November 7, 2013 § 1 Comment
In honor of our Second Anniversary and the upcoming holiday season we thought it would be appropriate to ask some of our students, teachers, and teacher trainees why they are grateful for AquarianYoga Center. We invite you to add your own words of gratitude in the comments area below or email us and we’ll add your words of gratitude to this post. There is no end to the thankfulness we feel for our spiritual home. Here are a few comments we’ve collected so far:
Shabad Avtar Kaur (Aggie): “Look for the answer in the same place that you found the question! In short – each and every day ever since I’ve had the opportunity to build a relationship with Kundalini yoga at AYC my question is: ‘Is your heart open and clear to accept and embrace your whole self, as well as others, in unconditional love?’ – I am able to receive the affirming answer at AYC, my spiritual home, through devotion and the steady practice of Kundalini yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan. For this I am very grateful.”
Dasjeet (Joe): “Aquarian Yoga is a place that spiritually uplifts you as you spiritually evolve. I truly appreciate Aquarian Yoga for its dedication to Kundalini yoga and community. Each class brings you closer to discovering the real you and the person next to you. A place of great energy, community and support.”
Sevakpreet Kaur (Karolina): “I am grateful for the opportunity and privilege to teach and be part of a community that feels like family and a place that feels like home! Aquarian Yoga is my home away from home! I am grateful beyond words for my teacher Akalsukh and everything he has taught me and continues to do so tirelessly every day; for his enormous efforts, sacrifices, tireless work and selfless giving to make AYC what it is today! I am just grateful, filled with joy and bliss for Aquarian Yoga and the community! Happy 2nd anniversary and many, many more blessed years to come! Wahe Guru!”
Akasha Kaur (Marina): “I’m grateful that there is a Kundalini Yoga studio in New Jersey where I can do the Teacher Training course that I’ve been postponing now for 12 years! I’m grateful that Akalsukh has taken it upon himself to manage AYC and teach many of the classes. I’m also grateful for the New and Full Moon classes/workshops every month.”
Shama: “There are no accidents in this world and everything is in divine order as it should be. When the soul goes within and connects to the divine, the vibrational frequency uplifts and doors within our earthly realm open up as well. That is how I feel about Aquarian Yoga Center as my continued journey to connect to my own soul and my deep thirst for understanding Kundalini yoga brought me to this sanctuary of souls who were on a similar quest. I am deeply grateful to my soul sister Aggie (Shabad Avtar) who mentioned there is a Kundalini center in Montclair. My first experience was with 5 am morning Sadhana – I was welcomed with unconditional love from this beautiful soul sister (a goddess). Then the actual experience of group sadhana was uplifting and intoxicating! I was just in a state of love and in love with myself and how I can grow my higher self. I found a place to grow my soul with people who can understand. I am in a state of knowing my soul purpose and I quickly realized Kundalini teacher training is a path I must follow. I then enrolled in the AYC first teacher-training program. I love each class experience; I cry, laugh, giggle, connecting with others and myself. It is beautiful. I am grateful to all the souls I have met and will be meeting at AYC. I love taking the classes at AYC; they bring about a creation within me I love to express with poetry, painting and dancing. I feel like my soul has butterfly wings and I can just fly!”
Sukhdev (Maria): I will always be grateful to Akalsukh, our patient Kundalini yoga teacher. I will always be grateful for his encouragement in learning to quiet my mind in the midst of adversity and chaos–to surrender my fears, pride and tears and come back home again and again to that beautiful, peaceful place within. Wahe guru!
Savitri: “Why am I grateful for AYC? Ummm, let me think… besides opening their doors and introducing me to Kundalini yoga; besides opening their hearts and welcoming me as a member of their family/community that extends knowledge and love to each of us; and besides their amazing hard workers, committed, and loving teachers…they have the best Yogi Tea ever!!!! Thank you, AYC, for being part of our lives.”
