Friday, October 26, 2012

Artwork & Inspiring Quotes RECEIPT


Thought I'd jazz-up the FUNdraising a bit and make some artsy receipts.

When you pre-purchase the new album tomorrow night at SWIHA ("Ignite the Light) or Nov. 10 at Yoga Phoenix, you won't get a copy of the CD immediately (patience, patience... coming Summer 2013).

BUT you will get one of 5 different quote cards, with this message on the back:

"I lovingly contributed $______ to Sirgun Kaur's New Album Campaign!"

I think getting something right away is pretty fun.

=),
Sirgun

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Longtime Sun

One of the tracks that I'll be putting on my new album is the traditional closing song to a Kundalini Yoga class: The Longtime Sun.

When I did teacher training in New Mexico a few years ago, I must admit, I got really tired of singing this song.

As I grow as a teacher I've come to appreciate it more and more.

So I wrote my own version... (I'll post a video soon).


BLESSINGS ON YOUR WAY

To me, the song is a sweet melodic send-off. It is not just sung for the people in the room, but for anyone we might be holding in our hearts, or keeping in our thoughts. It is a prayer of well-being and happiness for those we love to love, and for those whom we might find a challenge to love.

Ending the class in this way, gives us the opportunity to be thankful for the work we did, and send that healing energy beyond the yoga studio.


TRADITION

There is something to be said for songs that everyone can sing along to. As silly as some songs may be, there is a bonding that happens when we all know them. The Beatles wrote so many of these kinds of songs. Their music had the added benefit of being really sweet to listen to, not just easy sing-along music.

No matter where you are in the world, if you take a Kundalini Yoga class, you know you'll be tuning in with the Adi Mantra (i.e. "Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo") and closing the class with the Longtime Sun. In a few classes, you'll get to know the lyrics well.

If you don't already. Here you go:

May the longtime sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide your way on

Beautiful, right?

And what a great way to end this blog.




May the longtime sun shine upon YOU and YOU and YOU,
Sirgun

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Being OK with Not Being OK

I think I've gotten into the not-so-amazing habit of pretending that everything is OK all the time. Actually, not just OK, but GREAT. In a sense, that's always the truth. Everything is always—in essence—great!

On another level, part of being truthful (with myself and others) is calling a bad day a "bad day." It doesn't have to be a big deal. That's just where I happen to be.


WHY IS EVERYTHING ALWAYS OK?
(on the bright side of things)

I have had a number of experiences, whether in daily life or in deep meditation, that assure me that, underneath it all, everything is actually perfect.

What I am feeling on a "bad day" is happening inside me. It is not a crack in the fabric of existence that needs to be fixed. It's not a big deal. And nothing further is required on my part besides accepting my feelings in that moment, not getting upset with myself for it, and allowing myself to let go.


CHANGE IS CONSTANTLY GETTING ITS WAY (or in the way?)...


The process of being OK with my own emotions is, in my experience, the hardest part of having any.

It feels like I accidentally invited the monster over for tea again.

The internal conversation usually goes like this:

Why do I keep calling him? What is wrong with me? Where did I get his number anyway? I don't even think he likes tea...

Instead of talking directly to him:

I seem to have invited you today, but it's probably best you leave. 

Ok, neither of these solutions is any less crazy, but the latter allows for some order in this neurotic scenario.

Emotions are by their very nature changeable. It's unrealistic to assume that they will stay the same. And it's self-defeating to blame myself when they live up to their nature.

The monster comes over for tea to see how I will react. When it stops being a problem, he stops coming over.

Or maybe he just comes over to clean the house... I haven't gotten that far yet.


WHAT TO DO?

It's not always easy to predict what helps in these situations.

The other day, I sat outside in our backyard and sang to myself for about an hour. That felt good. So did the yoga practice I did straight after. So did the relaxation I did after that... yeah, that was a good day. 

As much as yogic philosophy encourages me to meditate before I speak about what I'm feeling, I must admit: I am a Western woman. Nothing is quite as satisfying (at least at the moment) as venting my emotions. Sometimes that means bringing up an issue with my husband, which he loves... naturally (wink).  Sometimes it means channeling that emotion into a physical activity, or writing a blog.

Yes, this feels so good. 

As I get better at dealing with unexpected emotions, I try to restrict my venting to a limited number of trustworthy females. Not all listeners are created equal.


NOT SO FAST, NOT SO SLOW...

In the end though, an emotion is not something we should fear or aim to quickly disgard.

The process of dealing with an emotion is a difficult, yet essential, part of letting it go.

When we reject the emotion, like the monster, it will undoubtedly come back for tea. On the other hand, if we become overly fascinated with the emotion, it will start to color our self-concept. Instead of being just "an emotion," it will become "part of me." That's not ideal either.

The thing to do, which is most uncomfortable (of course) is to allow the emotion to do its work: point us in the right direction, evolve into an epiphany, illuminate something we weren't seeing clearly.

