Yogi Bhajan’s travels and impact worldwide by taking photographs.
With his blessings I initiated the transcription project of Yogi Bhajan’s lectures, which has resulted in the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings® under Kundalini Research Institute. I continue to consult with KRI on the archives.
After many years of serving of the KRI board, I was made an Emeritus Board member of KRI. I am still part of the team that holds the vision for the Library of Teachings and continues to work to insure that all of the lectures and photographs can be used to serve the values of Yogi Bhajan.
Over the years, I also held many positions on the boards of various non-profit organizations that are based on the teachings of Yogi Bhajan and also on the board of Yogi Tea. I am a Kundalini Yoga teacher and a Life Coach. My personal interest has always been working directly and serving students.
Since 1987, when Yogi Bhajan entrusted me to work with him to create the White Tantric Yoga videos, I have been managing the administration of White Tantric Yoga workshops as well as traveling and facilitating the workshops world-wide. I currently hold the position of CEO of Humanology and Health Science, Inc. the non-profit corporation that manages White Tantric Yoga.
JAI GOPAL KAUR
Jai Gopal is the International Kudalini Yoga Teachers Association (IKYTA) National Associations Coordinator. She is a KRI Level 1 and 2 Certified teacher and a lifelong student of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®.
She has totally dedicated her life to sharing the teachings since 1998, specializing in women and community building. For the past 10 years, she has served on the Chilean Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association. Her love of sangat on all levels has brought her to IKYTA where she supports established National Kundalini Yoga communities and growing new ones in countries around the world. It is her prayer to serve and inspire unity among teachers globally, promoting collaboration and the experience of IKYTA, the one-body of the Teacher. She is a wife, mother and psychologist who lives in Santiago, Chile.
- Ram Singh Guetaba
- Conchita Tarrel, Sat Kaur
- Aleheri Rachid, Pavanjit Singh
- Assiteh Sevor Kokou
- Samuel Sogah
- A. Ignace, Amrit Singh
- Toffa Semanou
- Christine Alabi
- Collette Fassier
- Baltej-Singh N’Dete
- Bekety Antony
- Yves-Laurent, Gobinde Singh
- Teko Kanle Semanou, Surrinder Kaur
KRI Honors Jugat Guru Singh Khalsa – Setting the Pace in India Jugat Guru Singh Khalsa is the Principal of Miri Piri Academy (MPA) in Amritsar, India as well as a KRI Lead Trainer in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® teacher training in India. From his early childhood, he was guided by Yogi Bhajan and has dedicated his life to serving the mission of Yogi Bhajan around the world. As the Principal of MPA, he is committed to help shaping the next generation into leaders, healers, and teachers of the Aquarian Age. MPA is an international school located in Amritsar, founded by Yogi Bhajan in 1997. With 20 or more countries and all the major religions of the world represented in the student body, it is a unique and exciting institution. With the guidance of Yogi Bhajan, Jugat Guru Singh instituted KRI Level One Teaching Training as part of the school curriculum for all 11th graders. Those who successfully complete the training go on to Level Two as part of their school program in the 12th grade. Not only do MPA graduates leave high school with a great education, they enter the next stage of their life as KRI certified Kundalini Yoga Teachers. Jugat Guru Singh has studied music, mantra, and Naad under several masters in India for more than 15 years. As a member of Chardi Kala Jetha, he travels the world teaching and performing classical Gurbani Kirtan, the sacred music of the Sikhs. Chardi Kala Jetha are the only western-born musicians playing in the Golden Temple and are universally acknowledged for their gifted and inspired music. As an accomplished teacher of the science of mantra, Jugat Guru Singh has led profound meditative Japa intensives around the world, including India, Russia, China, Mexico, Malaysia, Europe, and the United States. He studies with and is mentored by Guru Dev Singh, master of Sat Nam Rasayan. Jugat Guru Singh’s ability to hold the group energy through challenging and lengthy repetitions of mantra has earned him the respect of his teachers, peers, and students. KRI recognizes and appreciates the service and dedication of Jugat Guru Singh in bringing the teachings of Yogi Bhajan® to the youth of the world.
There are few people who have had more impact shaping the Yogi Bhajan legacy organizations than Sat Kirpal Kaur Khalsa. She was with Yogi Bhajan from the very beginning and, unlike many of us, she has the incredible gift of organizational vision that she applied to everything she did. Sat Kirpal Kaur fearlessly jumped into the projects Yogi Bhajan gave her and, from nothing, created enduring structures, service, and relationships.
Sat Kirpal moved to Berkeley in 1965 where she met her husband, Dr. Sat Kirpal Singh. She earned her PhD in Developmental and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Berkeley in 1970. However, there was a lot more going in Berkeley in the late 60’s than biology! Berkeley was home to the beat movement, the evolving counterculture, civil rights, and the epicenter of the Vietnam War protests. The Sat Kirpals were strongly impacted by the profound energy of the times.
It was in Berkeley, in the spring of 1969, that the Sat Kirpals began practicing Kundalini Yoga. Later that summer they met Yogi Bhajan for the first time, beginning a life-long journey of commitment and self-discovery. Yogi Bhajan married them in the spring of 1970 after which they moved to Los Angeles for his daily classes. She attended the first White Tantric Yoga course ever taught - which lasted for ten days! Throughout her life, Sat Kirpal Kaur has continued to attend White Tantric Yoga courses, more than 200 in total.
