Kundalini Yoga, Shuniya And Being The Change
By Charlotte von Hemert
“Action is the language of the awakened Self” – The Aquarian Teacher
Earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, shootings, sexual assault cases and other tragedies of mass and personal scale have dominated news outlets, minds and hearts lately. As these crises appear to be escalating, the term ‘emergency fatigue’ is entering into our vocabulary and it’s becoming a daunting event to check the news on Monday morning. How can we possibly metabolize all of this information, do out part to make a positive difference, as well as keep our hearts open and stay present in our lives?
Enter Seva Simran- a Kundalini yoga teacher, multi-modality healer (including Kundalini’s Yoga’s Sat Nam Rasayan) and conscious planetary citizen.
I attended his reinvigorating and activating Vibrate the Cosmos-A Kundalini Yoga and Sat Nam Rasayan Intensive at the welcoming and heartfelt Indigo Yoga & Pilates Studio in Walnut Creek. Seva Simran introduced the intensive by diving into the issues of the modern world head on and driving home the point that we are all under an immense amount of pressure and stress whether we are aware of it or not. He observed how in our productivity-driven modern world, it is all the more easy to become numb and close our hearts down, while at the same time it’s all the more imperative to keep our hearts open and take responsibility for healing ourselves, as well as our part in healing the world around us.
I was engaged already as I turn to my own yoga practice as a way to open my heart, deepen my sense of Self and allow myself day-by-day to be more of service from a genuine and grounded place. I am most grateful for guidance, tools and teachers along the way and Seva Simran’s workshop provided all three.
In the first part of the 6-hour workshop Seva Simran shared a vigorous and enlivening Kundalini Yoga practice to help us release this pressure and stress (including banging on the floor and dancing it out Kundalini-style) and to re-connect with our deepest sense of self-- that place beyond the drama and stresses of the moment, limiting beliefs, habits, and surface mind-- where we are uplifted and reminded our potential. For those who aren’t familiar with Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, it is a subtle body practice that incorporates movement, breath work, chanting and meditation to bring us in to deeper states of awareness and tap into our infinite potential.
Seva Simran explained that once we’re in this more sensitive, stable, and intuitive place of awareness, there opens a potential to tap into a profound silence, or Shuniya, a state of zero-mind. It is from this place that we are able to turn our attention to the healing modality of Sat Nam Rasayan. After 2 hours or so of a challenging Kundalini practice, the energy in the room certainly had shifted to a more calm, balanced and sattvic space. I felt a deep sense of presence and expansiveness, which is precisely why I love the Kundalini Yoga practice so much.
We then got a taste of the theory and practice of Sat Nam Rasayan, a healing modality of Kundalini Yoga. Sat Nam Rasayan literally translates to ‘healing in the true identity’ and it is an intuitive energetic technique where the experienced practitioner connects with the object of healing (a person, group of people, or a thing) and enters into Shuniya. In this state, they know nothing, and become neutral, open and unbiased. Instead of the ego interfering by wanting to “fix” in an effort to “heal”, the practitioner becomes deeply aware of the sensations in their own body and observes what resistances come up in their own field. Holding their focused meditative awareness while allowing these resistances to come and go becomes a deeply healing practice. Put simply, it’s a way to meditate for someone or something else.
Sat Nam Rasayan reminds me of a deeper energetic equivalent of when you tell a friend a problem, and with good intentions they bombard you with a myriad of ways to fix the problem. It’s almost always more healing to be heard with a compassionate ear, because in truth, one person can’t know what is best for someone else. We can only know from our own limited experience. Perhaps in a wise and nuanced way, we can even extrapolate this to a larger scale. In this very divisive time, can we release our rigidly held beliefs and tap into a deeper space—Rumi’s field beyond rightdoing and wrongdoing? Is this perhaps the most revolutionary and aspirational framework that we can work with?
Sat Nam Rasayan operates on knowing that when we step out of the way, we open ourselves for a deeper universal consciousness to flow, and that is where the most profound healing can occur. It is so beautiful to have a healing art like this available. Sometimes we are so depleted that we can’t even find the energy to come to our own practice or do the things that we know make us feel better. In this case, it is incredibly supportive and nourishing to be held in a pure meditative and healing space that has been established by someone else.
For the rest of the afternoon we traded off being the practitioners and healing recipients. It was a deeply meditative and peaceful process. I equally enjoyed being the recipient of Sat Nam Rasayan as I enjoyed being the practitioner. I felt like I was able to heighten my sensitivity in a meditative state, and during the round where I retrospectively felt most meditative and empty, my “practice patient” gave me the best feedback.
As we continued to practice Sat Nam Rasayan on each other, questions naturally arose. The group, which consisted mainly of yoga teachers and healers, organically circled back to the questions that were raised at the beginning of class. How can we make difference in this world that is so out of balance? What can be done? This wasn’t a question Seva Simran was going to answer. Instead he threw it back to each one of us and the day-long intensive ended in lively, inspired conversation.
For me, I felt like the workshop offered a microcosm of possibility. First, we refilled our well and came back to our deepest sense of Self. Then we shared this meditative expansive experience with the people around us. Finally, we recognized ourselves as a community—yoga teachers, practitioners and healers who want to show up for our selves, each other, and the planet and reaffirmed that if we don’t take increasingly impactful actions ourselves, who will? What are we waiting for? What are you waiting for?
If you are interested in experiencing or learning more about Kundalini Yoga or Sat Nam Rasayan, Seva Simran teaches classes, workshops and events throughout the Bay Area and you can find information on his website. If you want to know more about Indigo Yoga & Pilates Studio and community, check out their classes and events on their website.