Here, you'll discover how to excel through life by cultivating and developing
"Sadhana -- Communicating with your soul.
"Sadhana means Spiritual Practice. It is the 10% of our time that we
“It is a human tendency to like to sleep between 3 am and 6 am. It’s natural.
"You cannot achieve or crystallize yourself in your life without discipline." Yogi Bhajan
"The most difficult thing is the decision to act. The rest is merely tenacity." Amelia Earhart
"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to show up. It's called commitment." Hari Singh
Sadhana is the key to helping us move through every step and challenge of life with greater
Sat Nam. This volume is dedicated to my teacher, Yogi Bhajan, without whom it could not have been compiled. His sage and saintly touch and guidance over three decades was one of life’s greatest blessings for me. And I know it has been so for many others who had the good fortune to spend time with him.
Early morning Sadhana is the practice that Yogi Bhajan constantly emphasized during his approximately four decades of worldwide teaching. It became commonplace to hear him refer to Sadhana in lectures and classes, as the basis from which many of our successes and victories in life would spring, and be kept in balance. If we wish to flourish in any endeavor and within every realm of our life, morning Sadhana is a must. And it is my honor and privilege, after forty-one years of steady practice (being taught and personally guided by Yogi Bhajan for thirty of those years) to convey my sense of why every Kundalini Yoga student, teacher, and teacher trainer is best served when they work at fully immersing themselves in morning Sadhana, whether that be by way of a group or solitary practice. See Morning Sadhana Resources.
NOTE: What you are reading below is an early draft of my book, ‘The Essential Element’. The final version approved by the Kundalini Research Institute in which much content has been added and refined is now available at these links: Apple iBook, Adobe pdf or Kindle edition. Please read on.
Sat Nam. The sacred science of Kundalini Yoga and it’s ingenious and innovative techniques of Meditation afford each and every practitioner a rare opportunity. It facilitates discovering strength in one’s uniqueness, then enables one to work at polishing the facets of their singular gifts. I believe each and everyone of us comes to this life with gifts which only we have. In time, with consistent practice and purposeful aligning of oneself with the Universal Force behind all that is, creative brilliance will begin to shine through that person. Numerous opportunities will appear and prosperity beyond all expectation will start manifesting for them.
Jot Singh Khalsa
. Why should we do Morning Sadhana?
POINTS TO PONDER
"This mind, from life, after life, after life, has built up dirt and blackness and it
"A daily Sadhana practice is a must for any yoga teacher.
"Every accomplishment begins with the decision to show up." -- Hari Singh Bird
Many of us may begin our day with a shower or bath to cleanse our physical body, to feel good and clean. Yogi Bhajan brought to our attention that we could feel amazing, if we took that a step further and cleaned and tuned our mind with a glandular tune-up via Kundalini Yoga and Meditation on the One who rotates the earth and takes care of our routines. See Morning Sadhana Resources.
He urged that we spend about 1/10th of our day doing our Kundalini Yoga and meditation practice, and assured us that the Universe would provide back to us 10 times the effort we had exerted, in blessings and bounty.
He also said don’t be a fanatic about anything, so if that amount of time is way more than you feel your schedule currently permits or you are ready for, don’t worry about it and do as much as you feel you can.
Consistency with one’s Kundalini Yoga practice serves well, and was stressed by the Master. It builds tangible results in how radiant, elevated, joyful, and insightful one feels and how excellently one might behave in their life. Working to develop that consistency seems to come with a constant variety of challenges to do just that. Persevere - if it were easy, we might all be remarkable and manifesting incredible things in our lives!
What does it feel like to be a radiant person? Human radiance is something extraordinary -- where a light shines from within, one is deeply grateful, happy, carefree and ebullient. It affords us big, sincere smiles and a growing efficacy in dealing with everything and working with everyone. You will notice this kind of difference through a daily practice. Build your consistency -- whatever time of the day you can manage. Once you do that, then endeavor to aim at shifting the structure of your life’s schedule so that you can practice between the hours of 4 and 7 A.M. in your respective time zone. Yogi Bhajan conveyed that during this time period the angle of the sun’s rays shining on the earth, as well as the quietness, make practicing Kundalini Yoga and Meditation up to 40 times more powerful than any other time of the day. Experiment, and see for yourself.