In 1970, Sat Kirpal Kaur moved with her husband to Eugene, Oregon and they founded the Guru Ram Das Ashram. She initially did research at the University of Oregon and he established a very strong Kundalini Yoga program at the University. They co-founded the Golden Temple Bakery with other people from the ashram, which eventually evolved into Yogi Tea and Yogi Products.
Sat Kirpal Kaur helped build Khalsa Women’s Training Camp (KWTC) in 1976. She was dedicated to preserving the lectures of Yogi Bhajan and making them available to all people. Long before there was the internet, or even computers, Sat Kirpal Kaur initiated the transcription and publication of Yogi Bhajan’s lectures at KWTC. She continued this seva for 15 years, documenting those amazing summers.
In 1981, Sat Kirpal Kaur established Sikh Dharma Foreign Education (later becoming Sikh Dharma Education International) to serve parents interested in educating their children in India. For 8 years she and her team built an educational and spiritual program for western children in India, creating the basis for what has become Miri Piri Academy in Amritsar.
She was part of the International Khalsa Council in the early years, serving as Chief Whip and then as Secretary General and CEO of Sikh Dharma. Her organizational skills helped establish the Khalsa Council as a leadership body for Sikh Dharma International throughout the world. She retired in 2009, but the systems she established continue to endure.
In the early 1990s, Sat Kirpal Kaur joined KRI and established a success publishing division. She compiled, edited, and assisted in the creation of more than 25 books and manuals for KRI and Sikh Dharma that are still published today. She formalized the KRI review process, standardizing the KRI Seal of Approval.
Although formally retired, Sat Kirpal Kaur remains involved with the sangat in many ways. Sat Kirpal Kaur draws and paints, enjoys nature hikes, kirtan, traveling, and time with others. She is currently developing a book on Yogi Bhajan’s teachings about the multiple facets, relationships, and roles of women to be published by KRI in 2018.
Sat Kirpal Singh is a retired Biology professor from Northern New Mexico College (Espanola). Their daughter, Sarab Shakti Kaur, currently works in the legacy non-profits and their grandson is Hargobind Hari Singh, known for his mantra music creations.
Nguyen Tien Nghia
Tien has been drawn to the spiritual path of yoga for as long as she can remember. Although she calls Bangkok home, her spiritual journey has taken her around the world. Born in Vietnam, Tien first experienced yoga in Pakistan. Her search has drawn her to Europe, Africa, America, and through-out Asia, setting her roots down roots in Thailand.
Tien became certified as a Level One Instructor in 2003 and is currently advancing towards her Level Three certification. She has taught in 25 Level One programs across the Asia-Pacific Region including Australia, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, and of course mainly in her home country of Thailand.
In Asia, Tien is a beacon of light for those searching for a path of higher consciousness. She has been part of the core organizing team in KY Asia (together with other trainers and under the guidance of her mentor, Sunder Singh Khalsa) managing yoga courses, festivals, and teacher training programs. Tien has made a significant contribution to Kundalini Yoga by teaching in the academic setting. In Thailand, she has presented programs at the Bangkok Patana British International School, the Chiva Som Academy, and Chulalongkorn University. Her boundless energy has served so many people with love including women, children, families, and those with physical and mental challenges.
Coming from an educational background, for Tien, teaching is a sacred privilege and not a duty. She teaches Kundalini Yoga to serve people in their search of fulfillment and growth, in their own speed, space, and time. Tien supervises and supports local (Thai) teachers in their personal development and service to their own communities, rural and urban alike, using the teachings and technology of Kundalini Yoga to uplift and heal.
KRI honors Nguyen Tien Nghia for her service to the people of Asia, spreading the healing technology of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®.
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.
Guruka Kaur Khalsa Guruka Kaur Khalsa is the Executive Director of the Office of Ethics & Professional Standards & Conscious Conflict Resolution (EPS) as well as the founder of this impactful organization. Guruka Kaur pioneered the EPS office to serve all of Yogi Bhajan’s nonprofit organizations, ensuring that all the legacy organizations live up to the standards set by their founder. For her commitment to teacher integrity, KRI honors her with the 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award.
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
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.
Pritam Hari Kaur is a Global Woman whose energy “fills the whole room” as Yogi Bhajan told her. She encountered Kundalini Yoga in 1981 in Hamburg, Germany, and spent eight years living in the coziness of the ashram community, which truly was a home-coming to her after a somewhat itinerant childhood spent in Indonesia and Spain due to her father’s international work for a German company.
Tarn Taran Singh and Kaur were her beloved first teachers and she cherishes memories of Yogi Bhajan’s frequent visits to the Hamburg ashram, which served as the regional center. “Yogi Bhajan always saw so much goodness in us,” recalls Pritam Hari. She served as regional secretary and translated Yogi Bhajan’s teachings into German. In turn, Pritam Hari made several trips during those first precious years to New Mexico, where she spent summers doing seva at Yogi Bhajan’s home.
