By Bhavanjot Kaur
“You need vitality for victory.”
-Yogi Bhajan 12/31/92
It was over ten years ago now, but I remember my aunt pulling up in the driveway. When she got out of the car and began to walk towards the house I noticed that she did not have a smile on her face and she did not have cookies to deliver in hand, which was very unusual. Something was not right.
As she walked through the door, I saw the devastation in her face and I knew something was horribly wrong. In just a few short moments, I learned that my beloved uncle had been murdered and his son, my cousin, was in critical care fighting for his life as he had been near beaten to death and pulled out of the burning house just in time. It was a day I won't soon forget.
It was only about a year later when I learned that my other aunt had taken her life. It would seem that the loss of her brother was too much to bear. I remember sitting outside of my workplace holding my sister’s hand as we both had our ears up to the phone as we were told the news. We both were shaking as tears fell from our eyes.
During this time in my life my vitality was low. I had no real sense of victory. I felt only the shock and stress. I did not know God. I had never experienced Guru Ram Das. I had no spiritual practice. I did not do yoga or meditate. I was a runner and that is exactly what I did. I would run literally and metaphorically. Some might say I was running from my problems. Others might suggest I was running to something better. Either way I ran until I no longer could.
A few years later I shattered my right leg, which landed me in an emergency surgery that left me with pins, screws and a titanium rod from the knee to the ankle implanted in my leg. I was in bed with unbearable pain. I was on valium and several pain killers and my leg was wrapped in ice almost twenty four hours a day. My leg completely atrophied and I could not walk without a walker or crutches. I had a second surgery that left me with debilitating nerve damage pain. There was nothing I could run from and nothing I could run to.
What I will refer to as a series of mystical events occurred in a very short amount of time that essentially catapulted me onto a yoga mat for the first time—in a workshop at Kripalu taught by Snatam Kaur. I immediately knew after three days of doing Kundalini Yoga that I was supposed to be a teacher of this practice.
“First we create habits and then habits create us.”
-Yogi Bhajan 2/5/1992
In the middle of my level one Kundalini Yoga teacher training course, I hopped on a plane from Connecticut to Santa Monica to take the level 2 Stress & Vitality course. During these trainings, I learned how to expand and strengthen my aura with the Ego Eradicator. I learned how to balance my body and mind with Cat- Cow*. I learned how to clear my arc lines and release my frustration with Fists of Anger. I practiced the Meditation for Healing Addictions to work through addictive thought patterns and habits. I practiced the Meditation for Prosperity II to connect to source where there is an infinite flow of abundance.
I practiced these daily and many other kriyas and meditations as taught by Yogi Bhajan. These trainings created my habit of Kundalini Yoga. I was managing daily stress by expanding, balancing, eliminating addiction, releasing anger and tapping into prosperity in a way that I never had before. I became a disciplined yogi. I was building up strength and endurance. Some might even say that I was being prepared to face what was to come.
“Spread the light and the grace and be alert. Take cold showers. Meditate. And pray. So that adversity may not make you a victim. Difficulty is very simple. You have to decide between victory and being a victim. You understand? And the choice is yours. It is a free choice.”
During my trainings and thereafter, I went through a series of very stressful situations and experienced shock in ways that I never could have imagined. I went through a painful separation from my daughter’s father. A short time later, I supported my very young daughter as she overcame a rare childhood kidney cancer. In the midst of my daughter’s treatment, her father was incarcerated for vehicular manslaughter.
I faced all of these challenges day in and day out with the blessing of my practice of Kundalini Yoga, without which I am not sure how I would have made it through. I am eternally grateful for my practices as they have given me the chance to face myself, to face God, and to face life in a way that I never have before. These teachings give me the vitality I need to experience victory over time and space again and again.
“Victory is my goal, victory is my strength. Victory is my guide, victory is my teacher. Just learn one word, "Victory." It is a very wonderful word. Start the year with the word victory. You are already in it. Repeat it as many times as you can to engrave it in your every molecule, "Victory!" Repeat it and make it the mantra of the year. The very mental utterance of this word is my gift to you. Bless you, be beautiful, be bountiful, be helpful, be your own grace. Best of the New Year and life as may be. Let the wind be behind you, angels dance with you and your consciousness guide you to victory.”
-Yogi Bhajan 12/31/1992
*Cat-Cow. Come onto the hands and knees. The hands are shoulder-width apart with the fingers pointing forward. The knees are directly below the hips. Inhale and tilt the pelvis forward, arching the spine down, and stretching the head and neck back. Then exhale and tilt the pelvis the opposite way, arching the spine up and bring the chin to the chest. Make the motion very smooth in transition. This is a wonderful exercise for the entire spine. Continue for 2 minutes.
Bhavanjot Kaur is the owner and founder of Hamsa Healing Arts in Old Saybrook, CT. Bhavanjot is a Kundalini yoga teacher, Reiki Master & Teacher, Craniosacral therapy practitioner and she also offers sound therapy with a 32" gong. Bhavanjot hosts a local women's circle and various workshops on therapeutic grade essential oils, medicinal mushrooms and The Art of Reiki Levels I and II. She is a proud single mother to a beautiful and delightful four-year-old little girl who overcame a rare childhood kidney cancer.