July 10, 2015 § Leave a comment
I fell in love with Shakti Dance™ at the first class I took with Dharma Devi last year at our Aquarian Yoga Center in Montclair NJ. I loved it so much that I knew I had to learn this beautiful art form of dance and yoga and also make it available to all the souls that can benefit and enjoy the transformative power that comes with this practice. Hence, the Teacher Training Program that started in January 2015 at AYC Montclair.
Why do I love Shakti Dance™ so much? I’ll tell you why, but first:
What is Shakti Dance™?
Shakti Dance™ is the yoga of dance. It is a sacred dance form which has its roots in the science and tradition of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. In Sanskrit the word Shakti means ‘energy,’ but it represents more than that, it is the ‘manifestation of potential,’ our capacity to act and do something. Shakti is your power, your strength and vitality; she is the force that animates you. Breathing life into something means to animate it. Animation is movement, movement is life and life is change. Shakti is your life force, the strength in your muscles, the fire of your digestion, the movement of your thoughts, the beating of your heart, but most importantly she is the breath of life.
In Hindu tradition Shakti is revered as the Divine Power, the Primal Goddess and the Great Mother. She is the female consort of Shiva who is the male principle of the Divine. Shiva and Shakti are the two sides of the same coin. Shiva Lord of the Dance is the cosmic intention, the dancer. Free flowing Shakti is the creation, the cosmic dance. So, the dancer, Shiva, and the dance, Shakti, become one and the same, merging in divine union. When, through the practice, Shakti awakens and rises she unites with Shiva in “cosmic marriage.” This is the moment of self-realization when all activity is immersed in awakened awareness.
This is Shakti Dance! Only through experience can we know and feel its benefits and impact on us and our connection to our feminine potential that finds its expression through the creative flow of dance!
Why do I love Shakti Dance? I feel free and limitless, bountiful, blissful. The sense of being free, taking a free flight and soaring above any limitation of the body and mind, is why I love Shakti Dance. Starting from the gentle, graceful stretching exercises and all through the standing free dance, the meditation, the celestial communication, through it all, I become so acutely aware of my breath, my physical body, my mind and emotions. All of this complexity merging into the one limitless soul-spirit that soars with joy, pure bliss, taking the flight into the Infinite sea of Love. Love is what I experience with Shakti Dance. Love is why I love Shakti Dance!!!
Shakti Dance™ to me is the highest form of meditation, soul expression, joy of being a woman, grace, deep devotion to the Higher Self! A dance into the unlimited self is what Shakti Dance™ is to me! The experience of limitless joy is why I love Shakti Dance™!
When you find something that you feel so strongly about, it transforms as a calling, an inner voice that is so strong and clear for me now. I feel I need to do anything possible to make this form of dance and yoga available to everyone and especially women. We need this kind of outlet to express our creativity, to unload stress, to connect on a deep level to our own soul and to all souls, to life, to let go and experience joy, to live.
Dance has been a form of expression since the beginning of time, but Shakti Dance™ is not just a dance or just yoga, it is a moving meditation in celebration of all life. It is an expression of Love! So, what I want for the world is for all the women to love yourselves, give joy to yourselves, take the time to breathe, move, meditate, dance. Experience pure love and joy and take it with you everywhere you go, give it to all the souls you touch in one way or another; make a difference. All you have to do is, do it!
And then, you tell me, why do you love Shakti Dance™?
March 20, 2015 § Leave a comment
It’s here! That beautiful time of year we’ve all been waiting for, even though we’ve enjoyed the frosty mornings and snowflakes dancing in the winter wind (haven’t we?). In any case, it’s Spring, and it’s a perfect time to ramp up your Kundalini yoga practice, just in case you’ve been letting things slide (or even if not!). Here are six reasons why Kundalini yoga at Aquarian Yoga Center is the perfect practice for spring:
- Kundalini yoga will help you energize your body for Spring! It’s time to get outside and play ball with your kids (or your dog, or both), run, walk, garden, plant flowers, and enjoy the warmer weather. Kundalini yoga will help you get back in shape (if you’re a little rusty), and rev up your system.
- The air. That wonderful mantra “Pavan Guru” reminds us of the air, the air, divine bliss, surrounding us. Kundalini yoga helps us connect to the breath and ride the flow of our breath like a wave. (True, it’s not summer yet, but beach time will be here before you know it!)
- Mantras for Spring. Kundalini yoga involves a lot of chanting, and what better time than Spring to rejoice with mantra? If you need help deciding on what mantras to choose, ask any of our Kundalini yoga teachers, and they’ll be happy to help.