Sarabraj (Dee): I am truly grateful for Aquarian Yoga Center not only because I teach Flow Yoga there but I’m also a student/teacher trainee of this wonderful yoga practice as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Every class taken is with knowlegeable, caring teachers who are interested in guiding students on the path of Kundalini yoga. The studio is warm and inviting. I’m so happy to have found a spiritual home. Thank you, Akalsukh. Sat Nam!
Sat Kirtan (Kristina): I am humbled to be part of this amazing community. The selflessness each one of you embraces encourages me to to keep up. Thank you all for everything you do to keep this sacred space for all who enter. We are showered with pure grace.
Marcus: Most grateful for AYC for providing our community both local, world wide and into the universe & multiverse with a center of love, light, peace, laughter, joy & compassion. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Sat Naam.
Harjot Kaur (Kathy): “I am grateful for the new gong! It is great to have two gongs at the center, and this one has such a lovely vibration. I am also grateful that we now have two studios, two bathrooms (lol!) and also along with the theme of “two” we have “too” many wonderful teachers and students to name. Thank you to each and every one who makes AYC such an extraordinary, heart-centered place. I am also especially grateful to/for Akalsukh for his wisdom, devotion, and dedication and to/for Gurudass Kaur who is our phenomenal lead teacher trainer. And I am grateful for the Buddha in the window who calms my heart every time I walk by the center.”
Come celebrate our Second Anniversary on November 17th and join in the gratitude fest. We also have a great kirtan coming up on November 30th with the remarkable sacred chant artists Sat Purkh Kaur and Abhai Raj. Check our website for the many workshops, classes, kirtans and events as we enter our Third Year of this blessed center.
Please feel free to sign into our blog and enter your own words of gratitude in the comment area below or email a few sentences for posting to Harjot at email@example.com.
Sat Nam and Happy Second Anniversary, AquarianYoga Center! The journey of miracles continues…feel the love, joy, and gratitude!
August 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
by Kathy Livingston
After yet another inspiring class at AquarianYoga Center recently, we gathered by the yogi tea urn, and as we were chatting we suddenly realized our toes reflected both our diversity and our unity. As Lea (who took the picture above) posted on Facebook, “Happy Feet! We all really are unique!”
Coincidentally, I had just been listening to a new CD by Snatam Kaur of children’s songs called Sat Nam! One of the tracks is called “All the Colors of the Rainbow.” The chorus goes, “All the colors of the rainbow, all the colors of the rainbow, all the colors of the rainbow, that’s how I know you love me so!” It’s a very sweet song (and if you have kids, they’ll love the CD).
Even though many of us usually wear white when we practice Kundalini yoga, we are all colorful with our unique rainbow characteristics (as you can tell from our toes!). One of the things I most love about the practice is its all-inclusiveness. Kundalini yoga is for everyone, and we respect and honor each and every person’s path. I remember being surprised at one of the very first classes I ever attended, when the teacher (Akalsukh, of course!) asked us each to introduce ourselves to one another at the beginning of the session, and tell a little about ourselves. I’d never had this happen in a yoga class before. The message seemed to be, “Even though we’re all unique, we’re also all one, so let’s get to know each other!”
One of the sutras for the Aquarian Age, given to us by Yogi Bhajan, is “Recognize that the other person is you.” To me, this means that even though we may have different hairstyles, eye color (and nail polish colors), jobs, ethnic backgrounds etc., our hearts and souls still yearn for the same things. We are all here to be happy, which is our birthright. We are all here to give. We are all here to love.
I hope to see you at a class or workshop soon! In the meantime, if you can identify whose toes belong to whom in the photo above (those in the picture or present at the class when the pic was taken excluded from this offer—sorry!) I will personally buy you a copy of Snatam’s new CD. (However…I’m not sure I know the answer myself!)