Allowing it to exist, while simultaneously giving myself some distance from it, is a pretty brilliant feat. I must admit, I have not mastered this yet.

However, when I am able to do this, the feeling of depression uplifts itself, transmuting itself into a powerful blessing.

I find this really hard to remember in the moment. Every day is an opportunity for improvement though.


Live and let flow!


Blessings,
Sirgun

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wahe Guru: The Most Versatile Kundalini Mantra


Article by Sirgun Kaur, originally published on SPIRIT VOYAGE BLOG—October 8, 2012
Of all the mantras in Kundalini Yoga, the most versatile one is surely “Wahe Guru.” The way I usually describe it to audiences when I’m leading kirtan is: an exclamation of unfathomable ecstasy. That’s one definition, but there are many other occasions when this all-purpose mantra is just the thing to say.
1. S#!t Yogis Say:
Whether you’ve just stubbed your toe or got fired from your job, there are times when we use not-so-yogic-words in our life. There’s nothing wrong with using swear words per se (though I don’t recommend teaching your little ones just yet), but admittedly, they don’t do much besides let off a little steam. The next time you want to scream out in frustration or anger, try consciously screaming “Wahe Guru!” instead. After all, only the Universe knows why this is happening to you, and only the Universe can get you out of it. Call out to the ultimate force governing everything and remember: the things that seem to be falling apart in our lives tend to leave a void for the beauty about to enter. Wahe Guru for that!
Music to help you remember to say “Wahe Guru” instead:

Good Company by Satkirin Kaur Khalsa

Yoga of Sound - Cherdi Kala, the Ever Rising Spirit by Mata Mandir Singh
2. Better than Counting Sheep:
Is it just me, or was counting sheep some of the least hepful anti-insomnia advice ever given? I’ve also tried counting blessings, which happens to be a beautiful practice in my waking hours, but not all that lulling when I’m trying to turn my mind OFF at night. Something that had worked magically though, is repeating “Wahe Guru Wahe Guru Wahe Guru...” I do it as many times on one breath as possible (if I’m alone), or just repeat an endless stream in my head (if my husband is asleep next to me). Pretty soon, I’m asleep and (probably) snoring. Wahe Guru!
Music to lull you to sleep:
Ashana’s “Jewels of Silence”on Jewels of Silence—You can mentally chant “Wahe Guru” to the healing sounds of singing bowls

Jewels of Silence by Ashana
3. When We Just Barely Pull It Off:
Ever pull something off that seems like it had little to do with you at all? You manage to make it to your doctor’s appointment on time, in traffic, when you left the house 15 minutes later than you should have? You burned every dish you cooked for a dinner party, but people mysteriously thought it was a potluck and brought enough food for everyone? If I happen to get complimented for something I know I had almost no part in I like to remember to say “Wahe Guru” instead of “thank you.” That way, I can acknowledge their gratitude, without accepting any credit for the miracle that just took place.... just amazement and thanks for how well things turned out!
Music to help you appreciate the moment:
Nirinjan Kaur's “Ether Tattva Waheguru Mantra” on Prem Siri

Prem Siri by Nirinjan Kaur

3 Ways to Find Freedom with Kundalini Yoga


Article by Sirgun Kaur, originally published on SPIRIT VOYAGE BLOG—September 24, 2012

Freedom is our birthright. Yet, as we grow older, the structure of our lives can make us feel less than footloose and fancy-free. With more responsibilities, obligations, and people who depend on us, we may start to feel nostalgic for those childhood days when nothing held us down.  Remembering that we are spiritual beings living a life on Earth is not always enough to lift the “weight” of daily existence. I’d like to share someKundalini yoga practices that help me tap into my unlimited and free self, even when my schedule would have me feeling otherwise.

1. Liberation Kriya:

Nothing makes me feel more trapped and small than being stuck in a repetitive pattern. A few years ago I could not seem to get out of a certain relationship I was in. We just kept going around in circles like characters on a sitcom that never seemed to really “end it” because the writers have to keep both actors on the show somehow. When I saw this video of Gurmukh teaching Liberation Kriya, I decided to commit for 40 days. I was blown away by the results. Somewhere around 30 days I was able to end the relationship and never look back. The kriya helped me cut through all the mental nonsense that was keeping me from just walking away. When I finally did, it felt so good!


2. Maximize Your FREE Time with Mantra:

Let’s face it: living on Planet Earth can feel a little heavy sometimes. With so many “real life” things happening so quickly, it’s hard to maintain a blissful state 100% of the time. When we are meditating regularly at home, or going to a class on a regular basis, some of the weight naturally falls off. We know this. Yet, sometimes there seems to be so little free time. Thank goodness for mantra! The next time you are having a not-so-free day, remember the mantra: Ang Sang Wahe Guru. Chant it loud to align yourself with the vibration of feeling completely unlimited, knowing you are inextricably linked to Source. If you are at your office, listen through headphones.

