Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo….why?
At Kundalini Yoga in Detroit, I teach Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan (ATBYB). However, I do not wrap my head in a white turban anymore, and I do not consistently wear all white.
All kundalini yoga classes in this tradition have five parts. More on this later!
At the beginning of every class, we settle into our mats and allow the prevailing winds and clouds that are our thoughts, our mood, our feelings and our worries, to subside and weaken in importance. We look inward for what we truly are—present moment awareness, and set an intention to stay in the present moment and pay attention to the wisdom in our bodies. We do pranayama…breath control…to activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest) and to ready our bodies and minds for practice. We spend three to five minutes here, before inhaling to chant: ONG NAMO GURU DEV NAMO, three times at least.
What does it mean? Let’s take a look at the words, which are Gurmukhi.
Ong—references the initial sound of a gong being struck…which refers to the Creative Source of Everything’s first action to create a vibration. A word for Logos, for Causality, for The One, or God…First source of all Creation, Divine, all-powerful, eternal.
Namo—means To You, I bow, or I give myself over to, or I surrender to
Guru Dev—(guru dave) refers to my own life force which will tell me the truth of my nature, the inner teacher that I am learning how to listen to, and how to obey, this master of Truth (myself) which comes out of Ong… Guru Dev is my reality and my realization of formlessness, infomed. We really are the meeting of all that is eternal with all that is temporary.
Namo—to this, I bow, again and again.
We chant this mantra to remind us above all else, that we are here to listen to our inner awareness, our eternal and wise divine inner presence, to guide our practice. We may sit at the foot of a teacher, or even someday, a great guru, but we bow in loyalty and love to God and God’s spark in ourself, and not to what is present in the world of FORM.
On a lighter note, it's a reminder to not under-do, or overdo the postures in service to the ego, or to try to be like somebody else, or to show off...it's a reminder that egoic satisfaction is not our primary intention. That's the pathway to injury.
This mantra should be performed before beginning a practice at home, as well. Do not forget, or neglect, to tune in.
New Schedule for December 2023 through February 2024.
Subject to changes...the app and website will be updated when changes become effective.
Private sessions are $30 for 90 minutes
Classes are $15 for 90 minutes
Gong Immersions are $30 for one hour sessions
Meditation is any donation; suggested $10; includes refreshments.
While you may pre-pay within the app, I prefer payment via cash or Venmo/Cashapp/Zelle at class time, because there is a fee taken with each payout from WIX, my website server.
Monday--closed except for private sessions at 1 pm and 4 pm; check for availability on the app or website, or text me the day before
Tuesday--11 am Kundalini Yoga class
5 pm Kundalini Yoga class
Wednesday--11 am Kundalini Yoga class
6:30 pm Kundalini Yoga class
Thursday --Private class available at 5 pm
Friday-- closed except for private sessions at 1 pm
Saturday --11 am Kundalini Yoga class
Sunday --11 am Kundalini Yoga class
5 pm Meditation exploration class
5:45 pm Gong Immersion
Not to scold anyone, as I don't have issues with my students, but for brand new people who are thinking of joining a class, please note there are No walks-ins without pre-registration; and a response to my text reminders day of class is required.
IF YOU ARE NOT FEELING WELL PLEASE CANCEL.
There is a 12-hour booking window for all classes and private sessions.
How is Kundalini Yoga class different from another kind of yoga class?
A kundalini yoga class, ATBYB, has five distinct parts which distinguish it from a hatha, or vinyasa, or Iyengar, or yin, or ashtanga, or any other named yoga offerings.
Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo is chanted three times at least.
Some breath control, or pranayama, is taught. Every class teaches Long Slow Deep Breathing.
The teacher uses a kriya, or a specific set of exercises, to form the posture, or asana, part of the class. A kriya is a recipe; it is not made up by the teacher, but by a kundalini yoga master. The last posture is familiar to all yoga classes, the Shavasana (a lie-down, corpse pose) with, or without, gong; not all teachers have gongs, so soft mantra music (in the genre of kundalini yoga) may be played. Gongs were popularized by Kundalini Yoga teachers.
A meditation is taught, which usually features a mantra. A mantra is a sacred phrase. We almost always chant/sing in kundalini yoga class. This form of yoga has a rich and varied catalog of manta music, made by musicians who have studied kundalini yoga, and are mostly teachers. Sometimes the meditation is skipped if there is no time left—all classes are usually 90 minutes. The shavasana is the meditation.
Tune out: Some version of Long Time Sun is sung, and/or three long SAT NAMs are chanted to close the class
OPTIONAL: Yogi tea and fellowship follow the tune out for grounding and processing.