July 23, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I’m a bit of a late bloomer in some areas. Many years ago, when I was in college, my dad suggested that I get my teaching certificate. I took all the courses, and even went on to get a permanent teaching certificate with my M.A., but the truth of the matter was, I didn’t really want to teach. The required student teaching segment of my training (English, to 10th graders) actually made me ill. I was so nervous each morning that I went to the college physician to get Valium (I never took it, though). In short, teaching just scared the heck out of me. I became a writer instead.
So why am I now about to embark on a Kundalini Yoga teacher training program at AquarianYoga Center with Gurudass Kaur, Akalsukh, Sat Kartar, Ravi Inder, and Kartar Singh? The reason is that my heart is full with Kundalini Yoga, and whether I ever actually teach a class or not, I want to know more…I yearn to understand more…I want to immerse myself in the magic and mystery (and yes, the science) of this technology. I realize, after nearly four years of Kundalini Yoga, that the practice has profoundly changed my life, and for that I am grateful. And I realize that I want to share what I have learned and continue to learn—whether it’s with a class full of yoga students or simply with my sons, friends, or siblings.
Yogi Bhajan, it is said, didn’t want to collect students; he wanted to create teachers. When I first heard this I thought it was rather odd. But now, going on four years into the practice, I better understand the devotion and passion that inspired him to make this statement. Yes, he wanted people to learn; but he also wanted people to teach. It is the only way to widely share the amazing benefits of this unique method of yoga… the yoga of awareness, the yoga of music, of mudra, mantra, of dancing, of spirit. I have practiced many styles of yoga in the past eight years and no contest (not that in yoga there would be a contest!), but I believe and feel that Kundalini Yoga is the most direct route to the soul.
All this is by way of saying that if you are thinking, considering, wondering, wandering, weighing, debating, and/or dreaming about becoming a Kundalini Yoga teacher now is the time and the time is now. I doubt that anyone could be more skeptical, critical, or doubtful of Kundalini Yoga than I have been….and perhaps that is why it has taken me four years to get to this point (and ps I don’t yet have a spiritual name!). But when I learned of this remarkable opportunity to study at my spiritual home with a group of phenomenal teachers my negative mind turned off and my heart said “Yes!” It is time to become a teacher.
I hope you will join me if your spirit calls you to this path. Find out more here about the first Kundalini Yoga teacher training in New Jersey, and please…sign up soon so we can begin this exciting journey together!
June 16, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Another year of miracles and growth at AYC! It’s time to celebrate Akalsukh’s birthday. We at AquarianYoga Center feel blessed to have Akalsukh in our lives; his classes are always inspiring and profound, and he answers our questions and helps us face our challenges with wisdom and patience, always guiding us to listen to our own heart, to our inner teacher, the guru within.
Happy birthday to our wonderful teacher! We are doubly blessed by the teachings of Kundalini yoga and by the dedication and knowledge of Akalsukh.
Below are some pictures from the fun-filled celebration we enjoyed after Akalsukh’s birthday class. Blessings all around!
May the long time sun shine upon you! All love surround you! And the pure light within you guide your way on.
Happy Birthday, Akalsukh!~
May 1, 2013 § Leave a Comment
by Kathy Livingston
If you’re a KY practitioner at AquarianYoga Center you most likely know our gracious and beautiful teacher, Sevakpreet Kaur (Karolina). Sevakpreet became a Kundalini Yoga teacher in 2012 and we thought it would be interesting to ask her some questions about her experience as we are soon to offer our own Kundalini Yoga teacher training here at the center with Gurudass Kaur. (Call or inquire at the front desk—training starts in September and you can sign up now!) If you are thinking about becoming a KY teacher, please check out the Aquarian Blog Interview below. (Even if you’re not presently considering this path –or already are a teacher–this inspiring chat with Karolina is well worth reading!)
AYC: Why did you want to become a teacher?
