Gurmukh: The light comes from within

Gurmukh:The Light Comes from Within”

Given the spiritual name Gurmukh by Yogi Bhajan, master of Kundalini Yoga, her name means “one who helps thousands of people across the world ocean” and that she is exactly what she has done. Her name also translates to “face the guru” in Punjabi – which represents the practice of following the ways of the Guru instead of following your animal instincts and the basic desires of the mind. She understands what Yogi Bhajan used to teach us: that we have made deep promises between our soul and our self. Gurmukh is indeed carving her place into the memory of this planet earth and serve this promise. Her life’s teaching, is part of her destiny. She speaks from the voice of her soul, not the fractured, doubting personality that sabotages the intuitive mind.

From her daily sadhana, or spiritual practice, she radiates light as she is forgiving and compassionate. So many people live in the land of duality: making someone wrong so they can be right. Rather she lives in the present, in the now, not in the past. Gurmukh doesn’t have a long list of grievances rather she has friends around the globe and she travels to India at least three times a year. In 2015 she will travel to Kumarakim and Kerala, India as well as Rishikesh, India, California, Puerto Morelos, Mexico, New York, Switzerland, Berlin, Germany, UK, Koln, Moscow, Colorado, NY, Sweden, South Africa, Canada and Massachusetts; so she can spread the teachings of Kundalini Yoga.

She understands that the life force, the chi, comes from within. The more you inhale and exhale “I AM”, the more you understand the transparency of duality. Gurmukh has helped to teach students all over the world, including myself, that when you’re in doubt, stress and worry, to call on your breath, call on your soul, which is your best friend and inhale “I AM. The great strength of those born under the sign of Pisces is their compassionate and charitable nature. Gurmukh is a true Pisces: selfless, spiritual and very focused on her inner journey. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “spiritual force is greater than material force.”

She is the co-founder and director of Golden Bridge Yoga, the premiere center for the study and practice of Kundalini Yoga and meditation in Santa Monica, California and also in New York City.

Here is a photo I made of Gurmukh at the first Golden Bridge Yoga in Los Angeles. 4 June 2004.

@ hannah kozak
Gurmukh @ Golden Bridge Yoga, June 2004

Here we are outside of Rishikesh, India, where I traveled with her on my first sojourn to India in March, 2006 where I discovered the true meaning of devotion. Four years later, I would begin a photo essay in Jerusalem, Israel inspired by the women in prayer at the Western Wall called Devotion.

@ hannah kozak
Hannah and Gurmukh – Outside Rishikesh, India
@ hannah kozak
Gurmukh & Gurushabd on her birthday in Amritsar, India March 2006

Ten years and six months later, on 2 November 2014, at Golden Bridge Yoga in Santa Monica.

@ hannah kozak
Gurmukh @ Golden Bridge Yoga – 4 November 2014
Gurmukh, Gurushabd 20 December 2014
Gurmukh, Gurushabd
20 December 2014

She seems ageless, as her beauty truly comes from within and not from external traits like hair, clothes or make-up. Gurmukh, like the lotus flower, is continually moving towards the light. Like the lotus flower, she has been to the muddy, yucky, dirty bottom of the pond but she has risen to beauty, to life. The lotus flower has become a symbol of awakening to the spiritual reality of life. Once it comes to the surface of the water, the lotus flower begins to blossom and turn into a beautiful flower. This is Gurmukh.

It’s hard not to love someone who has this printed on her business card:

Travel light.
Live light.
Spread the light.
Be the light.

Yogi Bhajan

Gurmukh:The Light Comes from Within”

Snatam Kaur: a chanting goddess in the city of Angels

The first time I heard Snatam Kaur in concert was May 3, 2008 at Golden Bridge Yoga in Hollywood. I had experienced Snatam’s voice and music during a Kundalini yoga class five years prior. Instantly, something deep inside of me stirred and her music became an important part of my life from that moment on.

Snatam entered the stage at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. As she calmly enters I see her white turban with the gold Adi Shakti; symbol of infinity and primal power, along with her white veil and quiet presence. There is an ethereal quality to her. As soon as she led us into tuning in with Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo-I bow to the primal teacher within, nothing mattered. The traffic that was causing a little stress not long before no longer mattered. I was coming into my breath. The simple, innocent, non-violent, non-competitive request of each breath.

Snatam has been practicing Kundalini yoga, meditation and chanting since she was two years old when her parents brought her to early morning sadhana. There is a light to Snatam Kaur that is palpable and real. Her humility and humbleness make her even more beautiful live in person than on her records.  She is pure bliss while spiritually uplifting us all with her voice and presence. Snatam; along with her voice; goes straight to my soul.