Yogi Bhajan wrote me a letter early on, and shared that the power of a group Sadhana was exponential. It would take just one person opening themselves to the Infinite to elevate all participants. Every single person’s effort to connect with the One, magnifies everyone else’s.
Commitment gives us Character...
Yogi Bhajan never initiated anyone into Kundalini Yoga or as his student. He said that it required self initiation and when one wished to embrace Kundalini Yoga that necessitated a commitment. One of the reasons it needs a commitment is that it can take one on a journey through lifetimes. If one has experienced profound trauma in their past which has not consciously been dealt with, this will surface into the sub-conscious mind at some point and request to be addressed and resolved with whatever means seem to be available. If one chooses not to tackle that, they will likely remain stuck there and possibly fearful and erratic in their behavior in some manner. To navigate through one’s karma, a person is well served by consciously committing to realistic goals to do their practice regularly as well as embracing White Tantric Yoga, when possible. (See White Tantra Yoga. See The Mahan Tantric. See Knock Knock Housekeeping by Ela Uczarczyk-Geske.)
If you are practicing Kundalini Yoga and meditation once a week, consider doing it three times a week. If you are practicing every day at 7 P.M., consider shifting two of those days to practice at 5 A.M., when possible. These are just examples. Reflect upon what is realistic for yourself – so that you might more easily honor your commitment. And...should you miss a day or two, or more for any reason, don’t allow yourself to feel badly! Pick yourself up, make it the best day you can, and work to honor your commitment - once again. The world needs your smiles! Do you know you can make someone’s day just by smiling at them! Try it! Smiles can be one of the precursors to prosperity!
Preferably, have not eaten anything before you practice. Have water with you or consume enough to keep you well hydrated through your practice. Adequate water consumption assists in keeping the mind alert. Allow enough time to do a yoga set (even if it's abbreviated) or some powerful Kundalini Yoga warmups (listed in chapter 5) before you meditate. This will tune up the various glands, energize and awaken you and assist you to meditate more deeply.
If you are participating in a group practice, encourage a forum for people to discuss and share their experiences, as well as making suggestions relevant to the group practice and process.
Yogi Bhajan said at the last Men’s class he taught in August 1997 (possibly during one of the breaks) ‘all one has to do in meditation is listen to one’s own sounds’. Meaning -- deeply listen and keep listening to your own repetitions of the mantra you are using in meditation. Mostly in Kundalini Yoga and Meditation we are using mantras. If your mind is thinking about anything in your life besides just hearing your mantric repetitions -- you are spacing out. We all do it a lot, until we learn to focus deeply and even then we are likely to be distracted some.
In the Sikh Scripture (Siri Guru Granth Sahib) there are numerous references to the need of having one-pointedness of mind to merge in the One Creator Lord. This seems to apply to our yogic practices as well. Try this technique and when you catch the mind wandering, gently bring it back to a riveting focus of hearing your sounds. With consistent practice you will stop/cut the incessant thought pattern, and the result will lead you to inner vitality, a state of being coined by Yogi Bhajan. There, all mental and emotional stresses are neutralized! This requires constant practice, a clean temple (your physical body) and the grace of the One (covered in the chapter on Service). Your intuition will also be triggered in large way through this process. Yogi Bhajan also said ‘meditation is when God talks to us’. So in your process of working towards having riveting focus with your mind, hearing your sounds (whether chanting out loud or silently) expect that the Universe/the One will send you messages -- and these might be things you would be well served to make note of -- or risk not remembering them. And the Master said this is okay. Just go right back to powerful focus once you note something(s). I find myself constantly making quick notes in my smartphone and then returning to meditation. (This started, when as manager of the Solstice Sadhana kitchens, I found that essential information was arriving during my Sadhana meditation at these events, and if I didn't take notes, some details of that days food servings might not have happened).