Sevakpreet: Kundalini Yoga has been very transformational and life changing for me. After knowing and experiencing the effects of Kundalini Yoga, I began to feel I wanted to share this technology with everyone around me so they could use and benefit from it in their life. At first, I didn’t really know if I would actually start teaching in a traditional way, but I knew I would use this knowledge to help the people that I care about; my two sons, my family, my friends. Also, I knew going through the training would be enriching just for my own experience and understanding of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. If I can improve my life and elevate myself to be the best I can be, it means I will be the best for the people in my life. Everyone you touch and are in contact with benefits if you are the best you can be. And that’s what a teacher is–touching and enriching the lives of everyone around you, starting with yourself.
AYC: How has teaching changed your life?
Sevakpreet: As I mentioned, when I decided to do the teacher training I didn’t know if I would actually teach. While in training we go through practicums where you teach a class to your classmates to complete the certificate. It was a very stressful time for me preparing for the practicums. After my first class though, I could not believe how well I did and how positive were the reviews of my classmates and the two teachers evaluating me! This was a life changing experience as well for me. Being a teacher means holding the space for the students to go through the experience. It means the teachings are flowing through you and the students feel safe in the space you hold for them to go deep into the experience. It is not about how great a teacher you are or how much you know, it’s about being able to connect to that part where you are not a person, not yourself, not a woman or a man, you are a vessel for the teachings to flow through! This is actually the Oath of a Teacher in Kundalini Yoga and I completely understand and I feel just that. When I am teaching, I forget about everything except being a teacher for the students in my class. I can say my life has been greatly transformed since I became a KY teacher!
AYC: What is the most important thing you learned from the KY teacher training?
Sevakpreet: Oh, this is not an easy question! Everything I learned and experienced during my teacher training is the most important thing, everything! Every single day we learned more and experienced even more. Kundalini Yoga teacher training is an intense and challenging training all the way through. But, if I have to single out one thing, I would say it was the group community that we built over the course–you know, Kathy, something like with the Child Play Yoga Training we did here at Aquarian Yoga Center in September of last year. That was only three days and you remember how well we connected with all the students, the teacher, we became a family! This is what I learned with my KY teacher training as well! The most important lesson, I guess, that you can learn with Kundalini Yoga is the feeling of being one with everyone. And the best way is in these classroom environments where you go through so much processing that you see in all of your classmates, everyone is you and you are all of them. You recognize the oneness. We all have our own story and once you start sharing it with others you see that your story is not much different than that of the person sitting next to you in class! I just became so aware of the workings of the human mind, soul and spirit. The mind tells us we are different until you reach out with your soul and see and touch the spirit in the people around you. The technology and science of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan in a teacher training environment brings out the very basic understanding of the importance of becoming a KY teacher. Spread the Love, Light and Peace to all because We are all One!
AYC: Why would you recommend this training for others?
Sevakpreet: KY teacher training is not just training to become a teacher, it is training in life! Whether you start teaching or not, you learn life lessons that will transform how you approach and live life. It will teach you to Be You! “Life is a lie if you do not achieve your Self for yourself!” – Yogi Bhajan
AYC: How did your training expand your understanding of the Kundalini yoga teachings? Do you go deeper, or what?
Sevakpreet: Oh, you most definitely go deeper! I feel the connectedness with the Golden Chain of teachers before me, with Yogi Bhajan, and I developed this connection with few of the other gurus, like Guru Nanak and Guru Ram Das. Most of all, I feel this connection with Baba Siri Chand, one of the gurus who lived to be 135 years old and looked like he was 20. Not for that fact but because he had a special lesson for me. Through his story I understand the life of a teacher (and we are all teachers, one way or another) is one of sacrifice, humility, compassion, and most importantly losing the ego. The teachings of Kundalini Yoga are vast and you can go as deep as you want. We learn and grow throughout our entire life. As Yogi Bhajan said, “If you want to know something, read about it. If you want to be an expert on something, write about it. If you want to learn something, teach it!”
AYC: Is there any advice you have for someone who may be considering doing the training but can’t decide?