In 1987, Yogi Bhajan engaged Pritam Hari to Har Bhajan Singh from South Africa and so sent her to a faraway ‘frontier’. They started a whole foods grocery store, Fruits & Roots, that Yogi Bhajan fondly called ”'the cleanest, prettiest little place” he had ever seen. The couple ran the store for 25 years and were honored to serve, through their store, some of the most vibrant and conscious people in the midst of the complex, multi-layered and hurting atmosphere of South Africa, back in the days. All the while leading on-going yoga classes, sadhanas, cooking classes, events and workshops. They sold the store in 2009, it lives on as a legend—an oasis offering nourishment and wholesomeness. Their son Hari Bhajan, who graduated from Miri Piri Academy in 2006, continues the store's legacy as a manufacturing wholefoods company which makes tofu (www.earthproducts.co.za).
In 1999, after consulting with Yogi Bhajan, Pritam Hari began training teachers in South Africa. She asked Yogi Bhajan, “'Sir, should I start Teacher Training?” to which Yogi Bhajan enthusiastically replied, “Of course, you are the teacher of us all!" Along with her husband and Atma O'Meara, a team emerged, and they have held on-going trainings in South Africa for more than a decade. She is the Lead Trainer for South Africa with the Aquarian Trainer Academy.
The couple now develops an eco-sustainable lifestyle in a community farm in the Western Cape (www.longvalleyfarm.co.za), owned as a trust, and is currently holding an inaugural training there. She was the lead trainer for the seva outreach training in Burundi last year. Pritam Hari Kaur is looking forward to a training in Gambia and returning to Ghana and Togo (www.kundaliniyoga.co.za). Pritam Hari created a picture book in yoga, the Kundalini Yoga Fan, available through www.spiritvoyage.com and www.satnam.de. She is an intuitive numerologist and EFT Tapping practitioner. She looks forward to having more time on the farm to translate the Siri Guru Granth Sahib into German, a project Yogi Bhajan blessed her with.
The words Yogi Bhajan left her with that she treasures most: “'Today, I am speaking to you like when my teacher, after twelve years, told me, ‘You are the master.’ I am telling you, ‘You are a yogi by nature and constitution. You have learned to move the prana in your system to override any obstacle.’”
Words that Pritam Hari Kaur personally lives by: “I never intentionally drop the ball... Your trust is sacred with me...I shall serve you the way I have seen our teacher serve us... In keeping up, God comes through for you and me.. Let us celebrate goodness and cherish resources.. Yoga is to remain present with what is, no matter how it is.”
KRI honors Pritam Hari Kaur for her outstanding dedication to teach and serve in a dynamic way that positively impacts her surroundings. We are grateful for the many ways she is a beacon of perseverance and serves and uplifts through the path of Kundalini Yoga and the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan.
Viveka Pasquier – Har Dyal Kaur
Har Dyal Kaur is one of the founders of the Stockholm Kundalini Yoga Center and also administrates the Kundalini Yoga Institute in Sweden. She became a Certified Instructor of Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan® in 1998, and has since had wide-ranging experiences teaching yoga and meditation. Currently, Har Dyal administrates and oversees teacher trainings in Stockholm and is a Lead Teacher Trainer with the Aquarian Trainer Academy and member of IKYTA. She has also studied the healing technique Sat Nam Rasayan with The International School of Sat Nam Rasayan.
Har Dyal teaches yoga classes for pregnant women and new mothers, and ‘Rehab Yoga’ groups at the Stockholm Kundalini Yoga Center. Through the years, she has come to specialize in women's different needs and stages in life, which led to a series of lectures, workshops and courses on the subject. Since 2006, AstraZeneca, the British multinational pharmaceutical and biologics company, has engaged Har Dyal for special rehab yoga for women.
KRI honors Har Dyal Kaur in 2015 for her dedication to teaching with joy to all who wish to learn.
Maja Tellegård – Harpal Kaur
Harpal Kaur teaches Kundalini Yoga in Umeå, a town in northern Sweden, and is a Lead Trainer with the Aquarian Trainer Academy and member of IKYTA. She trains teachers in Stockholm and Umeå in Sweden and in Oslo, Norway.
Harpal Kaur brings an extensive 15-year background as an Occupational Therapist to her practice of Kundalini Yoga and her understanding of the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. She has been a Certified Instructor in Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan® for nearly 17 years. Harpal also became a certified Conscious Pregnancy teacher in 2005. Additionally, she has a solid background as Ayurvedic health consultant. At the Norrland Kundalini Yoga Center in Umeå, Harpal holds classes in many different subjects including pregnancy yoga, mom and baby yoga, and ‘Yoga Rehab’ that integrates yoga and Ayurveda with rehabilitation.
The Kundalini Research Institute has chosen to honor Harpal Kaur for her dedication to her own professional development as a Trainer in Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan® and the development of new teachers in Sweden and Norway.
Shiv Charan Singh Khalsa – UK and PortugalKRI honors Singh Sahib Shiv Charan Singh Khalsa for his exemplary life of service and impartial teaching of Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma.
