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Urban Yoga Chicago—It Takes a Village

By Savitree Kaur

I can’t think of one great thing that has happened in my life that happened by me alone. Likewise, when I read stories of great people and events in history, it becomes very clear that many players were involved. It is through Oneness—not Loneliness, that great things happen.

While creating community can be a lot of work, it is immensely fulfilling, the experience of which increases exponentially with each new member.

In the winter of 2015, I was asked to start a children’s meditation class. One parent’s desire to have meditation for her child prompted efforts to find other families who might benefit from this class. We started with a class of about 8 middle school boys, and we called them the Middle School Marvels. They were amazing, and I am pretty sure that we learned even more from them than they learned from us.

Musical artist Sat Purkh Kaur was scheduled for a kirtan at our studio early that Spring, and we decided to surprise her with a little performance of our own.

The Middle School Marvels created a celestial communication to Sat Purkh’s song “Allah Allah.” We put the tutorial together on YouTube with the help of a few of the Marvels, and then distributed them to our community to learn in time for the kirtan. It was kept top secret, and we successfully pulled it off without Sat Purkh or her husband, Abhai Raj Singh, finding out.

Click here to see the tutorial.

We are pretty sure Sat Purkh thought we were over the top (as in annoying) when we contacted her to make sure she sang certain songs without getting too suspicious about it. I mean, who does that?

This next video is us at the kirtan as Sat Purkh begins Allah Allah. She had her eyes closed as she began, and Abhai Raj and Jeff (the percussionist) looked on at the audience participants in absolute surprise, looking back at Sat Purkh from time to time to see her reaction. When she finally opened her eyes, she was in tears—which you can’t see in this video—but she did a fantastic job of holding herself together as she got through her song beautifully with her angelic voice, as she watched the room do this marvelous thing in her honor. The room was in pure bliss, witnessing this “finished product” of community coming together to offer this unique gift to their guest performer. They also got to see the result of what our children put together. We were so proud of and inspired by them.

Click here to see the Allah Allah Celestial Communication kirtan

This success has prompted us to continue to offer and create programs driven by community. Middle School Marvels is now called Sacred Playground, which opens the children’s meditation classes to both girls and boys ages 8 to 14, and Yoga for Children for ages 4-7. We offer Ayurveda Inspired Vegetarian Cooking classes because our tribe requested lessons and discussions on how to nourish themselves and their family in a way that supports a more conscious and busy lifestyle.

Once in our studio, its layout leads our visitors directly to either our kitchen’s island where one helps oneself to yogi tea or filtered water, or to the steps up to the lofted area where most of the Kundalini Yoga and meditations are practiced. Our space is very unique from what a typical yoga studio looks like, eliciting a feeling of being at home and wanting to move in. One lady said, “I love this place! It is so honest!”

Sometimes after class, students hang in the upstairs loft to stretch or lie there for a moment while others sit at the kitchen island to experience community over tea, the smell of which greets every visitor as they walk in—the fragrance permanently infused into UYCs airspace. These are moments when conversation, inquiry and sangat spontaneously emerges and Spirit is fed.

Savitree Kaur, E-RYT 200 and KRI certified, is co-founder of Urban Yoga Chicago, a Kundalini Yoga, meditation and wellness center in South Evanston, IL. She offers small group classes, private sessions and meditation courses for adults and children. Her strength is in helping individuals customize their meditation practice to serve their highest goals. She is also mom to two beautiful teenaged children. For more on Savitree, seeSavitreeKaur.com. For more on the work that she does, see UrbanYogaChicago.org and BlissfulAreWe.com.