Sevakpreet: If you have thought about taking the training, just do it! You know it’s coming from a place within you that knows better! I recommend this training to anyone who understands the importance of becoming a KY teacher. Anyone who feels they can learn more to become better for their own selves and for the people around them and the environment. Anyone who feels the call that there is more they can do with their lives. If you’ve thought about it, you know it! But words are good for just so much. Let’s get into the experience now! See you in class!
March 26, 2013 § Leave a Comment
By Kathy Livingston
AYC: I’m sure many of our yoga students will be excited to learn you are offering prenatal yoga classes! Why is prenatal yoga beneficial for moms-to-be?
RL: Practicing prenatal yoga will help stretch, strengthen and relax the body in preparation for childbirth, while relaxing the mind and the emotions as well. Yoga helps to make more room in the mother’s body for her growing baby, as well as for her own organs as they shift with each passing month. A prenatal yoga class also offers a time of community and reconnection with other moms-to-be.
AYC: Can you explain a little about the method you use—the Khalsa Way?
RL: The Khalsa Way Prenatal Yoga was developed by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, and is based on ancient teachings learned from Yogi Bhajan. Two important elements of Khalsa Way yoga are meditation and attention to the breath. As I learned from Gurmukh, a mother can teach her baby to breathe and to meditate before birth. As a mother deepens her breath, she deepens the connection to her baby and to her inner resourcefulness. The baby then learns this calm breathing pattern before even entering the world. The baby also learns and remembers the sweet, connected state imparted by meditation.
AYC: Sounds wonderful.
RL: I find this method of prenatal yoga to be a very complete, well rounded and authentic form of yoga. Some forms of prenatal yoga only focus on preparing the physical body for childbirth. The Khalsa Way Prenatal Yoga will help increase the mothers’ awareness of the entire pregnancy and birthing experience.
AYC: How do the postnatal classes benefit new moms?
RL: After taking the first 40 days or so to rest and connect with her new baby, mothers can begin to practice yoga to assist in the healing process after childbirth. Postnatal yoga will help the mother regain strength in the body while offering mental release from her demanding new role as a mother. In this class moms will practice gentle postures to reacquaint themselves with the abdominal muscles and to release tension in the neck, shoulders and low back.
I also like to keep the invitation open for moms to include their new babies on the mat during these classes, as a way to bond energetically during their yoga practice.
AYC: When are the classes being held?
RL: Prenatal classes are being held twice a week, on Tuesday and Sunday at 12:30 pm.
AYC: How did you get interested in teaching pre- and postnatal yoga?
RL: When I was 19 years old I witnessed a pregnant woman (about 5 months) go into urdhva dhanurasana (upward bow pose), which is a very intense backbend. I viewed this as the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, and my young mind immediately said, “that will be me!” Sixteen years later my perspectives have evolved significantly. I do not teach backbends in my prenatal classes, and I have since discovered a strength that is not only rooted in the physical, but also is rooted in love and divine grace. As a teen I was very active and health conscious, always dancing, exercising and eating well, so from my perspective this woman appeared extremely vibrant, confident and liberated. It absolutely fascinated me. This was a good introduction to yoga for a spunky teenager.
RL: Mommy & Me classes are a beautiful way to bond with your child. The structure of each class will vary according to the ages of the children. Moms will assist babies and toddlers into various yoga postures, while children ages 3 and up can participate independently.
AYC: Are there other benefits?
RL: Yes, yoga aids in brain development as it helps children develop coordination, concentration and mental focus, while creating a healthy physical body. The world is new to children and babies, and they learn mostly from exploring and having fun. During a Mommy & Me yoga class, we fuse fun and focus. As parents and children practice yoga together, they will be moving, stretching, breathing, laughing, and taking turns. During this bonding between parent and child, trust is built, self-confidence is fostered, and children begin to develop respect for others and their environment.
AYC: Sounds like a lot of fun! And you’re also teaching new Hatha yoga classes at the center, too!
