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Why I Don’t Shave My Armpits. A Kundalini Yogi’s Perspective.

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I don’t shave my armpits. About once a year you might find me embracing the tradition of shaving some body hair for an acting gig or I just have a hankering to wear a summer dress. Otherwise, like many other Kundalini Yogi’s I don’t shave.

I’m a minimalist. I don’t wear makeup, I shampoo my hair every once in awhile, I use oils and rarely use store bought soap. Most of what I use for my beauty care comes out of a jar of coconut oil that I buy for $6 at Trader Joes. Don’t get me wrong I think makeup is great, nail polish is awesome, and I’m a girl at heart but… there is something extremely powerful about a woman who feels beautiful in her own skin.

I remember the first time I noticed French women who didn’t shave their armpits. I was six years old at Disney World in the line for Pirates of the Caribbean ride. I looked at these women as if they were exotic animals in the zoo. Why didn’t French women shave their armpits? Why did American women shave, but not French? These women had the air of the exotic about them, I admired them but I was also puzzled. I have always remembered that moment, perhaps because one day I too would be a proponent of the hairy pit.

Why I Don’t Shave My Armpits.

Truth be told part of the reason I don’t shave is because I am lazy but it’s also for health and spiritual reasons. There is hair there and for good reason; it protects the area underneath your armpits that provide detoxification and is a central point for the nervous system. Why would I shave or put nasty chemicals in that area where they would just seep into my body? I’m not too opinionated to judge anyone else whether they shave or not, or beat up on myself if I decide I want to shave midsummer but I suggest everyone take a moment to think about why these practices could be detrimental to your health.

A few weeks ago while at a nightclub in Hannover Germany I noticed three girls who couldn’t have even been 20 years old staring at me. The looks on their faces were a mixture of puzzlement and disgust. They were in their cutsie Halloween outfits with makeup on and their hair done up. Here I am no makeup, hair down haphazardly put back in an elastic with my arms flailing around showing everyone my armpit hair. I was smiling and having the best time in contrast to these three young girls with sour faces staring at me as if I was ruining their evening.

Now what is a shame is these poor 20 year old girls have been seduced and manipulated to believe that they need to shave their armpits to be a beautiful woman and they feel disgust towards another woman who doesn’t.

Shaving armpits is an invention of the beauty industry that started in 1915 when advertisements started to appear warning women of the unseemliness of the escaped armpit hair. It is none other than a way to sell razors. Like I said I am NOT against shaving I think it’s great sometimes. I feel liberated when I shave the hair off my legs in the middle of the summer. Hair can hold energy and memory and it feels at times like a fresh start but I am not going to subscribe to what corporations have told me that I need to do to be accepted in society. Hell no.

I feel compassion for these young girls who don’t yet have a strong enough love and opinion of themselves to see the truth. They have been fed a belief and are eating it up. While they continue to have sour puss faces and judge people I am going to keep dancing, keep throwing my arms in the air and showing everyone the glory that is my armpit hair.

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Free 15 Minute Breath Meditation with Sacred Singing Bowls with Hari Kaur

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Hari-NYC1

 

Hari, owner of  The Treehouse yoga studio in NYC and a world renowned teacher of Kundalini Yoga guides us into a blissful realm of stillness where one gets transported into another realm of existence in this simple, yet powerful gong breath meditation. The otherworldly sound of a gong, singing bowls and bells is accompanied with chanting voices by Yeva Don and Michael Stern.

Much of our day is occupied by our thinking, which defines and governs us. In this guided meditation we step beyond all that as we bring our awareness to our breath and glide into deep comfort and listen…

A Vertical Space Production for WelcomeEarth, recorded at Emunity Records

 

 

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16 Ways A Woman is Strong(er Than A Man) According To Yogi Bhajan

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I have heard it that Yogi Bhajan said women were 16 times stronger than men.

Right now an uproar is happening in the film industry with the ACLU accusing the film industry of being bias to men Directors, and discriminating women. Only 7% of Director roles have gone to women recently. Stories of women being called too ’emotional’, and propositioned for casual sex are surfacing on blogs and news stories.

The other day a DJ friend of mine posted how he sees a disparity among male and female DJ lineups and wants to support women. I reflect on my choice to leave DJ’ing and sometimes I really miss it, but I found new passions, and a community where women are celebrated and revered. Kundalini Yoga and Sikhism is a place where a women can be all that she is and be honored for it. Her capacity for emotion is a gift, her body a sacred temple.

