GOD and me are one

Ik sansaaree ik bandaaree ik laa-ay-deebaan.

I have been waking the last several mornings with these words in my head. They are a line from Japji Sahib, the Sikh holy text I recite daily as part of my sadhana.

The line – One, the Creator of the World; One, the Sustainer; and One, the Destroyer – translates to GOD.

In Kundalini Yoga, GOD refers to the energy that Generates, Organizes and Destroys or Delivers.

GOD was never so keenly felt until recently. I returned home from a series of Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainings that had me digging into the depths and crevices of my heart and soul only to realize the esoteric work I thought I had going for me was a mere illusion.

I was as devastated by my own delusion as I was completely brought back to earth by the realizations that came forth.

As a dedicated yoga practitioner, I should be, in theory, a shining example of yoga, the union of mind, body and spirit. After all, I pour hours into the mat. I should be balanced and at peace, enjoy amazing relationships, and have glowing skin and aura that radiates 20 feet.

Yet I stumble and struggle like a human does.

There were low days when my Negative Mind loomed large. These few weeks were those days.

Seeking solace and clarity from my mat, I dove deeper into my Kundalini Yoga practice.

I emerged to fully grasp spirituality isn’t at all about transcendental experiences and prophetic divination.

Spirituality is how you navigate mindfully and compassionately with sentient beings who are unique yet not all that different from you.

Understanding through the lens of compassion is a far more loving and present way of living.

We are all a work in progress. Some days are better or worse than others. Debilitating emotions don’t get banished overnight. Some among us are trying our best to overcome sins or poisons. It is lifelong hard work. It is all part of being human. Who is 100 percent all the time?

Life is one big practice. Just like the physical asana practice. Every damn day.

I have walked so many circles this lifetime. Some roads converged and led to more detours. This path turned out to be the biggest circle I have walked.

Yoga it is. Living the yoga it shall be.

Tuning into guru dev, the teacher within, I have come home to this one Truth.

The Divine lives in my heart, not just up there.

Let God. Let flow. Happy International Day of Yoga!

What do you do when it feels so dark?

The last two weeks, I was in Bali, deepening my Kundalini yoga practice. There was something so enchanting about practicing to a view and sounds of verdant nature and witnessing the skies lighting up from pre-dawn hours.

I could wax lyrical about the incredible grace I experienced.

The truth is, I was also tending to the shadows that unceremonially surfaced from crevices tucked away from plain sight.

To say the least, January was a month of finding my feet after the end of a monumental year that just passed. Soulful questions led to uncomfortable, heartfelt answers.

I shed tears I never thought I had. I slept too much. My heart felt tender and raw. I was struggling to keep my head above stormy waters.

In the end, what saw me through the dark seas was yoga. A hell lot of Kundalini yoga.

During those weeks where I felt absolutely shattered, I poured myself into kriyas, or a themed set of exercises, to unearth and release pent-up emotions buried so deep within. I dug deep to strengthen and ground my entire being.

The Kundalini yoga technology of simultaneously using asana, pranayama, mantra and mudra to direct prana to where it should go very swiftly centered and empowered me.

I could neither rush time nor my healing, but the yoga practice that both fortifies and nourishes me, and fills my belly with fire, allows me to see the silver lining in the gray clouds.

The sense of renewal was so palpable I showed up for my mat, and ultimately for myself, despite the aches that were gnawing away at every part of me.

My dedicated [Kundalini] yoga practice gave me concrete tools to sit with the disquiet, to make peace with uncertainties.

If change is the only constant, then embracing the unknown is other surety.

In that vastness, I trusted that all that didn’t serve my highest good was being shown out of my life.

As I pick up the fragments and reshape the new me, I am aware hailstones and debilitating storms are mere reflections of the seasons and cycles of life.

Buds will always blossom and bloom again.

How we navigate wintry weather to welcome spring makes all the difference.

The gift of breath

Humee hum tumee toom wahe guru

I am thine in mine myself wahe guru

Teaching this meditation in a Kundalini Yoga class last week, as part of an introspective yearend set, I too was stricken by how my yoga practice has connected me to my own infinity.

Because the practice of yoga is less about asana and more about what transpires outside the mat, how you show up for the practice is a reflection of how you show up for life.

