Blog: Yoga Path
by munificent


The Kundalini Teacher to the Stars, Madonna, Melissa E, and many more-What's her draw

Date:   5/5/2005 1:50:00 AM   ( 16 y ) ... viewed 1251 times

Author of The Eight Human Talents and Bountiful Beautiful Blissful, Gurmukh has been teaching Kundalini Yoga for over 35 years. She is best known for her work in Pre-Natal and Post-Natal Yoga with parents and babies as well as training teachers to use the methods she has developed. Her Kundalini classes are packed with regulars who love the intense body-mind-spirit workout, Gurmukh’s wit and humor and the company of the sangha she and her husband have created at Golden Bridge Yoga in Los Angeles. All of Gurmukh’s students are invited to dinner on Sunday evenings following the 5-7 P.M. yoga class.

Julie: What is your personal practice like?

Gurmukh: Everyday I get up at 4 A.M. For 2-1/2 hours we begin with a morning prayer, then Kundalini Yoga, and then we chant for 66 minutes. At 6:30 P.M. I finish. I also swim and run and have a practice to keep all my joints, ligaments and bones moving and aligned and energized.

Julie: I’ve been told you have an Anusara yoga practice. Is that true?

Gurmukh: Yes, it is. I usually do Anusara three days a week.

Julie: Why Anusara?

Basically, I like the way John Friend [Anusara yoga founder] teaches. I feel that there’s a pattern, a way. John studied with Mr. Iyengar and added the heart chakra, combined them. It’s a nice, calculative formula well executed, and that’s why I like it. It isn’t a wild card. I don’t have to wonder what they’re going to teach. If they’re Anusara trained, I know what they’re going to teach.

I don’t do it for spirituality because I have so much of that. I do it for physical purposes. I just like the strengthening, the stretching and the exactness of the postures.

Q: We learn about your past in Bountiful Beautiful and Blissful. Do you feel at all like you’re the same person now as you were then?

Gurmukh: That’s such a weird question. Do I feel like when I used to eat Big Macs when I was nineteen years old? I can’t even know what that person was. I still have traits of me, yes. I love to dance. I love to get high, high on my breath this time. I love to bring people together. I love love-ins. I love eating together. I love everything that has to do with coming together. And yet I like to sit in front of the ocean by myself like when I was a hippie in Hawaii.

When you look back on your life, you see all the traits and all the past lives that got you to here, and it’s all through grace that you really arrive at a place of peace. It’s just grace, and you’re going to stumble all along the way and be challenged.

Q: You were lost at one point.

Gurmukh: I could have gotten killed so many times through my insanity! So I just thank God every morning that I didn’t get tripped up and I was able to arrive at some place of stability.

Julie: You seem to be a practical person who believes in the guidance available at any given moment. Is that a fair description?

Gurmukh: You mean guidance from the Infinite? Oh, yes. He is like my employer. He runs the show. He pays my salary. He does the whole nine yards.

Julie: Is there freedom within that belief system?

Gurmukh: I have a Taurus rising, which I never wanted to admit because I always wanted to be a Pisces, which is my sun sign, and be a total airhead. I finally accepted that Taurus; I do like to have a house with order. I do like to open up a drawer and find something. I used to think freedom was to be a mess—never know where anything was and to be all over the place and to be totally confused.

As I grow into my sixties, I’m thinking freedom is an orderly life so I can live free away from the mundaneness. When I have to clean the table, I want to have something to clean it with, instead of, “Oh, I can’t find a rag. The bottle’s empty. All the rags are dirty.” I like a rag. I like a cloth. And I like to clean the table. Whereas before, I thought freedom was the opposite.

Julie: You value intuition. Were you always an intuitive person or is this something you learned from Yogi Bhajan?

Gurmukh: I think looking over the past and my love for Jesus when I was little, and my little altars I built and my little conversations with Jesus, I think I always had that - all these remembrances from so many past lives. However, Yogi Bhajan helped me, through the technology of Kundalini yoga, to lean almost 100% on intuition. If it doesn’t come to my mind, then I know it hasn’t been told to me yet. So I’ll say, “I don’t know yet.” And then it will come. Yes. I almost always believe in it. My mind doesn’t calculate two and two is four. Two and two is five.

Julie: How has the passing of Yogi Bhajan affected you?

Gurmukh: We feel him here even more without a body, and I think we’ll be able to do his work even more. He left this beautiful quote, he said, “I don’t know if you believe all of this and trust that I am with you, but even if you don’t believe it, it’s true.”

We knew he would be leaving soon. It was just waiting every day since about 2002. I was in India with him when he got very ill. He went to Emergency and left with a kidney transplant. He never really came back up again.

So, we learned to live without a spiritual teacher on the Earth when he was still on the Earth. We had thirty-five years of his teachings, which are ancient, recorded on tapes, on videos, on scratchy penciled paper in the archives. He had said it all.