This isn’t a contest rating women vs. men.  It isn’t then men or women are better or stronger then the other. Women have a wider emotional capacity, and that capacity gives us a reserve of power that is infinitely strong – if we can stay in our grace.

This capacity allows us to be the mother, the sister, the wife, the leader, the doctor, the consoler, the warrior, all in the space of 15 minutes. It also bestows on us a great responsibility and challenge, a need to stay committed to our Grace and God.

When a man disgraces a woman, when he puts down her capacity for deep emotion, he disgraces himself. A man has power in his reverence for a woman. When a man insults a women he takes away his own power.

What are the ways in which the Kundalini Yoga Woman is strong?

1. We create and carry life.

“You gave birth to Guru Nanak, you gave birth to Gautama Buddha, you gave birth to Mohammad, you gave birth to Jesus, you gave birth to Rama, you gave birth to Krishna. You gave birth to everybody.”

2. Multitasking. We can cook, plan a meeting, and do our toenails all at once.

“God has given you sixteen times more courage and more comprehensive biological physical strength than a man. Have pity on this guy! He doesn’t have all of your biochemical action, doesn’t have the mental lunar reflection, doesn’t have the sophistication and softness and doesn’t have the nervous system to deal with it, and he’s still alive!”

3. Empathy, the natural ability to step into others shoes and relieve your pain with mountains of compassion.

“All man needs is a comprehensive understanding that he shall be comforted by the woman he’s in relationship withMan seeks a woman with whom he can put his head on her pillow and speak to her in confidence, in trust.”

4. We have an inborn capacity to excel.

“A woman’s inborn capacity to excel is 16 times more than a man’s. If she just has self-esteem that she’s a woman, there’s no power on Earth that can make her do wrong. Woman is priceless.”

5. We have not one, but four ways we can reach God and be liberated.

“You are the ultimate incarnation! You can redeem yourself four ways. Man has to become a man of God. You can become a woman of God, you can give birth to a man of God, you can serve a man of God, and you can bless as ajananee to make somebody Divine.”

6. Women do you know that you can have any man you want (how many times have I been told this!) – make the one you want, and the one you go after with everything you’ve got GOD!

“Woman has to understand her role. Her role is not to worship God; her role is to be the very self of God. Her oneness can affect and open every heart.”

7. We are the rock, and we know where your keys are at any given time.

“Do you understand that all relationships go around you and you are the hub of every relationship? And still you want a relationship. Have you ever thought that you are the giver, you are the destiny, and you are the moksha, you are the redeemer?”

8. We have both hemispheres of the brain working at the same time. 

“Man has only one hemisphere of the brain. You have both working at the same time. Your intuition is given potentially because you are going to be a mother, so all dangers in and out are known to you. You have everything plus, plus, plus.”

9. We are unstoppable.

“You are a way to God because you are a way from God. You are the first teacher. The whole world goes around you.  The day you know you are a woman in the beginning, in the middle, and in the end, God cannot defeat you.”

10. Our silence is power.

” If all the women in the United States went on strike, not speaking to men for fourteen days you could get any bill passed, including that men will massage your feet in the morning before you get up!”

Recall a time you were purposefully silent towards someone? Were you doing it to punish the person, or because you needed the space? Remember, let your aim and goal be graceful.

11. We are all heart, and we give it freely.

“Just as rain showers on the land and brings green things, so on woman God showers His Blessing and brings forth from her heart humanity.”

12. We give men the opportunity to show grace.

“She is the better half.  If somebody opens the door for her it is no tragedy.  It is a male courtesy to his own grace…I am not asking you to become feminists, but to be very graceful, absolute women.”

I am still working on allowing men to always open the door without feeling awkward sometimes…

-Quotes From Yogi Bhajan

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No More Sleepless Nights For Moms-To-Be – Free Prenatal Kundalini Yoga Meditation

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Yogi Bhajan’s encouragement to “see God in All or see God in nothing” has become a strong echo in my heart since becoming a mother!

Motherhood is a transformation of indescribable feats that has rocked me to the core and will continue to do so daily. These blessings and challenges have been chiseling me into the shape, sound and touch of my child’s first Teacher. Now more than ever intuition, grace and community are needed for moms everywhere.