Are you moving through breathlessly and relentlessly? Are you taking a few moments to pause before transiting into the next exercise?

My practice – and life – changed the moment I took more than a pause between asanas.

Taking time to consciously breathe through each nostril, to feel my entire torso filling up with breath, the breath that sustains us, is almost cathartic.

Soul-cleansing cathartic.

Most significantly, Pranayama, one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, has shown me the virtues of breathing space into everything.

Breathing when I am chewing my food. Breathing when I am walking to catch a bus. Breathing when my heart aches.

It’s as if breathing through every core of my being has allowed me to viscerally and gently embrace all the unknowns and what-ifs that are unfolding before me.

The insecurity that comes with anticipating the disasters ahead dissolves when there’s space to step back, and you know, breathe cool breaths into a raging storm that always threatens to tear me up.

The moment I realized the sense of vastness in me mirrors the infinity offered by the universe, doors crack open. I receive people, places and little bounties that serve my highest good.

I have trusted the stream of consciousness offered by my breath will steadily and gracefully guide my every step.

This breath nourishes me as it fills my heart with a deep sense of gratitude.

It is with gratitude – and lungs and belly full of breaths – I am starting 2018, knowing the gift of breath will open me to the vast oceans in and outside of me.

Truly, everything is inside of me.

I am thine in mine myself.

Wahe guru!

Commitment, commitment, commitment

Commitment is knowledge within itself. You don’t commit to get the knowledge. When you commit, knowledge comes to you. If you can commit and hold on to it, there is nothing more you have to learn. When you commit, things will happen which will shift in you, change you, stop you, make [tempt] you to disobey, revolt. Such opportunities will come to you. Even if you forget the truth that is the basis of you, if you continue to be committed, that’s all it takes. Commitment does not “begin” anything. Commitment is the end in itself. – Yogi Bhajan

Ode to Day 40 of Awakening to your Ten Bodies kriya

The same sequence,
a different practice every damn day,
a different play of cosmic light and shadow,
an insight into conditionings previously unseen and unknown,
a study of inner fire
hitherto obscured and misunderstood.

The same sequence,
building clarity and surety.

The same sequence,
because there are no quick fixes and processes,
because emancipation comes from deep knowing,
because change begins with a paradigm shift.

It’s not about discipline


Doing sadhana doesn’t make challenges disappear, it helps us to clarify, refine, and build the strength of the nervous system to welcome the challenges and see them as supportive aids in our heath, happiness and prosperity. – Simrit Kaur

I am just a week away from Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. Truth be told, I never dreamt of investing this deeply in a practice that has completely transformed a world that went from nailing a healthy alignment on the mat to a state of samadhi.

I have sought that sense of oneness with the universe, that profound connection with the Divine all my life.

When I rediscovered yoga six years ago, my dedicated daily practice on the mat brought me to places I didn’t envision: I took the plunge and became a social entrepreneur, never mind as a travel and wellness writer, I only knew how to wield a pen.

It was a lifelong dream to empower less privileged communities in the region I live in.

Then a business trip to Cambodia more than changed my life.

After my first Kundalini yoga class, something shifted in me. My depleted soul, beaten by running the business singlehandedly, felt simultaneously empowered and nourished.

I returned to Singapore, found my tribe and began planting seeds for soulful living.

Before the rest of the family wakes and demands my attention, I make time for me.

At that hour, my soft chants illuminate a space permeated by piercing silence and a still-dark sky.

At that hour, my sub-conscious surfaces so I can observe them.

At that hour, my practice travels deeper.

My daily time on the mat is non-negotiable.

I fill myself up so my cup is brimming with life. Then I am ready to give and gift.

How do I bring myself to the mat every damn day? I get this question a lot.

A glass of wine or a body massage is only skin deep. When retail therapy is done and buyer’s remorse sets in, it is back to the same emptiness that comes and goes like the wretched restless wind.

When I take time to love and worship my mind, body and spirit that’s really a temple, it reciprocates abundantly with a joy that does not fizzle out like a champagne gone flat. Strength and faith are borne out of clarity.

Living with my eyes and heart wide open allow me to ride the crest and trough of life fully present.

It’s not about discipline.

It’s about owning your journey.

It’s about being radiantly alive.