A native of Scotland, he met Yogi Bhajan for the first time in Amsterdam in 1980 where he worked at the Golden Temple restaurant. In 1982, during his first conversation with Yogi Bhajan, he received his spiritual name and was told that he is a teacher, which surprised Shiv Charan at the time since he had only attended two Kundalini Yoga classes. After this he spent some time living and studying at the ashram in Copenhagen and working at the Golden Temple restaurant there. Returning to the UK in 1984 he became involved in work with the Sikh community in Birmingham, and in 1987 he married and moved to London where he started a family and completed a degree in Humanities.
Eventually, in 2000, he and his wife, Satya, opened the Kriya Centre in London and began offering Level 1 Teacher Training. Four years later they were offering Level 2 Teacher Training, and also started the Guru Ram Das Project (www.grdp.co.uk), which brings the teachings of Kundalini Yoga to a wide range of individuals with special needs. In 2008 the dynamic couple moved to Portugal where they opened the Quinta do Rajo ashram and retreat space (www.quinta-do-rajo.pt) where they offer Level 1 and 2 Teacher Training, The 21 Stages of Meditation, and other courses and workshops. Following the success of the Guru Ram Das Project in London, the couple also recently started a similar charitable project in Portugal called Association Guru Ram Das.
The Kundalini Research Institute recognizes and honors SS Shiv Charan Singh Khalsa for his dedicated and inspirational service, his capacity and caliber to penetrate the hearts of his students, and his love of the Shabd Guru, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and the teachings of Yogi Bhajan that are so evident in his classes and counseling sessions.
Nam Nidhan Kaur Khalsa – Chile
KRI recognizes Sardani Sahiba Nam Nidhan Kaur Khalsa for her commitment, steadfastness and devotion as a dedicated Teacher and beacon of healing and light in her home country of Chile and several other countries since she began practicing Kundalini Yoga in 1993. Just a short time after completing Teacher Training in 1995 she began making periodic visits to Española, New Mexico to study under Yogi Bhajan. Moving to Santiago in 1997, where she still resides today, she founded the Narayan School, which has inspired the healing and personal growth of thousands of students.
Continuing her journey as a teacher, Nam Nidhan completed studies to become a Teacher Trainer in 2002 and began bringing Kundalini Yoga for the first time beyond her home country and into the Andean countries of Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia. She has fostered a solid base of teachers in each of these countries who are bringing the science of Kundalini Yoga to a wide range of public and private institutions. She has continued to travel and teach as a Lead Trainer of the KRI Aquarian Trainer Academy across all of South America, El Salvador, Mexico, the United States, Spain, India and China.
Notably, Nam Nidhan is founder of a yoga program for women called Mujer de Luz. Since 1998 she has traveled the world offering this transformational program to women, inspiring them to embrace their dignity, self-respect and grace. www.mujerdeluz.org
The Kundalini Research Institute is proud to honor SS Nam Nidhan Kaur Khalsa for her accomplishments as a yogini and a teacher, her devotion to the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, and her dedication to integrating Kundalini Yoga into social structures and institutions.
The Kundalini Research Institute is pleased to announce the recipients of our 2013 Outstanding Achievement Awards for their contributions to the legacy of The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan: Guru Dev Singh Khalsa and Guru Raj Kaur Khalsa
Singh Sahib Gurudev Singh Khalsa
Singh Sahib Gurudev Singh Khalsa has served as a fearless ambassador, for both KRI and The Aquarian Teacher: Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training as taught by Yogi Bhajan, in a time of turbulence and uncertainty for our community. KRI is grateful for his steadiness and dedication; he serves as a model for how to overcome conflict and reach consensus. Since joining the Teacher Training Executive Council, he has served its mission with grace and grit over the past few years, expanding teacher training, reaching out to other trainers and elevating the reputation of KRI and Teaching Training around the world.
Gurudev Singh began studying Kundalini Yoga in 1977 under the guidance of Yogi Bhajan in Mexico City. He moved to Los Angeles to study near the Master in 1978 and completed a 40-day Teacher Training course in San Diego that same year. Yogiji inspired him to study, become a teacher, entrepreneur, husband and father. He studied psychology in college and has used his life-long experience as a yogi, Minister of Sikh Dharma and mentor to help others deepen their spiritual practice. Gurudev Singh is a Level 1 and Level 2 Lead Teacher Trainer teaching actively in North, Central and South America.
Mukhia Sardarni Sahib Guru Raj Kaur Khalsa
Mukhia Sardarni Sahib Guru Raj Kaur Khalsa has served the mission of the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan, tirelessly for many, many years. KRI honors her Keep up! spirit and her dedication to the Aquarian Trainer Academy and The Aquarian Teacher: Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training, Levels One, Two and Three. Instrumental in developing the eponymous text for Level One, The Aquarian Teacher, she has continued to serve as a founding member of KRI's Teacher Training Executive Council (TTEC), serving to bring Teacher Training around the world and to fulfill the mission of a three-level training—Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate—as described by the Master, Yogi Bhajan. She has also been instrumental in reaching out to the Punjabi community of Sikhs here in the West and around the world. An example of radiance and compassion, she has served as a living ambassador of the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan for more than 40 years.