Sat Nam....my self-realization as Oneness is my identity...I abandon all Forms as my identity.
Is Kundalini Yoga a cult? Do I have to be worried about this?
Guru Jagat, in Los Angeles, teaching a Kundalini Yoga class. RA MA TV still functions as a corporation to bring Kundalini Yoga to the masses.
For more Guru Jagat, a famous kundalini yoga teacher, and "almost-a-cult leader, " see the link:
I get asked this question every once in awhile, so i thought I'd address it here.
Kundalini Yoga in Detroit (KYD) is not an ashram, or a place of worship, or studio concerned with Yoga Teacher Training. It is not a New Age Center where the esoteric arts are explored. Those who teach here seek to free themselves from the tyranny of the Mind’s desire to know. KYD is not involved in any allegiance to any corporation, church, or system of beliefs. We do not practice Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any other formalized religion. We are not Buddhists, we are not Sikh. We graciously and mindfully chant Sikh mantras, as is the tradition of Kundalini Yoga ATBYB, who was Sikh. We honor the Truth in all the world’s religions, which at their heart recognize Non-Duality. So it follows that we are not members of any cults, Pagan or New-Age, and we do not teach anything beyond our direct experiences, and our "understanding" of Non-Dualism.
Were some people who practiced Kundalini Yoga in a cult? Yes. Their guru died in 2004. Guru Jagat, an heir apparent, died in 2021. The senior teachers who came up with Yogi Bhajan do not appear interested in and/or capable of taking up the mantle of a cult leader. Rest assured the issue of the cult of Yogi Bhajan is all but dead at this point in 2023. Beware new wannabes, however.
Some people feel the need to join a cult and will seek them out and change their whole lives to belong, as they seek alleviation of their suffering, or their feelings of emptiness, or whatever is troubling them. If that is their journey, so be it. We all have to walk our paths. I have not joined a cult, and I have not been under anyone’s influence, other than my parents, in my life. I will not lead you down that path.
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and then all of the activity associated around Christmas begins in earnest as the whirlwind of merry-making in Europe, North and South America begins. 'Tis the season to remember the birth of a great guru; one who sought to teach the unconditional love of the One for All.
For some of us, this is a lovely time of year. We have somehow managed to work out with whom we will be spending the precious days off work, without angering anyone. We have also somehow to figured out how to behave under circumstances which are trying our patience moment by moment.
Some of us have even managed to spend our quality time with other people who are at the same place of realization as we are! We have found our tribe and we will meet them with joy and laughter.
But there are other circumstances as well. Unavoidable days and nights spent with our loved ones, who actually would drive us crazier if we didn’t have some tools in our box. Some of us must manage time spent with people who are angry, or drink too much, or who are insensitive, or who are deeply asleep in their own dreams, dreams which can be hellish for them. We are also managing our issues with our health, with travel, with time off work, with food, with drink, with parents, with children, and, yes, sometimes, with God. It’s quite a party, and most if not all of the attendees are metaphorically drunk.
Let's say, metaphorically, you're going to be the only sober one there. What will you do?
If you choose to remain sober at this party of 100% drunk people, some of whom are just a little tipsy and running the gamut to black-out drunk, how will you manage to make the party not about your ego, which WILL GET HURT, but about the present moment awareness that you ARE?
If you are sober and your dance partners are drunk, how do you handle it?
You can leave the party and go home and be by yourself.
You can stand outside on the porch and freeze, isolating your self from the chaos and drama.
You can stick next to the least drunk person and never leave their side, insulating yourself from the drama of socializing.
You can spend most of the time near the least drunks of the bunch, and keep it light, try to nod and smile a lot as they talk to you. It’ll be fun if you keep it light. Good time to practice present moment awareness and allowing everything to be as it is.
You can start drinking and go unconscious and join in the drama, adding to the chaos.
You can wander around and listen to the drama, being fully present, offering your help when asked, loving everybody unconditionally because you know that they are drunk, or asleep in their dream, and so it’s not about you, it’s about them. Let them have their illusions. Don’t take anything personally and forgive misbehavior automatically, and with compassion. Breathe. Humans misbehaving is the nature of the Human Drama.
This night too, shall pass. It might be the last time you spend time with this person, this group. None of us is promised tomorrow. Spend your time behaving in such a way as to be able to look back at it and be content with your actions. So that, just in case there is a life review when we die, you will not be Cringing.
Spending time alone nourishing these thoughts and nourishing your body is time well spent in preparation for the festivities.
Learn some basic yoga postures, some basic breathwork, some mediation practices you can stick with. I promise having a tool box will make your life so much easier to deal with.
Happy Holidays! And Sat Nam.