Music Recommendations:



Flow by Sat Kartar



Golden by Jai Kartar



Kundalini Beat Double Album by Dev Suroop Kaur Khalsa

3. Clean Your Aura:

How New Age did that sound? Seriously though, sometimes we aren’t really struggling with the weight of our own world, but the weight of all the people we deal with in a day. The best thing to make sure you know where you begin and the other person ends is to cultivate a strong auric body. There is a great set in Dr. Siri Atma Khalsa’s book Waves of Healing  to help you strengthen this important light body. One of the easiest ways of the wiping the auric slate clean though, is just to get in some water. So, now you have get another reason to take a bath, a shower, or jump in the pool at the end of the day!


Waves of Healing by Siri Atma S. Khalsa, MD

May this help you to rediscover the free, unencumbered YOU! Sat Nam!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Thank You: Update

The New Album Fundraising Campaign has reached $4,225! 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. See list of contributors and patrons here.


Blessings,
Sirgun

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Word on Bullying

This morning I watched a very sad video on youtube.

It was a teenager's suicide note... crafted in the form of a youtube video... with background music.

If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, click here.

There's a lot of opinion on this matter going around cyberspace—from compassionate, to absurd, to completely desensitized. The story brought up some issues in my life, so I wanted to share some thought here on my blog.


BULLIES AREN'T EVIL PEOPLE
(Keep reading, it gets less controversial)

As a teenager, I was one of the bullied kids. I was called so many names, I feared walking through the halls. Most of the abuse I received (from teachers and students alike) was verbal, but some of it was physical. I'm not here to lament my high school story. I'm good now.

Here's why I am bringing this up: So many years later, I can see the pain in the eyes of th people who, I felt, "made my life hell." These were not kids who were having an easy time themselves. Happy kids don't spend their time trying to make their peers unhappy.

Mocking, fighting, teasing, excluding, etc. are learned behaviors—learned from abusive parents/friends/relatives/caregivers, exposure to inappropriate media, etc...

It's important that bullies be held responsible, and be made aware of the impact of their actions. However, it's also importnat to remember that whatever these "bullies" are doing is a reflection of their own inner-torture. Turning our hatred towards them accomplishes little more than spreading hate. These are people too... people who need their hearts cracked open and their minds softened.


EXTRA-CURRICULAR LEARNING

Being a teenage girl was rough when I young. Things seem to have gotten harder since then. At least there was no facebook when I was in high school. I got made fun of the old-fashioned way.

The thing that struck me about Amanda's video was that all her actions were the result of needing, and being denied, validation (read: love).

If Amanda had had a sense of self that was stronger than external opinion, things would have been different for her.

Easier said than done.

I certainly didn't have that kind of strong sense of self as a teenager. But I would have given anything to have it.

We can't just teach our children how to read and write anymore. Our planet is evolving and everything is speeding up. It is now imperative that our children learn to stay centered in a world that will try to pull them in every possible direction.

This is important not only because they are human beings who deserve to live a happy life. This is important because each one of these souls has come to Earth for a particular purpose. If we let them squander their lives, we miss out on what they came here to offer.


MEDITATION

"If every 8 year old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation." ~ THE DALAI LAMA

This morning I was reminded on this quote from the Dalai Lama.

Is it really this simple?

I believe so.

The reason that is most obvious to me is that this would create a world of inwardly-guided individuals. It would create a world of children—who would then became teenagers, and then adults, and then parents—who followed not the example of misguided popular opinion, but their own heart.

It would create a world of peaceful warriors, so spiritually strong they could transmute every challenge into a personal success... a world of self-reliant, self-illumined individuals, no mean word or physical abuse could overthrow.

That is my prayer.


A while back I was teaching a lot of children's kundalini yoga. God willing, I will be asked to do this again. I will be teaching my own son very soon.


Blessings,
Sirgun

Friday, October 12, 2012

This Week's Videos

Sat Naam Friend,

I am reaching out to YOU. If you are interested in listening to the music from my new album, why not pre-purchase it now? You can get an advance digital download for only $11. It includes a bonus meditation track, not included on the album. 

By pre-purchasing you are helping to co-create the album because the funds from pre-sales can go directly into the immediate costs of creating an album. Read the whole story here

AN INVITATION FROM PRINCE (our dog)



FRIDAY UPDATE - 10/12/12


Thank you for your consideration!

Blessings,
Sirgun Kaur Khalsa

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wahe Guru and Thank You


Thank you to ALL the early contributors! Thanks to you, we raised over $2,500 even before I was going to"officially" begin the campaign for my new album.

Much much much gratitude,
Sirgun

INSPIRED ARTIST PODCAST EPISODE #71: Genevieve Solomon

I met Genevieve first as a client, then as a teacher, and now as a guest...  Cute example of the malleable roles we take on for one another,...

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