Guru Raj Kaur is a Level One and Level Two Trainer. She has been a valued member of the KRI Teacher Training Executive Council since its inception, and chairperson of the Certification Committee for the Aquarian Trainer Academy. She leads the Vancouver Canada annual Aquarian Teacher Level One (Oct-May, now in its 22nd year), and annual Level Two programs in Vancouver. She travels internationally as a guest Trainer in many programs including in Poland, Brazil, Chicago, Ottawa, Budapest, Portland, and has Level One Outreach Programs in Okanagan B.C., and Vancouver Island.
Dr. Krishna Kaur Khalsa The KRI Board honors Dr. Krishna Kaur Khalsa for her outstanding service to the Aquarian Trainer Academy and her dedication to the legacy of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan(r).
Dr. Krishna Khalsa has practiced and taught Kundalini Yoga and Meditation for over 30 years. She studied with the Master of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan and became a certified KRI teacher trainer in 1996. Dr. Krishna has enjoyed teaching Kundalini Yoga to hundreds of students in a variety of venues, including work sites, health centers, Boards of Education, and international 3HO Yoga Centers. For the past 15 years, Krishna and her husband, Hari Darshan Singh specialized in training teachers of Kundalini Yoga. As certified Lead trainers, they delivered both Level I and Level II K.R.I. Kundalini Yoga Teachers’ Training programs in Toronto, Canada, Sacramento, CA and Reno, NV.
Since 2007, Krishna has voluntarily led the Professional Development team at KRI that helped to develop Trainer standards and quality assurance expectations. This team’s accomplishments include:
Development of a trainer competency model and scaled evaluationDr. Krishna Khalsa is a psychologist and a learning and development specialist. Previously she was the Manager of Training for the Markham Ontario and for 15 years she worked as an employee counselor and senior HR consultant for the City of Toronto in Canada. She currently lives in California where she is the Area Head for Corporate Learning and Development, at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, managing a staff of six trainers.
• Designation of competencies by trainer role level and stages of trainer development
• Clarification of roles and responsibilities
• Definition of mentor qualities and creation of a mentoring lead agreement
• Educational online and in-person forums
Pritam Pal Singh Khalsa (Latin America)
Pritam Pal Singh Khalsa has been a student of Yogi Bhajan’s since the early 70s. Originally from Chile, he has served the Latin American community of students, teachers and trainers for many years.
In 1995 he and his wife Ardas Kaur established an ashram in Mexico City and later in Cuernavaca, between 1998 and 2005. His work with 3HO, IKYTA and KRI Aquarian Trainer Academy inspired him to open new Teacher Training programs as a Lead Trainer in Mexico and Argentina since 1998, Chile and Paraguay since 2000, and Uruguay since 2002; counting in total more than a thousand dedicated Kundalini Yoga teachers formed since. ...and growing faster every year.
He also collaborated in training trainers and taught in their programs as well: Nam Nidhan Kaur that later expanded in Chile and opened Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and recently Venezuela; Amrit Singh, who expanded Teacher Training throughout Chile. I am currently mentoring the new generation of trainers in several latin countries, trainers which are doing so much service with so much love and devotion!
From 1997 on, I became a natural link between KRI and IKYTA and the local organizations in Latin America, was named The Communicator. I supported their growth and transferred information and policies until Trainers Forums and TT Aquarian Academy formalized itself in the past 5 years. Part of that support was the KRI launch of the new Level II program in Cordoba, Argentina with whose resources, all Level II materials were translated into Spanish.
From 1995 on, with Ardas Kaur, Pritam Pal Singh also developed Tecnologías Sagradas, a company devoted to creating products to further help the expansion of The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan in Latin America. Starting with cassettes and later CDs from 3HO and Sikh Dharma music with translated mantras as tools for students and followed by the Spanish editions of KRI approved books and manuals, and later on subtitled DVD lectures by Yogi Bhajan.
He lives in gratitude to Yogiji, to the Dharma and to the Sangat.
Read more about Pritam Pal Singh
Snatam Kaur Khalsa (USA) The Kundalini Research Institute honors Snatam Kaur with our 2011 Outstanding Service Award. Snatam represents what our global community is all about, reaching across borders and cultures to embrace our common purpose—peace and tranquility in the Aquarian Age. One of the most popular New Age artists of our time, selling over 50,000 albums a year, Snatam Kaur has become an international favorite with fans across the globe.
Snatam Kaur has an amazing ability to transform traditional chants into a contemporary sound that appeals to the modern ear yet awakens an ancient yearning in the soul. She brings the sacred chants of Kundalini Yoga and the Siri Guru Granth Sahib to audiences all around the world. Sacred Sounds Radio calls her music “spiritually uplifting and deeply soul cleansing.” Ram Dass, celebrated author of Be Here Now, says that “in Snatam’s voice...there is purity, clarity, and love.” One fan spoke for all when he said, “We come to Snatam’s concerts to experience the beautiful atmosphere her voice creates, to heal and grow.”
Snatam Kaur is an ambassador for 3HO (a United Nations affiliate), and is deeply committed to supporting the U.N.’s Peace Resolution through her ongoing Celebrate Peace Tour. She brings music, Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® and meditation to the communities she visits, as well as to hospices, juvenile detention centers, and schools she visits along the way.