RL: Yes, they’ve already started. I hope to see you there!
Editor’s Note: Please share and spread the word about Rosie’s wonderful new prenatal, postnatal, mommy & me, and Hatha yoga classes. Click here to find out more about AquarianYoga Center’s growing schedule of classes!
March 21, 2013 § Leave a Comment
By Kathy Livingston
AYC: How exciting to learn that you are offering classes for teens and tweens! Why is yoga so beneficial for teens?
SNK: Yoga is great for teens because they’re under so much stress, like all of us in this really high-pressure time and culture. Yoga really helps to strengthen the nervous system and to build focus and attention, which helps kids in school. It also helps teens deal with all the anxiety in their lives–fitting in, wearing the right clothing, and all the challenges that come along with growing up, being a human, and figuring out who you are. Kundalini yoga in particular is so helpful because it guides us to come to our true self, our Sat Nam, our true identity. It helps us to take away the masks that we wear and really shine.
AYC: Does it improve self-esteem?
SNK: It really does! Through Kundalini yoga, you come to accept your body. Along with the practical things like coordination, strength, flexibility, balance and lung capacity, it works on the whole mind-body-spirit connection.
AYC: I remember that the “monkey mind” chatter was really out of control during my teen years.
SNK: That’s common–especially during those tween years. Teens and tweens may not even really know what’s bothering them; they just know that they may be feeling out of sorts. During the teen years, the hormones are raging, and Kundalini yoga helps to balance the endocrine system, which is all about the hormones. To quiet the monkey mind as a teenager or at any stage of life is a real gift. Give yourself the gift of yoga; it will give you back the gift of your true self, your Sat Nam.
AYC: What would you say to parents who are wondering about introducing their teen or tween to this practice?
SNK: Kids are facing so many challenges and if they are drawn to something like this, there will be so many benefits. But first, I would say to a parent, the student needs to want to be there. Even though we are talking about teens or tweens, kids are sophisticated. They know their minds, so they have to feel somewhat drawn, there has to be some sort of searching in their soul, a sense that they’re looking for something. Of course, they’re going to get the physical benefits; they’ll get stronger, they’ll get more flexible, they’ll find the balance and coordination; those things are a given. But on top of that, they’ll be able to quiet the monkey mind, focus, concentrate and be true to themselves. Then, hopefully if they’re in a situation and things are going on that they really know they shouldn’t take part in, they’ll be independent enough to know that “No” is a full sentence.
AYC: That’s a great way of putting it!
SNK: They’ll be comfortable enough in their own skin to pass by some of the things that kids experiment with. People take risks or self-sabotage when their self esteem is really low. But if they have a good feeling about themselves and strength of character and commitment they’re not going to put themselves in harm’s way; they’ll have a connection to their own spirit, and that is so very important during the teen years, as in all years.
SNK: The types of breath work that we do, the amount of time that we hold postures, but basically that’s the only difference. Tweens and teens are ready and if they’re willing they are able. I’ll design each class to the students’ needs. An 8 year old and a 12 year old are very different! The tween class will run for 45 minutes and the teen for an hour.
AYC: Can you tell me a little about the adult class you’re also teaching?
SNK: It’s a gentle Kundalini yoga class with restorative relaxation. I am very excited about that because there are a lot of people who are afraid to come to yoga class because they think they need to be a pretzel! I want them to know that in this class we are going to create a really safe environment to work at your own level and provide a really deep relaxation experience.
AYC: So the first tween and teen classes commence on April 18?
SNK: Yes, we’ll be meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. I am thrilled and honored to be part of this community and I can’t wait to meet the tweens and teens that will soon be coming to my classes!
Editor’s Note: Please share this post with other parents, teens and tweens and help us spread the word about this wonderful new program at AquarianYoga Center. Classes will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:45 p.m.(tweens) and 4:45 p.m. (teens). Click here for schedule.