Ella Isakov, Yoga Editor:Sat Dharam Kaur is highly respected in the Kundalini world and in naturopathic medicine for her years of dedication to women’s health and addiction recovery. She has published books, created programs and dedicates her life to sharing her wisdom and experience with students and future teachers, and it is her deep desire that everyone find self-acceptance and well-being.
Parvati Magazine: You have studied Kundalini Yoga with Yogi Bhajan since 1976. How did you meet? What is the greatest wisdom he instilled in you that you carry on to your students?
Sat Dharam Kaur: I met Yogi Bhajan at a White Tantric Yoga event in Toronto in 1976. The experience was life-changing, and I have been attending White Tantric Yoga courses annually ever since. Some weeks after Yogi Bhajan’s death in 2004, I had a tangible experience of his energy coming into me. This surprised me, and it was then that I realized that each of us can be a vehicle for truth and wisdom, even with our human imperfections. We simply need to get out of the way and allow the energy that wants to express itself come through us. This occurs when we are relaxed and accept ourselves as we are. Trust the present moment, accept what it brings, and show up with awareness, humility, authenticity and service.
PMAG: Kundalini is a dormant energy lying at the base of the spine that can rise up to awaken the seven chakras. Full enlightenment occurs when the energy reaches to the crown chakra. How does this relate to a deeper understanding of life and self?
SDK: My own experiences of kundalini awakening have caused me to shift my perspective and priorities in life. An early meditative experience revealed to me that the nature of the universe and being is love, unity, wisdom and non-attachment – these qualities form the underlying ground of existence, permeating everything. The practice of Kundalini Yoga cultivates this awareness as an ongoing experience and perspective. The challenge in life is to carry this awareness throughout the day and into our dealings with others.
PMAG: You are a Naturopathic Doctor as well as a Kundalini yoga teacher; how do the two feed each other to create greater insight into body, heart and mind?
SDK: Both disciplines recognize the interdependence of mind, body and spirit and acknowledge that the glue that holds the body together is “prana” (life force energy). Consciousness resides in the body in every cell and is present in every breath.
What the yogis understood thousands of years ago – namely that our thoughts create our reality. What we think and feel matters. Our thinking patterns can become symptoms or can encourage health and well-being – we choose.
During yoga and meditation practice, we give ourselves a vacation from habitual thought patterns that can make us sick. When we chant mantras we align with our spirit and the Source through sound vibrations. The body’s natural state is one of health – that’s what it knows how to do best. When stillness and spaciousness are the result of meditation practice, we access our innate capacity to heal.
The practice of Kundalini Yoga enhances awareness and sensitivity towards the energy patterns of the body. We can observe when the tissues are reacting with a state of contraction (a “no”), or expansion (a “yes”) and learn to trust the wisdom of the body. We become more intuitive as we listen to the body’s responses to people and events. We become sensitive to patterns of energy flow in and around the body.
PMAG: You have been highly recognized for the programs and books you created for women’s health, specifically breast health. What advice can you give women to ensure optimal health and vitality of life?
practice a pranayama every day for 11 minutes or longer
exercise at least four hours a week – something aerobic
eat a vegetarian, low glycemic diet
make your daily self-care routines a priority, as well as play
practice saying “no” when you feel a state of contraction in the body
find a mantra you love and repeat it out loud or silently as often as possible until it becomes automatic and a trusted companion
get eight hours of sleep each night
drink three liters of water a day
use 45 grams of fiber a day; including at least two tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily
start your morning with a cold shower
check your vitamin D levels and bring them into the high normal range by taking D3
PMAG: Through your forty years of practice infusing Kundalini yoga and different healing modalities, what do you feel is the key ingredient to cultivating inner knowing and intelligence?
SDK: Being disciplined with a daily spiritual practice, approached with an attitude of acceptance and devotion. Practicing before the sun rises has the most profound effect to cultivate inner knowing and happiness.
Yogi Bhajan called Sat Dharam Kaur a “teacher of teachers and healer of healers”. She is a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher trainer and instructor, author, and naturopathic doctor based in Owen Sound. She teaches Master Workshops and The Healthy Breast Program at Lotus Yoga Centre in Toronto, as well as an annual 200 hour Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training beginning Feb 5, 2016.
Sat Dharam began studying Kundalini Yoga with Yogi Bhajan in 1976 and has been teaching for almost 40 years. She facilitates Kundalini Yoga teacher training programs across Canada and has developed Kundalini Yoga programs for addiction recovery and breast cancer prevention which she teaches internationally. She has been a featured teacher at the Toronto Yoga Show for many years, and often lectures at naturopathic conferences. She has written several best selling books including The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Breast Cancer and The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women’s Health. Sat Dharam is also the original founder of Lotus Yoga Centre in Toronto. For more information, visit satdharamkaur.com.