Guru Dev Singh Khalsa, the founder of The School of Sat Nam Rasayan® and The Center for Contemplative Awareness, travels the globe teaching healing, meditation and Kundalini yoga. He began studying Kundalini Yoga in his native Mexico when he met Yogi Bhajan over thirty years ago. Guru Dev conducts the week-long Re Man meditation in India every spring, in addition to holding annual healing retreats in Assisi, Italy each winter and in the summer at Mount Shasta, drawing participants from all over the world. Guru Dev has co-authored “Sat Nam Rasayan®: The Art of Healing” and has had books and magazine articles written about him and Sat Nam Rasayan® in 7 different languages. For Guru Dev Singh’s worldwide schedule, go to www.gurudevsnr.com
Satya Singh KhalsaSatya Singh was born in Haarlem, the Netherlands. During his study of sociology at University, he discovered the way of Kundalini Yoga and began studying with Yogi Bhajan in 1974 until his death in 2004. He lived in Ashrams in Amsterdam and Hamburg, started a family and opened his own Yogazentrum (Yoga Studio and School). Each year spends he some time in India.
In 1990 he published, The Kundalini Yoga Manual for a Healthy Body, Spirit and Soul, a standard work which covers the core topics of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® and was translated into four languages. In 2000, Satya published The Hoar Frost, a novel which takes place on Cyprus and in the Himalayas, describing the exciting history of the development by Yoga. In 2006, Satya co-authored Tree Yoga with Fred Hageneder, a book concerning Yoga and Nature.
For more than 20 years, Satya Singh has been involved in the Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training throughout Germany and parts of Europe. A member of the Teacher Training Executive Council, he has been instrumental in the development of the different Teacher Training Curriculums and Certification requirements. He currently serves as lead in the 3HO Germany Teacher Training Team and is a founding member of the 3HO Germany.
Because of her dedication, devotion and the ever-expanding light that she brings to the Los Angeles area and beyond; her development of Y.O.G.A. for Youth Programs and trainings; and her inspiration in bringing Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® to West African countries like Ghana and Togo, this year, the Kundalini Research Institute honors Krishna Kaur for her outstanding service to the international community and KRI’s Teacher Training Programs.
She has been a pioneer in what we now call Reach Out–Teach Out Training programs, bringing Kundalini Yoga to underserved communities in the Los Angeles area as well as abroad. She has served on the Teacher Training Executive Board for many years and her wisdom, experience and humor has transformed the way we train teachers today.
For over twenty-five years, Krishna Kaur literally studied at the feet of her teacher Yogi Bhajan, the Master of Kundalini and White Tantric Yoga. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe, Russia, Mexico, India and Africa inspiring and uplifting people with the technology of yoga and meditation.
Krishna Kaur, a dynamic heart centered Yoga teacher, has been teaching the art and science of Kundalini Yoga and Self Awareness since 1970. She is certified by the 3HO Foundation and the Kundalini Research Institute as a Kundalini Yoga Teacher and Trainer of both Level I and II. In 1971, Krishna established and directed the Kundalini Yoga Center in South Central Los Angeles and maintained an active community outreach program for fifteen years. A natural teacher, she has introduced “Yoga” to many diverse communities, taking her classes directly to the youth at Fremont, Locke, Crenshaw and Jordan High Schools, as well as therapists, entertainers, executives, students, “at risk youth”, teachers, seniors, pregnant mothers, inmates, and drug rehabilitation clients.
Krishna Kaur was recently awarded the HERO Award for peace by the Common Peace organization, and given the LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD during the Malcolm X Opening celebration this year. She is a visionary, community activist, and an integral part of the healing of our people and our community.
In 1993, Krishna founded Y.O.G.A. for Youth, an amazing program that takes yoga and meditation, breathing techniques, chanting, deep relaxation and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. It is being taught in juvenile detention facilities, pregnant and parenting teens, prisons and after school programs through out Southern California with satellite programs in New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Chicago. The program aims to give youth practical tools to enrich their lives and assist them in effectively meeting life’s challenges now and in the future.
Krishna Kaur was a founder of the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers (IABYT) in 1998. The Association’s mission is to serve the African Diaspora by spreading the teachings of the ancient art and science of yoga, increase the awareness and availability of yoga classes in the inner cities and be a bridge for underserved communities around the world. With chapters developing around the country, IABYT sponsors a number of events through out the year including “Community Yoga Day” and the annual Black Yoga Teachers Summit and Retreat. They sponsored the first US yoga program in Cuba, a “Festival of Yoga and Music –in Havana” in 1999, which sparked an ongoing yoga exchange between Cuba and the US. In addition, the Yoga in Ghana pilgrimage took place in November 2003, and provided incredible opportunities to meet with spiritual elders and hold yoga conferences in both Accra and in Kumasi. The trip led to the development of an IABYT chapter in Ghana that is an official non-government organization (NGO)
Krishna Kaur conducted yoga teacher training courses in Ghana in 2005 and in Togo West Africa in 2006. The Annual Summit and Retreat will be held in Ghana in 2007 as part of Ghana’s 50 year independence celebration.
Krishna Kaur is also a member of IKYTA, the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association, is Regional Coordinator for Teacher Training in Africa, and a member of National Yoga Alliance. She has developed a Y.O.G.A. for Youth Training manual for yoga teachers and artists interested in working with troubled youth, and is now working on her autobiography. She left a highly successful career in the theater to pursue her true gift and talent….. teaching yoga!