If you are planning on having a child, in the midst of your pregnancy or already have children in college these short videos are for you. Take these teachings and wrap yourself in them. Let them comfort and strengthen you as you take your new form and know you have your Sangat – the company of the holy – at your side.

The BEST Alternative To Butter Is? Butter, Clarified. A Yogic Diet Oil.

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I bet your surprised to hear that.

Technically were talking clarified butter…also known as Ghee, an important oil in the yogic diet.

It is so easy to make and when you make your own you save a lot of money.

Here’s what you need to make your own ghee:

Equipment:

  • A saucepan, preferably one with a heavy bottom, one with a spout is every helpful
  • A large spoon
  • A fine meshed sieve and/or cheesecloth to line your sieve (I find this step optional)
  • A large bowl or glass measuring cup (preferably one with a spout)
  • One or two glass or ceramic bowls jars to store the ghee

Ingredients:

The best quality UNSALTED* butter you can find – organic, grass fed etc.  Must be UNSALTED!
I buy 4$ organic grass fed butter blocks from Market Basket.

Directions:

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. You’ll see thick, white foam start to form at the surface. With a large spoon begin to scrape this foam off and put into bowl or container to collect and eventually throw away. This is the milk fat solids you want to get rid off.

Notice the butter is still rather opaque and milky after a few minutes. Keep scraping off the foam! Stir the butter as it simmers every couple minutes to prevent burning and keep the milk solids from sinking to the bottom of the pan.

As more bubbles and foam form, and you continue scraping the milk solids from the top and sides you’ll notice that the foam will become thinner and the bubbles will become more clear. Continue to scrape the sides of the pan to prevent the milk solids from sinking to the bottom.

The butter will become more translucent as you take out the milk solids, the foam will eventually disappear. When tiny clear bubbles form in the butter, and the butter is clear it is done. You can let this cool slightly and pour through a cheese cloth lined sieve to catch any milk solids that sank to the bottom.

I can usually poor the Ghee directly into my glass jars without using a sieve because I scraped most of the solids out as it ‘cooked’., which also helps it from becoming browned butter. What solids are left tend to stick to the bottom of the pan.

This process takes between 8-15 minutes depending ton how much butter you clarified.

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Ghee does not need refrigeration and will keep for up to 1 month. If you fear you did not get all milk solids out you may want to keep in the fridge.  I pour mine into a ceramic tea pot and leave on the counter, except when it is hot in the summer.

Enjoy your healthy essential fats! I have been using Ghee for two years and I would not go back to butter! it is easier to digest and has a special taste. I feel much less guilty lathering this golden deliciousness onto my food by the heaping spoonfuls!

 

Create A Joyful Daily Sadhana with Dr. Sham-Rang: Free Webinar Recording

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Our first live webinar with Sham-Rang is now available for streaming on youtube, or HD downloading if you have a free member account. Sign up is free for our basic membership with many free classes for beginners, powerful meditations for emotional balance, and inspirational teachings.

We have two more webinars in the next couple months with Dr. Sham-Rang that continue our journey on Sadhana and the three stages of spiritual development. For more information sign up for our FREE membership to receive notification of the webinars.

Feedback from the first webinar was fantastic, thank you to all who joined us!

 

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Free Meditation Music Download – Guru Ram Das by Sat Avtar Kaur

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Science has proven our ancestors past emotional experiences effect our DNA. The memories of generations are locked inside the secrets of our lineage. Diseases are passed on from generation to generation as hereditary illnesses.

I experienced healing family karma and past trauma at Summer Solstice. What has blossomed is the gratitude knowing my dedication to my spiritual development brings grace to all my family.

Healing family karma is not just the family tree we trace through our ancestral name, but extends within our soul families. It touches the hearts of many souls throughout the cosmos, creating ripples of transformation through lifetimes of incarnations.

During White Tantric Yoga, the sacred experience of coincidences became crystal clear. The theme was healing ancestral karma, 7 generations into the past and future. I knew my first solstice was a special, blessed opportunity for me.

I am doing a 40 day Guru Ram Das meditation to heal ancestral karma. This week marks the end of 40 days from the last day of White Tantric Yoga. You can extend this meditation to 60, 90, 120 days and beyond.

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The Most Important Thing I Learned at 3HO Summer Solstice – How To Get Through Every Block.

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I kept hearing the answer to the sutra ‘There is a way through every block” even before Summer Solstice. Love. Over and over again. Love.

