Yogi Bhajan's 5 sutras for the Aquarian age
The above photos are from the Lole White Tour in Toronto. While it was not a Kundalini event, everyone did wear white. There are many theories about the power of wearing white in yoga. Whatever you believe, it was pretty cool to be a part of.
Kundalini yoga & Yogi Bhajan
Yogi Bhajan was a spiritual teacher and Kundalini yoga master, the man who brought Kundalini yoga to the West. I first heard of him and Kundalini yoga in general while listening to an audiobook by Gabrielle Bernstein called "Miracles Now." I kept meaning to try Kundalini, but put it off because it seemed too different to my regular yoga practice. Kundalini yogis traditionally wear white, and the class has a lot of meditation and breathwork in it, which I found intimidating. The morning after a particularly difficult night on call (I also got broken up with on the phone that night!), I couldn't sleep and knew I need some serious mindfulness. I checked the schedule at my local yoga studio, and the next class was a Kundalini class. I took it as a sign, showed up, and I've been showing up every since. When I first walk in - I KID YOU NOT - the teacher said, "I had initially planned to do a root chakra class, but I feel like the energy in the room is calling for a healing heart chakra class." I did not even know what a root chakra WAS but I could guess what a healing heart chakra class was for (duh, me lol). Call it kismet, call it random, or call it the universe intervening on my behalf - all I know is I was totally in the zone for the next hour and left feeling a million times better and ready for sleep!
Since that original day, I've read more about Yogi Bhajan and Kundalini yoga. There is so much to share, and I will be writing more about its benefits in later posts, but for today I wanted to share his 5 sutras for the Aquarian Age. If the Aquarian Age sounds familiar (the age of Aquarius - HAIR anyone? - apologies if you aren't a muscial theatre fan), you may be interested to know that Yogi Bhajan was reportedly inspired by the song's message of a dawning of a new age. He felt a new time was coming - the "Aquarian Age" - and wanted to share the following teachings with his followers. Here they are!
1. Recognize that the other person is you.
I remember my mom telling me when I was younger that if I'm upset with someone, I should examine whether the qualities I disliked in that person were a reflection of a part of myself that I didn't like so much. I've heard many iterations of this of wisdom as I've grown up, but only recently did I hear the flip side. In "Miracles Now," Gabby Bernstein says that when you are comparing yourself to others, and feeling less than someone else, you should remember that "the light you see in them is a reflection of your inner light." Isn't that lovely? And isn't it important to remember that you can admire someone without comparing yourself? The more we can remember that we are all one, the more compassion we can show to others and ourselves. Let the sun shine!
2. There is a way through every block.
When I was little, I went to JOY Bible Camp. Most of my memories from it consist of arts & crafts, outdoor activities and water sports. We did have chapel though, and kid-centred bible teaching. I think that was the first time, while having a group discussion of Pslam 23 (The Lord is My Shepherd), that I heard someone the popular adage, "God will not put you through anything he knows you cannot handle." What a comforting statement. And Yogi Bhajan's second sutra echoes that wisdom for me. Throughout the years, I've drifted away from the stricter religion I was raised with, but it is amazing how the core teachings of every religion I've ever learned about how are so similar. Fundamental truth anyone? Next time you are stressed, and feel like you can't think straight - remember there is a way through every block. This simple truth will help you release your worries, harness your creative energy and find a way to bust through the block.
3. When the time is on you, start, and the pressure will be off.
We all know the stress that comes with procrastinating, and this is a great sutra for us in this age of chronic business. Another thing my mom used to say when were little is that every time you worry about doing something, you're using energy as if you're doing it. So if you worry about it 4 times and then finally do it, it will feel like you did it 5 times. I think about this a lot, and find myself telling other people it, too (and I said I'd never turn into my mother!). The pressure of having a big to-do list can be paralyzing, but usually when I finally decide to write the paper, tackle the mail stack, or clean my apartment, I get into a 'flow' and the time flies. When I finally start, the pressure is off.
4. Understand through compassion or you will misunderstand the times.
Yogi Bhajan spoke of trying to understand people through compassion rather than passion. Compassion is calm and clear, passion is emotional and muddled. Trying to understand other people through compassion will not only lead you to be more kind to those around you, but will release stress for yourself as well. This also touches on a piece of ancient wisdom, that can be seen across the world's major religions. Who is more compassionate a figure than Jesus? He sought out people in need of compassion. In Mark 2:17 Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call on the righteous, but sinners." Similarly, the Dalai Lama says, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
5. Vibrate the Cosmos. The Cosmos shall clear the path.
"To vibrate with the Universe is to vibrate the higher frequencies of love, compassion and kindness." There is a beautiful phrase from 1 Corinthians 13:13, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." No matter what religion you identify with, these fundamenal truths of the universe show themselves to us in so many forms - just pick one! Spirituality is an important part of good mental health. You don't have to be a part of organized religion, you don't even have to believe in God - but these truths, like love, remain.
I hope they serve you.