- Keep your immune system strong. Yes, it’s warmer, but a change of seasons can also bring sniffles and sneezes. Kundalini yoga is the perfect practice to keep your immune system running smoothly.
- Divine Connection. Spring reminds us of the beauty of nature, and of our connection to the divine. Kundalini yoga is a spiritual as well as a physical practice; what better way to celebrate Spring than by connecting to spirit and your own soul?
- Living in the now. Winter is gone—let it go! Kundalini yoga helps us to live in the present moment. Kundalini yoga helps us release the past, stop worrying about tomorrow, and remain connected to the here and now. And what could be more here and now than…Spring? With every tulip, bee, robin, or warm breeze we’re reminded that this moment is all there is. Kundalini yoga is the Yoga of Awareness. Be here, now!
So celebrate spring with Kundalini yoga, and check out our website for exciting upcoming events, including a mantra workshop and concert with the extraordinary sacred chant artist Satkirin Kaur Khalsa, Shakti Dance workshops, vinyasa yoga classes, gong and chakra healing, and even an awesome retreat to practice Kundalini yoga in Brazil in the fall. Sat Nam!
Editor’s note: If you have essays, stories, poems or recipes you’d like to share on Aquarian Blog please email Harjot at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
December 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
By Kathy Livingston (Harjot Kaur)
Aquarian Yoga Center recently hosted a screening of Awake, the new documentary film about beloved yogi Paramhansa Yogananda. The Rialto Theatre in Westfield was filled with yogis of all traditions, many of whom have read the extraordinary book Autobiography of a Yogi, the engrossing and enlightening memoir that Yogananda penned about his life.
Yogananda brought the concept of yoga and meditation to the US in the 1920s, and established a thriving center on the West Coast. His message was that if we continue in our busy lives, forgetting to go within and connect with Spirit and our true nature, we will miss our chance to experience the bliss that is available to us in this earthly existence. Thousands of people around the world have been drawn to Yogananda’s teachings, and to his example of a life lived in a truly spiritual manner; he kept his connection to the Divine in every waking moment.
Coming together as a community to share this film and to learn about this great master was a lovely and touching experience. No matter what your yogic path, there is always room to learn from others; after all, within our hearts we are all the same, we are all creatures of God with a purpose to love and to find the happiness that is our birthright.
In this season of light, let’s remember Yogananda’s words, “Live quietly in the moment and see the beauty of all before you. The future will take care of itself…” Thank you, Aquarian Yoga Center, for sharing this quote, and for bringing this unforgettable movie to us.
Happy holy days, and may you experience the Bliss that is Divinely yours. Peace, love, and blessings to all. Sat Nam & Namaste!
October 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
By Harjot Kaur (Kathy)
This November marks the third anniversary of AquarianYoga Center Montclair, which opened on 11/11/11! Another milestone is in the making this month with the opening of a new additional center in Westfield. On October 25th, join us for a Grand Opening Celebration there! Check out the website for all the details of this fun and entertaining day, which will include yoga, dance, music, vegan food, and much, much more!
Change and growth are part of life, and as Aquarian Yoga expands and blossoms we must be ready to accept the gifts that the universe provides and flow with the river of life. Aquarian Yoga is now offering a range of classes, including prenatal yoga, Afro-Brazilian dance, Sacred Indian dance, Shakti Dance (and teacher training) and more. We also have a lot of wonderful new teachers at both centers—try out their classes and see which style and approach resonates with you! Check out the new offerings at each studio on our website.
Yoga changes lives…we all know that by now. It helps us to let go of fear, to cope with conflicting emotions, to overcome anger, to deal with grief, to calm our worries, to soothe our broken hearts. Yoga helps us to re-discover the joy in our lives, to once again find our inner child, to connect with our inner voice, to listen to and answer the call of the soul. As Aquarian Yoga continues to evolve and grow, Westfield AYC will reach out to a new community, offering the many blessings of the practice of Kundalini and other styles of yoga. This is true cause for celebration!
Let’s join together to celebrate and give thanks for yet another inspiring chapter in the continuing story of Aquarian Yoga. See you all on Saturday, October 25th at the brand new Aquarian Yoga Westfield! As we change, grow and blossom, there are many ways that we can uplift and support one another. Peace, love, and light to all! Sat Nam & Namaste.
August 30, 2014 § Leave a comment
A beautiful light shined on Aquarian Yoga Center this year. Her name: Anand Nivas Kaur. Anand Nivas is soon heading back to her homeland for a while, but we know she will return one day with her winning smile and generous heart. In the meantime, we send her our gratitude and prayers. Thank you for your light, love, and dedication, Anand Nivas! We were blessed by your presence, grace, and your stunning voice (especially at morning sadhana!). Though we will miss you, we wish you the very best as you continue on your life journey! Ang Sang Wahe Guru! Peace and love to you always.