Our universe was created by sound and vibrations. G-d spoke and vibrated and the world appeared along with us in it.  Everything in the world vibrates at a certain frequency of consciousness. The vibration of mantra draws you into what you are vibrating.

I am no longer in my head. The chanting stimulates the hypothalmus; the feel good center of the brain. I close my eyes and I’m taken away. Chanting is a conscious method of controlling and directing my mind. I am directing my mind to float away so I’m vibrating at a happy frequency. It’s a science of Naad-a process of harmony where the infinite is felt. First it’s conscious and out loud. Then my central nervous system vibrates and it’s as if I am listening. In a nutshell, I am altering my consciousness by changing the chemical composition of my brain fluids. The ego relaxes into oh, I feel good.

Guru Ganesha Singh; a practicing Kundalini yogi for thirty years, brings his deep connection to mantra and music.  His joy is contagious. It’s impossible not to smile watching him.

Producer Thomas Barquee of Snatam’s albums including Prem, Shanti, Anand & Liberation’s Door; was in the audience beaming at her while moving to the music with the rest of us. Our chants filled the Wilshire Ebell Theatre with healing blessings as the audience was moving and dancing to the musical vibrations.  I could feel our hearts opening. I would periodically open my eyes to look over and see my dear friend vibrating in her own bliss which made me smile bigger.

This is the power of Snatam Kaur and her lifelong passion and dedication to Kundalini Yoga and mantra. Snatam’s passion for mantra and spreading the message of peace and love is perfectly orchestrated as we come into the Aquarian Age. The love was present in the room as we held hands with strangers and those we loved; sitting next to us.

I do not own the audio rights of this video.
Audio content owner-Spirit Voyage.
This video is not used for commercial profit and is only meant for spreading the joy and happiness in the music of Snatam Kaur. Sat Nam.

White Tantric Yoga

White Tantric Yoga is an integral part of Kundalini Yoga. It’s held in Los Angeles twice a year. The course is facilitated all over the world. When I participated in White Tantric Yoga in France some of the languages it was simultaneously being translated into included French, Spanish, Hebrew and German. We sit in pairs as part of a group meditation. We wear white to enhance our magnetic field and aura and we keep our crown chakra covered. The crown chakra (7th) is our connection to the highest self; our relationship with the unknown. It’s key characteristic is surrender, that humility that enables you to literally bow before the infinite. We have a kriya with a mental focus or mantra. The postures are held from eleven minutes to twenty two, thirty one and up to sixty two minutes. The idea is to break through our subconscious blocks. Yogi Bhajan, master of Kundalini Yoga and Mahan Tantric Master, said we must disipline ourselves. Our souls are shrouded in personal karmas.  We can stay shrouded or if it is our karma, some souls will be brought to a technology; an opportunity to stay for the teachings or to keep running away, usually from one addiction to another. Some people will experience “Shakti Pad”. Shakti Pad is when someone is at the place where they decide to stay on the spiritual path or quit altogether.  They will trick themselves into believing the spiritual practice doesn’t resonate for them any longer. It’s the ego’s way of going back to the old comfort zone. Mere words can’t describe the experience of Kundalini Yoga and White Tantric. It has to be felt.

Each posture will affect everyone differently. Some postures are easy for some and more challenging than others. Because of an injury that hasn’t healed yet I had some additional difficulties but I never gave up.

Yogi Bhajan, master of White Tantric said “Since ancient times humans have found that they have zillions of thoughts, billions of feelings, millions of emotions, thousands of desires, hundreds of fantasies, multirealities and personalities. Ultimately, our mind and thoughts rule us and bog us down. We try every method available to get rid of this pressure because it is eating us up inside. In the shortest time, you can experience release from a lot of the burden and extra weight that you carry in your head. As you see and act on each moment with clarity, you will gain a deeper understanding of yourself and your life will change. Your mind, body and soul will act together as one. This is the path to personal freedom and awareness, and will bring more success to every area of your life”.

Snatam Kaur, Guru Ganesha Singh

I went to see and photograph Snatam Kaur and Guru Ganesha Singh in concert last night. It’s the fourth time I’ve seen them together performing. Each performance has its own special flavor. I loved last night because they were in my home town so there was that snuggly blanket feeling. They bring an incredible energy to the show as their passion is apparent and contagious. Sending out the message of love and peace as they both dwell in God’s heart. Whenever we gather as a group to chant the name of G-d and guru, I am humbled.  Gurmukh as special guest was a bonus.

Snatam Kaur
Guru Ganesha Singh, Snatam Kaur