Yogi Bhajan also encouraged a strict vegetarian diet, and suggested lots of green vegetables to cleanse and support our yogic lifestyle. Raw vegetable juicing is another way to detoxify and cleanse your system, rejuvenate your inner organs and entire nervous system. It can increase vitality levels and keep you feeling energetic and youthful. Because of the easy assimilability of fresh raw vegetable juices and their supplemental nutritional value (using organic vegetables is best - when possible), I consider raw vegetable juicing one of the fountains of youth! (Some fruit juicing is okay, although consuming juices at a minimum is suggested since too much will create a sugar imbalance.)
Everyone must discover there own methods in working to establish a daily morning Sadhana practice (principally around naps/getting adequate sleep). If you are employed by someone else, you must be well rested so as not to be yawning, feeling lethargic or seeing your productivity declining at work. These behaviors will not be looked upon favorably for long from management. Short naps can be effective and Yogi Bhajan shared that exercise is the best vitamin. Participating in regular aerobic exercise is essential to achieving vibrant health, and will support enhanced alertness in general.
If you have children you must of course take care of their needs, and contemplate how you can create the time for your own practice. Eating lightly at night and as early as feasible can help you need a minimum amount of sleep and still wake up early feeling rested. I generally have my largest meal at lunchtime, and try to eat dinner between 6 and 7 P.M., at the latest.
Generally, it serves you well to challenge yourself during a yoga set, without causing injury, of course. (When Yogi Bhajan taught Kundailini Yoga – it often was quite demanding). This will create a powerful experience that will elevate your consciousness out of present preoccupations, to a neutral state. On a cellular level, it will stimulate and balance the glandular systems, enhancing the possibility that you may meditate deeply. If you choose a yoga set that starts off very challenging, consider doing some of the warmups below first.
The Pineal Gland is a pinecone-shaped tissue located in the central brain.
Kundalini Yoga Warmups
.) Ego Eradicator -- Begin breath of fire, with arms straight up and out at a 60 degree angle, fingertips touching the pads of the hands, knuckles point out to sides, thumbs point straight up – 90 degree angle formed between fingers and thumbs.
.) Spinal Flex – Sit in easy pose - First, with hands on shins - then, with straight elbows - hands on knees, or sitting on the heels with palms resting on thighs; inhale deeply, shoulders back, spine straight; exhale completely, shoulders forward, navel back toward spine.
.) Cat and Cow -- Cross legged or sitting on heels - Hands on shoulders, fingers in front, thumbs in back - inhale deeply, spine straight, stretch arms back; exhale completely, flex spine forward and bring elbows touching in front – then bring elbows back as you inhale, and straighten spine up.
.) Hands grab opposite arms just above elbows. Exhale completely, bending all the way over to one side - inhale deeply, up. Repeat opposite side – continue.
.) Torso Twist -- Hands on shoulders fingers in front thumbs in back, twist torso, inhale deeply twisting to left, exhale completely twisting to right. Keep elbows up parallel to floor and tucked back orn same motion with forearms up at 90 degree angle to upper arms, hands in gyan mudra.
.) Sufi Grind – Hands on knees – grind abdomen around the hips – in both directions.
.) Standing up, arms toward ceiling. Inhale deeply up and back, then exhale completely as you bend forward.
.) Standing up, hands on hips – keep shoulders still and rotate hips one direction then the other. Another - hands on hips rotating upper torso - one direction then the other.
.) Sit, spread legs wide. Inhale deeply, sitting up to center, and exhale completely, alternate bending over legs, then alternately bending over center. Alternate smoothly.
.) Shrug shoulders, inhaling deeply up, exhaling completely down.
.) Roll the neck alternately, in each direction.
ALWAYS TUNE IN!