My first Solstice I had to dig real deep to get there and to get through it but I felt at home, everything familiar. When I told people it was my first Summer Solstice after 15 years of Kundalini Yoga everyone always seemed surprised. I know many people in the community around the world, this blessing made the experience so very full and also very challenging. I felt my weakness, frailty, and pain were on display.

Each day I was confronted with blocks, with circumstances highlighting deep seated fears and painful places. My need to fix things, obsession with perfection – in everything, fear of chaos and the unknown, doubt, not doing enough, making mistakes, and hurting others unintentionally because of my own feelings.

The experience brought an immersion into peace, a commitment to honoring my bodies needs, to say no, to create boundaries, to keep up, to give and love even through pain and doubt. I recognized my deep need to give, and be loyal, and to fully appreciate the grace and beauty of my own radiant smile that touches peoples hearts deeply.

Almost every day I hitched up or down the mountain, some days both. There is no other time or place I would consider doing it, but it was part of the experience and plan to connect with more people, to gain sparkling nuggets of divine wisdom.

Leading up to Tantric I was told how important it is for us to heal the generational karma so that we can break the chains of karmic bondage and fulfill our destiny. The final day of Tantric we chanted Akal, the air thickened with the energies of the souls connected to us. What laid out before me was the importance of generational healing that transcends any obligation in the physical. The work we do as yogis is profound, the soul clearing, the karmic purifying is the reason I incarnated into a family I have never quite understood, felt so much turmoil from, could always palpably see the entanglement of illusion, meanwhile resisting it every minute.
White Tantric Yoga, Summer Solstice Sadhana, Ram Das Puri, New Mexico, June 24, 2014.

Photographs © Andy Richter. Andy is currently immersed in a photographic exploration of yoga that will take form as a book in the coming years. The journey continues to lead him into the presence of great masters, to ascetics meditating in caves, to massive gatherings of humanity and always to a deeper knowledge and experience of yoga.To see more of his work, please visit www.andyrichterphoto.com.

I saw the light of love and partnership, the possibility for me in the smiling face of a beautiful child. The last day of the festival I hitched up with Sat Siri of Ra Ma Da Sa Institute. Sitting in the backseat with her beautiful daughter, her eyes on my face, and holding my hand against her heart brought home what I discovered in day two of Tantric.

When I am asked if I want children I always, very particularly say no. My attitude against something tied to my perspective and experience of relationships, and family was a massive block to finding peace and happiness in those realms. That fear, taken on from generations of karma and my own parents experiences passed onto me was wedge in my destiny. What I felt, in a wave of release and love was the possibility, and heart felt desire to have children, and the faith and hope of the possibility of that fulfillment.

While Solstice was extremely painful, while I was confronted very obviously with challenge, I will be back next year (and not just because I anticipate my debut album to be released). There is no other stronger, more sacred experience I have been through that has given me the opportunity of healing, of forgiveness, and growth. And meanwhile I am still crying over its loss, pain, and beauty…I am basking in its joy, and infinite love, its breaking open of my heart. While I am still feeling pangs of hurt, having moments of serious wailing and weeping, it is the way through, and part of the process for me. Healing generational karma can be a tough job, but it is a great soul service, one made with love and devotion.

 

Healing From Sexual Trauma Pt. 2 – Recapture Your Radiance – June Meditation

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The first post of this series can be read here.

I stayed at a fellow yoga teachers house for a getaway relaxing weekend recently. He is an older teacher, by about twenty years. He was a great host, taking me to all the local spots and treating me.

I noticed something about my mind and emotions over this weekend trip. I was uncomfortable. The thoughts that arose were hazy memories and scenes of my stepfather. A deep discomfort, and hesitation with men, especially when this fellow teacher was showing me kindness by treating me to meals. I felt I had to give something back, that I owed something, and part of me did not want to put myself under the power of another person.

It was always that way with my stepfather. If he gave you something, or did anything he deemed nice, he remembered and held it against you. When I would do something he didn’t like, something he did not want me to do, or sometimes just for no reason at all he would hold these ‘gifts’ against me and try to control me with them. He did it to everyone in his life, friends and family.

