European Yoga Festival 2010: The Yoga of Radiance
By Panch Nishan Kaur Khalsa, 3HO International Community Relations
In 1977, seventy people from a handful of European countries gathered to practice the science of Kundalini Yoga and the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. The festival grew by about 10% every year until 2009 when the growth jumped to 25%. In 2010 it grew another 10% creating the largest Kundalini Yoga event in the world with over 2,300 participants representing all of the world’s continents (except for Antarctica)! These numbers reflect the times and challenges we face as a humanity as we transition into the Age of Aquarius and experience the longing to come together as one family to meditate, practice yoga, and awaken our consciousness.
It has been a blessing to attend the European Yoga Festival over the past 6 years and watch the communities in many European countries blossom. I missed the festival in 2009 so the growth was even more apparent to me this year. In Russia alone there were about 15 people attending the yoga festival in 2008, and this year there were around 70! It is such an inspiration to see how these teachings have their own life as they spread and become available to serve those looking to awaken and transform their lives.
The practice of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®, meditation, recitation of Shabd Guru, and White Tantric Yoga® are great tools for personal growth. My own journey of transformation unfolded as I participated in the festival. When I look around at my family, friends, and many of our 3HO® communities around the world, I see profound changes taking place for people both personally and collectively. These are exciting times in which to be living and serving together as a Global Community of Living Yoga.
The Yoga of Radiance was the theme threading through all the classes and workshops held during this year’s festival. The number 10 represents the Radiant Body in tantric numerology. It was my experience that simply being at the yoga festival activated my Radiant Body. The Radiant Body signifies courage and the ability to magnify all things whether good or bad. The Radiant Body is the light of your light beyond your aura. It is composed of a 1 and a 0, all or nothing, where life happens in between the two, finding balance. Mastery of the Radiant Body gives magnetic presence, courage in the face of any obstacle, and commands the respect of all who know you.
Krishna Kaur from Los Angeles, USA was a special guest teacher and taught a strong, all-festival class of over 1,000 people. Royal courage was the class theme and we did 108 frogs as well as the most enjoyable running in place I have ever experienced to the sound of African drum beats resounding from the tent. Krishna took us into a meditation on forgiveness that offered the opportunity to look into the past and find a moment where you were misunderstood, and to forgive those who couldn’t see who you were.
Every evening a yoga class was held and as the sun gave off its last shimmer of light and twilight settled, a healing circle gathered to bless all those present, all of humanity, and our Mother Earth, with recitation of the mantra Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung. The beauty and power of the prayer we created was palpable.
Around the World
I had the blessing to meet with many teachers from around the world hearing stories from both younger leaders and those who have been keeping up and building community in Europe for decades. It is beautiful to see the strength and unity across generations and the consciousness of collaboration in service.
Jiwan Mukta Singh, who was previously living in Spain, was inspired through meditation on Yogi Bhajan to move to Finland with his wife, Sat Darshan Kaur, as pioneer Kundalini Yoga teachers. Over the past five years they have built community, are offering Teacher Training, and were instrumental in creating the Teacher’s Association.
Siri Avtar Kaur and Siri Bani Kaur from Iceland shared their experience building community from scratch and teaching in hospital. One tip they offer to anyone wanting to teach Kundalini Yoga in hospital is to first start with the staff and give them an experience.
Our family in Russia, after years of intention and hard work, recently launched an association for Kundalini Yoga teachers creating a platform and group consciousness for all teachers in Russia.
Oh Blissful Night
After experiencing this year’s closing ceremony led by Satya Singh (who is masterful at creating ceremony), I never want to miss another one again! Dusk settled in and the night sky filled with flickering stars, as light from thousands of souls illumined the lake. Satya Singh guided us on a meditative journey where gongs echoed from each end of the lake, one attuned to the sun and one attuned to the moon, balancing polarities. Then we were guided to formulate a prayer, a hope welling up from within, to carry us through the coming year. Once each person had the clarity of their prayer, we were guided to light a candle or turn on a flashlight as Prabhu Nam Kaur sang a translation of Guru Arjan’s words, “Oh Blissful night, long be thy hours, and troubled sleep be brief. I have a tryst with the One I Love, I long to touch God’s Lotus Feet.” Each person lit their light creating an illuminated circle mirroring the circle of the Earth as we chanted and sang.
I sat in the circle next to two people I had not met before this evening. As we held hands, I felt the challenges and disappointments of the past year melt away and dissipate into the unity formed around the circle, recognizing deeply that this is my family, this is our 3HO family. Whether we have met or we have yet to meet, we are a family of consciousness around the world united in lineage of Ong Namo Guru Nev Namo. We are never alone, we are one, and we are united in our prayers, in our practice, and in our consciousness to live in the frequency of Sat Nam, bringing forward the truth of our identity uninhibited. This night it was as if we were one heart beating around the lake in Fondjouan, France. Today we are one Global Community as we greet each day with Sat Nam.
For a few videos and photos check out the European Yoga Festival Facebook Page.