Challenging yourself becomes even more essential when you are trying to do an early morning Sadhana, possibly by yourself. Having the energy to embrace a challenging yoga set and the capacity to sit up and be alert for meditation, before the sun rises, will require a certain amount of will power, vitality, discipline and adequate sleep. A cold shower after you have massaged yourself with some almond oil and have put on katcheras,** can assist in waking you sufficiently, before beginning your practice. It took me quite a few years to warm up to cold showers. Yogi Bhajan spoke a lot about their importance to improve our blood circulation, as well as to strengthen our immune system, and ward off common colds and illness. See The 7 Habits of Exceedingly Healthy People.
The Aquarian Sadhana chants are the suggested meditations to follow your Kundalini Yoga practice. These seven meditations were given by Yogi Bhajan in June 1992 to be practiced for a period of 21 years. He also stated (through several reliable colleagues who heard him) that if he left the earth plane prior to the end of that 21-year period, that these would become the default suggested morning Sadhana meditations for the rest of time. At major annual yoga events including Solstice Sadhana and the Yoga Festival in France this is what is done daily. These 7 meditations require just over one hour to complete and the times of each meditation segment ideally should not be shortened. Each segment has a specific effect, and together all seven afford a powerful, transformational experience. The Aquarian Sadhana chants are complete in the way that they were given and using additional mudras and/or celestial communications6 with them is unnecessary.
The longest segment of these chants is done for 22 minutes. Sitting with the spine very straight in Vir Asan - the right knee is not against the chest (early printings of the Aquarian Teacher the Level 1 teacher training manual are incorrect on this directive). This posture is also referred to as hero or warrior pose. The hands are in prayer pose and eyes are open, fixed at the tip of the nose. This eye position is described in some detail on page 136 of the Aquarian Teacher. It stimulates the pineal gland and the frontal lobe of the brain. New energy pathways are created in the brain patterns. (How cool is that?)
In addition this particular posture and segment of the Aquarian Sadhana chants helps develop saint soldier consciousness, assisting us to drop fears and phobias. Following is a quote by him: "Human is a blend of saint and soldier; this is a complete person. If you are not a soldier your sainthood will be kicked around. If you are only a soldier, not a saint, you will start kicking others around." Yogi Bhajan 8/6/1975
It is also fine to do other meditations after your Kundalini Yoga practice if you prefer. Whether you do not have the time (or the patience) to do the full Aquarian Sadhana chants or prefer to do something else – it is all OK. The chants should be done in the order that they were given and if you have to miss one, two, or three - then so be it.
If possible, establish a consistent place where you do your practice. It should be kept clean and beautified to reflect your desire to live in your highest consciousness. Consistently depositing elevated vibrations in the same space creates sacredness there, that will support and uplift you (and any who may join you).
I believe Kundalini Yoga is the most powerful, transformational and revivifying tool and system on planet earth today. To elevate us out of anxiety, confusion, depression and possibly a host of other conditions that interfere with human beings bringing forth excellence and joy in their behaviors, it has no par. Yogi Bhajan called it the Yoga of Awareness. It will uplift and alter who one is and gratitude will ensue. Yogi Bhajan likened the process of steady, consistent practicing to the peeling of an onion. It will peel away the layers of the unconscious mind, where one eventually will be holding up a mirror and looking at oneself. It is not uncommon to find in that process some elements of one’s personality, which may disturb or repulse. It is also not uncommon to then stop or minimize one’s practice of Kundalini Yoga when this occurs because it is difficult to look at one’s own faults and personality traits that serve no one including oneself. We are well served to push through this phase as soon as possible, with as much courage, grace and fortitude as can be summoned.