Julie: You’re pretty clear, at least this is how I read it in Bountiful, Beautiful & Blissful, that a mother is responsible for the welfare of her child throughout the life of that child so if there’s someone on the street who’s homeless, it’s still a mother who is responsible. What about karmas? We’re all born into this world with a destiny. Maybe it’s just my destiny to be a homeless person. Why is it my mom’s responsibility?

Gurmukh: Everyone comes in with a destiny. You can be a murderer and your destiny is to murder somebody. Through a mother’s prayers, if she’s gifted with that consciousness, she can change the destiny. You can change the destiny all along of your child. But if a mother gives up, cuts that umbilical cord and says “This kid is no good. This isn’t my child anymore,” then the child doesn’t have a chance.

Julie: An adult child?

Gurmukh: Yes. I have a good friend who’s in AA, a mother of five. She was an alcoholic and a drug addict for 17 years and is one of the most famous people in L.A. She’s a sponsor, a wonderful woman and sober for 20 years now. All of her five kids had addictions and they healed. However, she couldn’t find one boy for a year. He was on the streets of LA. I gave her a mother’s prayer. I said, “You pray this. You sit every single day.” And finally he called her. He was okay and on the road to recovery. I said, “You go out and fish and you bring him in.”

Never, ever give up on your children. Only see them in the light. See them through the drug period or through that hard time and see them in the light of their own soul. And then they’ll make it. If you give up on them, their struggles will be so big.

Julie: There’s the current conversation, and sometimes criticism, of commercialization of Yoga in the U.S. Would you comment, please?

Gurmukh: We live in a capitalistic country, right? It’s okay because in the end the truth will come, it always does. Let people do what they need to do.

What’s sticking now is people who have the authenticity, who usually have a legacy, who have a teacher, who really have walked the talk. I’m not worried about it.

Julie: What is it that you like so much about teaching?

Gurmukh: I watch people change right before my very eyes. I watch sad people get happy. I watch depressed people get undepressed. I watch parents who are confused become better parents. I watch pregnant women change their life, change their thinking, change their ways. I watch them birth differently than they thought when they first came in. And then I watch them care for their baby post-natal. I watch them nurse more, sleep with their baby. And all it is, is just giving them information and something rings inside. “Oh. That makes sense. That’s right.”

I like to just do whatever’s in front of me. I don’t have big dreams. It’s God’s plan.

Julie: Your new studio is called the Golden Bridge Spiritual Village. Wouldn’t it be great if every yoga studio thought of themselves as a spiritual community?

Gurmkh: Some yoga studios aren’t based on spirituality, in all frankness. So why would they call their centers spiritual? They’re more physical fitness.

Julie: From your perspective as a Kundalini yoga teacher, how can we move faster toward achieving the goal of world peace?

Gurmukh: To move to that goal faster, think about the expression, “Live in peace, not in pieces.” I think the best thing is to gather in your yoga studios and keep the continuing conversation of why you’re doing this yoga. Not just for yourself, but you’re adding, energetically, peace to this world. So you start in smaller groups. Then we have conferences all around the world. Let the themes be that. So we keep using that word, peace. Pretty soon it enters a person’s psyche—peace inside, peace outside.

And, too, bringing new babies, especially the boy babies into the world with a more peaceful mama, they are destined to pick up what God is telling us. They will look back and look at this civilization when the solution was to fight as though we were cannibals and that’ll be strange to this planet in five generations.

Julie: You’re optimistic we’ll simply evolve.

Gurmukh: We have to, according to the Age of Aquarius. We’re moving to this age whether we know it or not, whether we’re helping or not. It’s going to move forward like a river. A river doesn’t stop.

We’re helping everyone to get to this point in these next seven years and it’s going to get, possibly, a little bit nuttier. In some ways it doesn’t matter who gets elected President. People think that this is normal on the planet, but we’re at the height of abnormality right now.

We, as yogis, are some of the people on the planet that are holding the space for this time of evolution and change. Plus we have a technology. We’re not just hoping things get better, we’re actually giving people the tools to make it better- how to eat so you’ll have peace inside instead of chomping on steaks…how to get your body to move.

So let’s get on a new program. It’s kind of simple; it isn’t that complicated. And the beauty is yoga isn’t just, “I sure hope you get better.” You know if you do it, you will. It isn’t like a Hallmark greeting card.

Julie: What would you like to say in closing?

Gurmukh: I want to close with one joke, okay? This is a joke everybody can use. I just liked it so much.

So, the scientists go to God…a whole group of them. They say, “God, you know, we have been working twenty-four hours a day developing a technology and we’ve got it.”

And God says, “What’s the technology?”

“We can now create a human being. We don’t need your help any more. Thank you so much, but we’ve got it in the lab. We can do it.”

God says, “Fine. It will make my workload lighter, not to have to make humans any longer. How are you going to do it?”

The scientists say, “We’re first going to start with the Earth.” And they go to scoop up some dirt to show God.

And God says, “Uh-uh. That’s my Earth. You get your own.”

Gurmukh, along with her husband Guru Shabd, is the founder of Golden Bridge where she teaches. Gurmukh also travels as a guest teacher worldwide.

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