The Kundalini Research Institute honors Sunder Singh Khalsa for his devoted service to the emergence of the Teachings of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® in Asia. He brought the first Yoga Festival to SE Asia, which has become an annual event in Thailand, and has helped the emergence of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® in Thailand, China, Cambodia, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore and Sri Lanka, and continues to plant the seeds of the future through Teacher Training. Sunder Singh oversees Teacher Training programs in Thailand, China, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Singapore, with additional programs in Japan, Malaysia and Taiwan scheduled to begin in 2009. He serves as the KRI Coordinator for Teacher Training in Asia and also serves on the KRI Board of Directors and the Teacher Training Executive Council.
By the grace of the Master he is touching the hearts of all those he meets on this journey of life. He lives in Virginia with his wife Sunder Kaur and owns Khalsa Jewelers, a fine jewelry business with multiple stores. They have four daughters and three granddaughters.
Sunder Singh Khalsa was born in Taiwan. His given name is Tzu Ping, which in Chinese means compassionate peace. Ever since he was a young child he was attracted to and had an affinity toward spiritual teachings. He was told by two teachers that he had traveled the path of Dharma before. The first was Yogi Bhajan who told him that he was a saint in his past life, or as Yogi Bhajan put it, “You know what your problem is? You weren’t just a saint, you were a big saint and everything you ever did wrong you have to pay off, for this is your last lifetime.” The second was Taoist Master Ni, who told Sunder that he was a Taoist and although in this life his form is different, he carries the essence of the Taoist teachings with him.
Sunder came to the United States at age 11 and moved with his family to Portland, Oregon. At age 18 he began his spiritual awakening, which culminated in a near-death experience at the age of 19. The experience gave him the certitude of the Oneness of God and initiated his serious journey toward finding a Teacher. By the Grace of the Guru he finally met Yogi Bhajan at Summer Solstice in Paonia, Colorado. Since then life has been full of both magical moments and challenges. Two defining moments in walking this path of service follow in Sunder’s first person accounts:
In 1971, I was living in the Tucson ashram and in the winter of that year I was sent out to start an ashram in upstate New York. Prior to my journey to New York, I had an experience during my meditation that impacted me deeply. That experience was a vision or darshan of Sri Baba Siri Chand Ji. While there are too many details to go into here, I came out of that vision knowing I had agreed to something, what it was, at that time I had no idea. All I remembered was what Babaji said at the end of the vision, “It will be difficult, but you will come through it.” Then he touched me on my forehead and everything dissolved into a white light. Almost immediately afterwards, in both my meditation and my life, I experienced a major shift, as if all the pain and hurt of the world was going through me. This dark night of the soul went on for a few months, until it was too much for me to bear. I decided then to leave this Dharma.
Because I was a young man of 21, I foolishly thought if I left and found a different yogic path everything will magically revert back to how it was and I could just stay in my meditative bliss. So one night I packed all my belongings and was prepared to leave the next morning without telling anyone. At two in the morning I was awakened by the most beautiful music. I remembered opening my eyes and just listening to this celestial sound. In the center of the sound was the mantra, “Har Har Ram Das Guru Hai,“ being repeated over and over. Needless to say, I decided to stay and used this mantra.
More than 15 years later, I was with Yogi Bhajan and told him my experience with the mantra minus the part about almost leaving. He looked deep into me, closed his eyes, and meditated. Finally he told me that Guru Ram Das Ji has given me a personal mantra and I should use it.
Only in the last few years have I started telling this story, because I feel it is time to share the grace of Guru Ram Das. Even though this mantra came to me, I feel it is for all of us, it is in that spirit I am sharing this. In the many years of teaching, I have only suggested the use of this mantra to one person. It was a Gurusikh in Singapore. He was the manager of a Sikh Center at that time and because of politics left his job. In the following months he could not find a job because of his long beard. He was told to either trim his beard or roll it up, neither of which, was an option for him. Finally he emailed me and said, "I am at the end, I have no money, creditors are knocking on my door, I have a wife and two small children, I will do whatever you tell me." I gave him this mantra among other suggestions and in five days of his using it, his life turned around. Today he is a prosperous businessman. The point of this story for me is that in the darkest night, the grace of Guru Ram Das manifested with this mantra.
During Summer Solstice 2004, I walked into Yogi Bhajan’s room. It was something I had done numerous times, but this time was different; I felt like crying. It felt like it could be the last time. I decided then to ask Yogiji for a hukum. I figured he would give me something that would take me years to accomplish. In some ways I felt the hukum will be a guiding light for me when Yogiji left his body. He looked at me and said, “Make me a mala.” Because I am in the jewelry business, this was relatively easy for me. Even though the mala was going to be special, I could have it made in one month. It took me until right before Khalsa Council to finish it. I didn’t really want to finish it because my intuition told me that when the mala was finished, Yogiji would also be leaving his physical body.