Through deep reflection, contemplation and meditation on these behavioral imperfections, they can be dropped. Through developing consistency and focus in one’s Kundalini Yoga and Meditation practice, embracing White Tantric Yoga and doing Seva (service) one can also be liberated from these useless tendencies. As a general rule this process of clearing one’s karma does not happen quickly. It may take years or lifetimes, depending on
Yogi Bhajan was a living embodiment of service. Everywhere he went he served any and all with whom he came into contact. It was a constant inspiration to those of us who observed this. He seemed to have boundless energy and a remarkable capacity to intuit what others needed. He shared with us (his students) that one of the main purposes of life was to serve others. He served each and every one of us with love, immense insight and profound compassion. We were in awe of him, and were very grateful for his powerful presence as a wise, kind and guiding force in our lives.
By my good fortune I became involved in overseeing the food preparation at our organization’s annual Summer and Winter Solstice Sadhana and that continued for me for over 30 years. Yogi Bhajan himself used to find his way into the kitchen at most Solstice Sadhana and check around making sure we were maintaining the highest standards.
After some years of serving in the kitchens, I was grateful to be learning to empower and inspire others, around their service. This twice a year opportunity to practice service became a great blessing in my life. I cherished deeply (and still do, presently), the privilege to serve these hallowed gatherings.
I’ve come to believe that selfless service is a most essential element for us to grow, not get stuck and prosper in life. The Summer and Winter Solstice Sadhana, and the Yoga Festival in France are wonderful opportunities to learn and practice service. Yogi Bhajan stated, ‘Revolve your life around attending Summer and Winter Solstice Sadhana and all else will be taken care of. My personal experience verifies this statement.
NOTICE: If you wish to serve as a 3HO Solstice Sadhana Security Team volunteer and receive training, contact us here. To learn more about the Solstice Security Team requirements, visit Interior-Guard.com.
.) Get some form of vigorous aerobic exercise, (not before morning Sadhana, but regularly). This will assist you in keeping your physical body tuned and your mind alert.
.) Drink lots of water -- at least 6-8 tall glasses per day. This reduces stress buildup in the physical body and also helps keep the mind alert.
.) Do morning Sadhana between 4:00 and 7:00 A.M. It is the most effective and powerful time. When possible do morning Sadhana with others, as the power and effects of “group” Sadhana are exponential. (Yogi Bhajan)
.) Get to bed at a reasonable hour, so you have a better chance of sitting up and being alert during meditation.
.) Ask Guru Ram Das (4th Sikh Master, and “Lord of Miracles”), or the Universal Force to which you relate, before you go to bed, to assist you in getting up in the “ambrosial” (4:00 - 7:00 A.M.) hours, on time.
.) Eat lightly at night, and as early as feasible. It’s more difficult to focus the mind in meditation when the body has been and may still be digesting food.
.) During a yoga set keep the mind focused inwardly, (using a mantra works well, e.g., Sat Nam, or God and me, me and God are One). During your meditation endeavor to keep your mind focused on the meditation mantras. (“Hear them in your mind,” Yogi Bhajan, 8/97.) This will lead you to experience your "Inner Vitality," where all your mental and emotional stress will be neutralized, leaving you refreshed, grateful, radiant, and ready for anything or anyone.
.) Understand that you’re trying to master your Self. The process will present a constant variety of challenges to your desire to develop consistency. Persevere in your efforts and try to be consistent, as this process and the effects of regular Kundalini Yoga and Meditation practice are cumulative. See Adi Shakti Ashtang Meditation. See Close Order Drill Sadhana.
.) Do your best to be serviceful and kind to others, throughout the day. God blesses and elevates those who serve others.
.) Avoid consuming refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, flesh foods, and caffeine whenever possible as they tax the body's systems - making more sleep necessary. (Note: This point was added after Yogi Bhajan gave his approval.)
This compilation is based on the reflections of Singh Sahib Jot Singh Khalsa (firstname.lastname@example.org), Millis, MA, USA, above, which were submitted to and approved by Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji (Novermber, 1997), and published in Mukhia Sardarni Sahiba Shakti Parwha Kaur’s, “Keeping up with Kundalini Yoga” newsletter (April, 1998).
"Every accomplishment starts with the decision to
"A daily Sadhana practice is a must for any yoga teacher.
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