July 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
On July 13, 2014, Aquarian Yoga Center’s first class of Kundalini Yoga teachers graduated from a year-long training with Gurudass Kaur (center). It was a momentous occasion and a miraculous year.
Below, some excerpts from our practicums: The question we answered was “What is Kundalini yoga?” Feel free to post your own definition in the comment area.
Akasha Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is known as a Raj or Royal yoga because it was once practiced only by a select few in India. Now, it has gained popularity in American culture and has come to be known as the yoga of awareness. Why is that? The practice raises one’s awareness of the multidimensional nature, of the energy body and the subtle spiritual realms. Through the use of sound vibration, breath control, precise body movements, hand gestures and eye focus, the technology of Kundalini Yoga enables the practitioner to overcome any obstacles and attain greatness.
Harjot Kundalini yoga is a technology; it’s also a spiritual and physical practice. It’s a yoga that utilizes asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), mudra (hand positions), meditation, and mantra (the repetition of sounds to achieve a certain effect). Kundalini yoga has been called the Mother of all yogas; it’s also been called the Yoga of Awareness. If you want to get to the union of body, mind, and spirit, Kundalini yoga will take you there. But more than all these things Kundalini yoga is an experience—your unique, individual experience. It’s a practice that will answer the call of your individual soul.
Savitri Kundalini Yoga is a mother yoga that teaches you, challenges you, encourages you, pokes you, embraces and loves you, to unite your finite and infinite self for you to awaken your true self. You birth again through her. SAT NAM !
Sat Kirtan Kundalini is the yoga of awareness.
Shama A Key to OUR INNER Kingdom which connects US to our Kreator of pure LOVE… An unconditional LOVE A priceless treasure which exists within each one of us. A serene peace illuminates from this inner KINGDOM as the divine has created this realm for all Kreatures on this land. An inner kingdom in which WE hold all the gifts given by our true LOVE – a white light – an unconditional LOVE. We must have the courage to unlock this Key to enter the Kingdom! For me Kundalini Yoga is my union with the divine… there is nothing like Kundalini Yoga as the one who Kreated me and sent me on my journey to experience the love and beauty of the grand kreation. It is my PEACE. Wahe Guru.
Guru Rattan Kundalini yoga offers you an experience of your true self, your sat nam, your true identity. Because it is known as the yoga of awareness…by practicing it you will become more aware of yourself. Using breath, movement, mantra, & eye focus to allow energy to flow through the body releasing all that blocks the way to you.”
This month also featured a move to a beautiful new space at 127 Valley Road. Below, a picture of Savitri leading a Celestial Communication as her son looks on at our Opening Celebration. At right, Dee (Sarabraj Kaur) with Gurudass on graduation day. Wishing love, light, and peace to all!
June 16, 2014 § Leave a comment
by Kathy Livingston (Harjot Kaur)
After class on Sunday we had a little surprise for Akalsukh to celebrate his birthday. Happy birthday, and may you have a year of blessings ahead, Akalsukh!
On the same day, I brought my butterfly home—it has graced the front window since Aquarian Yoga Center’s opening in 2011. Now that we are about to move to a new space (be sure to come to the grand opening celebration on July 5!) it seemed a good time for this butterfly to fly on home for a while.
Two things I have learned from yoga are 1) Everything changes, and 2) Change is good. Change can also be scary, intimidating, annoying and uncomfortable, but unless we learn to embrace it we are sure to suffer, because everything, everything… changes. To be happy we must learn to let go, flow, and be in the now.
I have also learned a lot of other things from yoga. Thanks to Akalsukh and Kundalini yoga, I have learned to be patient and positive, two things I always struggled with in the past. Kundalini yoga and that wonderful Yogi Bhajan lecture “Patience Pays,” teaches us that the hand of the Divine will take care of us—that our Creator will be there for us always, and though we may not always see the big picture or understand why things are happening in a particular way, we can be certain that there is a reason: All we need to do is trust and “Let the hand of God work for you.”
As we move to a new location at 127 Valley Road and begin a new chapter in the continuing story of Aquarian Yoga Center, may we all stay present, and fill our hearts with gratitude, knowing deep within that whatever comes next is exactly what is meant to be.
Happy Birthday to Akalsukh, and happy new home to Aquarian Yoga Center! Sat Nam and blessings to all.~