When I arrived in Espanola for Khalsa Council I heard Yogi Bhajan had toured the grounds the day before. Feeling slightly apprehensive that I might have missed my opportunity to see him, I waited every day to see him and was not able to. On Sunday I was waiting outside his room before Gurdwara and was finally able to see him. Yogi Bhajan was lying on his back with his eyes closed when I walked in. The attendant and I stood in front of him holding the mala together. I had made a gold mala approximately 12 feet long. As we stood, the attendant said to Yogiji, “Sir, Sunder has finished his assignment and is here to honor you with this mala.” With his eyes closed, his hand came out of the bedcover and grabbed the mala like a striking snake. Later on I thought, How did he know where the mala was? His eyes were closed and also, during the last few years, whenever I had seen him his hands always shook. This time his hand was totally steady. The attendant said, “we will put the mala on the altar.” Instead, he held on to the mala and wouldn’t let it go. Then he spoke a few words to me, which the attendant had to translate because his words were slurred. Then he opened his eyes and looked straight into my eyes. I swear there was no pain, no weakness, no sickness in his eyes there was only the Master—100%. After a brief moment, which felt like an eternity, I said, “Sat Nam” with folded hands and walked out of his room.
The next few days felt like a dream. Monday the storm started and that night I could not go to sleep at all. I spent the whole night doing the Ra Ma Da Sa meditation for Yogiji. I felt like I was cradling his head in my arms throughout the night. Tuesday we had the Teacher Trainer Forum and for me it was pretty normal. Wednesday was the last day of the Forum and I had planned to fly out after lunch. However, after lunch I just couldn’t leave and decided to wait until after dinner. When dinner was over I still couldn’t leave and decided to stay the night. That evening I went out to Ojo Caliente to relax and soak in the hot springs. Around 7:30 it started to storm and we had to come out of the water. As I sat there waiting for the storm to pass, suddenly I went into a deep meditation. It was the meditation to connect to the subtle body of the Master. Because I had no intention of meditating, I knew it was telling me that it was time. So when I came out of the meditation, I immediately returned to where I was staying and changed into my bana and went over to the Ranch. A few minutes after I sat down with Bibiji and Kulbir, Yogi Bhajan’s wife and son, they were called into his room and Yogi Bhajan left his physical body. This is a true account of my experience of the passing of my Master and True Friend.
Pick up any one of the Kundalini Yoga manuals put together by Harijot Kaur and you can well understand why KRI has chosen to honor her this year for her service to the legacy of The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan. The manuals she has generated over the years are easy to use, aesthetically beautiful and set an impeccable standard of authenticity. She has diligently researched, verified, and organized Yogi Bhajan’s teachings with meticulous attention to every detail. Harijot’s own carefully crafted original drawings illustrate each manual. In the true spirit of seva, consciously serving the Master, she has offered her time, energy, and skill to these endeavors.
She started her work with the manual, Physical Wisdom, which is being edited for a second edition as this goes to press. This initial volume was followed by others in that same series: Reaching Me in Me, The Owner’s Manual for the Human Body, Self-Experience, Self-Knowledge, and Infinity & Me. More recently she collected and published all the Master’s teachings on the breath in Praana, Praanee, Praanayam. She also collaborated with Guru Prem Singh (dubbed “Posture Master” by Yogi Bhajan) on Divine Alignment. A gifted, multi-talented yogi, Harijot also teaches Kundalini Yoga at Yoga West in Los Angeles, California.
In 1975, Harijot was living in Ashland, Oregon, when a friend persuaded her to go to a White Tantric Yoga Course that the Mahan Tantric, Yogi Bhajan, was going to conduct. She had never heard of him, but she went. As soon as the Master saw her he recognized her destiny and told her she should come to Los Angeles. Without hesitation, she did. Quitting her job and leaving her friends and her life in Oregon behind, she came to Los Angeles and went to work at the Golden Temple Restaurant. One job led to another within the “3HO” family of business and when a bookkeeper was needed, she learned bookkeeping and discovered she was good at it. Ultimately, she found herself at the Secretariat in the accounting department where she still serves today. KRI is proud to acknowledge Harijot Kaur with their 2007 Outstanding Achievement in Service Award.
Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa
Yogaraj Ayurvedic Herbalist
In Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®
For his lifetime of study and his contributions toward the compilation and cataloguing of Yogi Bhajan’s teachings in herb technology, foods, and the healing arts, Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa is recognized as the Yogaraj Ayurvedic Herbalist in Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.®
Karta Purkh Singh met Yogi Bhajan in 1973 and at his direction, began the study of herbs. Over the next few years, Yogi Bhajan began training Karta Purkh directly. Yogi Bhajan was very prolific and had Karta Purkh generate hundreds of prototypes of various new medicines. In 1980, Yogi Bhajan had Karta Purkh Singh start Yogic Herbs and shortly afterward, Karta Purkh began his own private company Herb Technology.
Since 1973, Karta Purkh Singh has been working as an herbalist and nutritionist in private practice as well as teaching herbs and herbal technology. He founded Seattle’s first multidisciplinary natural healing clinic and ran it for almost 20 years. Involved in formulating Yogi Tea for the past 20 years, for the past 10 years, Karta Purkh has been an employee of KIIT where he serves as a researcher and analyst for teas, cereals, and body products in the Technical Services Department of Golden Temple.
He continues to practice privately and to write extensively.
KRI is proud to acknowledge Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa with their 2007 Outstanding Achievement in Service Award.