I made myself aware of the undercurrents of emotions on this trip, knowing I was not in danger, and releasing each thought with “Wahe Guru”. The experience brought to my attention how uncomfortable and unresolved I am with men, especially older men. My capacity for holding the discomfort also seems to be thin at times. I still feel that fear of displeasing. It is is I am back to being a child again, helpless, unable to escape the every day fear.

These are the classic results of physical, mental and sexual trauma. Iv never had this discomfort with men my own age, though I think I worry too much about pleasing them in romantic relationships.

Giving and gratitude is cyclical. It can wear the face of another, but it is still divine. It still attracts that grace and abundance we all desire. The Universe gives us the gift of life, what can we give back? Sometimes we do not see these kind of traumas as gifts. Yoga is easy (although getting on the mat to do it can be hard at times) because yoga yokes us to the divine, to truth, and our spirit.

yokeyourself

The practice of yoga gets past all thinking, all needing to resolve things, and puts us in a place of purity where we can give, move beyond trauma, and heal shadows. Allow and accept the gifts in your life. Take the time to recapture your radiance by dedicating time to your own practice. The time you take is for you, though the people in your life will benefit from it, you do it for yourself.

With this monthly mediation we pray chanting Ardhas Bhaee. Be in the moment of prayer – let go of what you think you need, release your desires. See the grace that is already with you, use mediation to see it.

Thanks to Simrit Kaur for her generous music contribution.

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My Favorite ‘Secret’ Smoothie For Yogis

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I am not usually resistant to try anything that could benefit my health and wellbeing, clearly since breathing funny and making strange sounds and yawns while waving my arms around in the air (Kundalini Yoga) is a normal way for me to elevate myself. I had heard of a special smoothie, sounding something of a miraculous concoction, fountain of calm and serenity, with the shining ingredient that made all this possible easily obtained at the grocery store. A few of my friends made reference to it, and they spoke with such praise, but still, doubt prevailed.

This divine drink was made for me after Sadhana (our early morning yoga practice) one frigid winter morning. My brow still raised in skepticism, melted with the sweet taste of apple, banana, honey and nutmeg delightfully springing around on my tongue.

It is quite a simple drink, it’s base being an apple, banana and milk. I use raw milk or fresh almond and nut milk.

Blend the banana, apple, and the milk. Pour the blend in a sauce pan. I try to avoid boiling the mixture, but just warm the drink. You can add spices – cinnamon, cardamon, and a little honey. The crowning jewel that makes this secret drink reach it’s perfection – freshly grated nutmeg.

Nutmeg is a beneficial herb for the nervous system, digestion, aids in bringing on a relaxed state, and helps in sleeping. It must be freshly grated and of good quality! *Be warned, when it is taken in excess it can cause nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, and low blood pressure!

After having this smoothie for the first time I was only regretful I had not tried it sooner. I try and make it part of my routine, sometimes a little snack before bed so I wake up the next morning feeling calm, or at the start of the day for breakfast. It has been especially helpful for my overactive thyroid, when I feel like a runaway freight train. I have many yogic techniques I can use to reset myself, this being one of the most tasty.

I encourage you to try this drink and to share this recipe with friends. If you have any anxiety, jitteriness, and lack of focus, this drink is especially helpful.

Again, It can cause drowsiness if you have too much – start small and build up to the amount that works best for you. It is important to note nutmeg works in conjunction with the banana, and it is vital you keep the banana in the recipe. Nutmeg, when used with banana, is a tonic.

Smoothie (or banana ice cream) 4+ servings:

1-2 cup of milk
3 bananas
1 apple
honey
Nutmeg! – grind fresh two whole nutmegs
Cinnamon (for ice cream) Freeze mixture and eat for ice cream*

For a single smoothie I use:

1 banana
1 apple
1/2 cup of milk’
1/4-1/2 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
honey
garnish with cinnamon and cardamon

*AMENDMENT and TESTIMONIALS*

“This recipe is strong. Start at a 1/8 tsp. for real Ayurvedic benefits, according to Dr. Vasant Lad, and see what your system gives you as feedback. Sat Nam”
“A 200 lb man with high blood pressure anywhere from 1-3 nutmegs will lower it for a couple days. 1 tsp or less can be daily or so for a short time while you eliminate the dietary causes of hbp. Check out the book Stop Inflamation Now, if you want to change your health.”
“People with low blood pressure can die from nutmeg. Too much can also stupify the brain, which can be good for those who are up tight. A 120 lb woman can relax with 1/2 nutmeg or less.”

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