Men Will Raise The Vibration At Sat Nam Fest This Year
Cover Photo from satnamfest.com.
By Julie Fustanio Kling
Men outnumber women when it comes to presenters this year at Sat Nam Fest, April 11-15 in Joshua Tree. SF Yoga Mag caught up with four of them to ask them how they plan to help heal the divide between men and women in the #metoo era.
Teacher trainer, musician, producer and composer whose Kundalini practice developed after a search of a more integrative and profound yoga experience after training in gymnastics, aikido and being raised in an ashram in India.
Guru Prem says he thinks that women will be more successful than men in attracting more men to the practice of yoga. Along with his wife Simran, he recorded a song called Siri Simitry, about the goddess to heal the holes in aura of women who have been abused. He has been chanting it since International Women’s Day in hopes that women will rise up. “Until then, I’ll do my part to heal the holes in my relationship and heal the world.”
In his words…
The process of yoga does a superb job of helping men be better men and show them their moonlike qualities. It’s about time for the Me too movement. The way we treat women is the way we treat ourselves. If we don’t recognize that women are the future, we are doomed…
In the Ashtanga world, the ratio is probably 60/40 women. The system is so self filtering. The reason I think men don’t gravitate toward yoga is they think they are not flexible and they are uncomfortable in their bodies in that way. If women get their act together and change things, men will follow. I think you women have got to use your superpowers. Women don’t even know what their superpowers are until they use them…
Once the distraction of women in skimpy clothes goes away you have to be into the practice.
Student of Yogi Bhajan since age 11, Kundalini and heart-centered Ashtanga teacher and co-owner of Birmingham Yoga.
Akasha has been chanting Chatra Chakra Varti, a prayer toward the infinite and the recognition that it is in everything we do and it is within everything we do, for 11 minutes every day lately. It reminds him to come from heart and not so much from the mind.
In his words…
As a child, growing up with Yogi Bhajan, I remember yoga being more equal or even more men when it came to the hardcore spiritual practice. In 2000, 2001 when power yoga flow yoga, ashtanga and vinyasa became popular, I was like wow its 80% women in this room.
One thing Yogi Bhajan did really well is he saw the repressiveness that the female polarity has been under for thousands of years and he taught women to be strong and courageous.
Yoga is asking for reflection, to drop into the heart to be more compassionate and kind to ourselves. That’s a foreign language to a man.
I can’t tell you when men are going to pile in more. I see more men attracted to what I am teaching. They are open to expressing kindness and compassion, at same time being strong and protective. I don’t buy into racism and sexism. If I buy into that I am lessening myself. I think a lot of attracting men to a yoga practice is about educating and getting out of the ignorance.
Musician and Kundalini teacher who uses sacred sound through Naad Yoga and chanting.
In his words...
I feel that my contribution to humankind and to the men is deeply connected with my personal life and the choices that I make every day. It is a commitment to keep the vibration as high as possible and bringing it into life through my words and my actions both in my personal life as a man and in my professional life as a teacher, healer and sacred chant artist. I do believe that only by embodying the teachings in a natural and authentic way we can own it in such a manner that we inspire and elevate and staying humble and compassionate at the same time.
To maintain that way of living I am devoted to do my everyday yoga and meditation practice to keep my mind and body clear and vital and keep the prayer in my heart alive so that what I do, say and choose in my life shall be aligned with the path of my destiny as a connected human being here on mother earth. And from that state of mind I basically just keep on going sharing through the workshops, trainings, classes, sessions and concerts that I like so many others are offering these days. And together we make the difference and the world a better place, everyday.
Hansu's favorite mantra....
Of course I touch into the vibration of different mantras or shabds depending on my life situation, mood or teaching commitments. But I noticed that the words that I constantly come back to are: “Wahe Guru” and “Sat Naam.” They just instantly align the moments with a spark of joy and truth.
Wahe Guru is known as the Gurmantra and is translated as I am in ecstasy when I experience wisdom or Wonderful God in Sikhism.
Sat Nam is translated as truth is my identity. It is part of the Mool Mantra repeated daily by Sikhs.
Author of “Essential Kundalini Yoga - an Invitation to Radiant Health, Unconditional Love and the Awakening of Your Energetic Potential,” Minister, counsellor, musician and Kundalini teacher.
In his words...
Women have been evolving in consciousness. It’s been so apparent over the past few decades and such a beautiful wonder. Goddess consciousness has reached a critical mass, creating a shift in humanity. It’s no wonder that at this time the me too movement, starting with the outing of Trump’s disgusting misogyny, has pushed women’s evolution into a new mainstream awareness. I see women standing up for each other more and more, and I love it.
I am watching all this first of all the sense of so much love and absolute wonder for the bravery of my sisters. My co-presenter at Sat Nam Fest, Karena, was one of the brave women who spoke out about her abusive experience with Trump 29 years ago. She came out in support of all women who have been victims of predatory sexual behavior. People may have mistook it as political - coming out against Trump. But actually it was standing in support of the other women who have been called liars. It was standing for truth. For Sat Nam.
And I, as a man, am in awe of this aspect of women standing in support of each other. Women coming out of their competitive, comparative nature and into their compassionate nature. Whatever I can do to support that I will. I probably should do more. I write about it, talk about it, teach about it. I want to stand in this circle of all women. We are not separate on a soul level. We are divine beings and men do support this as well.
Yet, us men, collectively have been quite a question mark over the past decades. The very idea of inner shift can be very frightening to men, and with all our male muscles it’s been easier to hold on to old school acceptability on a physical plane more so than to discover the wonders of universal consciousness. Some beautiful men I know have made that shift, and many are teaching here at Sat Nam Fest. But for humanity as a whole, I should have known that of course, male evolution was going to get driven into overdrive starting with a shift in approach to sexuality. The rules have changed. That old age old caveman mentality of dragging an unwilling mate into a cave has come to an abrupt end like a train at the end of a platform. But the caveman mentality has been the energetic patterning of the inner limbic brain of men for over 100,000 years. The grooves are deep in the collective memories of mankind.
But here is the thing - it is energetic. And that means it’s just like shifting pixels on a computer. Our male bodies can run a new program. And that program is being downloaded from the universe. It is has been here. It is available accessible and totally doable. We are flexible and adaptable beings. But it takes a little courage. And this is why I love Kundalini yoga so much. Because it gives us tools to make the essential shift in our core vibration so our DNA can blossom with new manifestation.
Us men have a job to do. Men tend to have a strong muscular grasp. We have to switch our grip, letting go of the physical status quo and grasp instead the light beams of the divine. This takes trust. It’s as though men are looking over a precipice into a beautiful potential, but remain huddled and hovering in fear. Because we don’t have the know how of how to trust and leap.
But with Kundalini yoga we do. We have to grab on to a new center that is flowing with light. Men like something tangible to hold on to. I believe our job as teachers is to generate the tangible feeling of expanded consciousness and lifted vibration so that we can hold on to that instead of the physical. We have to surrender too. That’s the power of Kundalini yoga, and why I love to teach it. I have seen the transformation in the “Ahah moment” of men. Transformation happens. We are just a little behind the women, but there is no turning back. The time is now, and the door is open.
Dharm Singh's favorite mantra...
Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. This is the greeting of the self to the creative aspect of God. I love this mantra because I love saying hello to God. As I vibrate the sound I envision I am plugging into the vast infinite creative force, and that Guru Ram Das is present. Then I can surrender to that energy, and in so doing get past any of my own hang ups. I will often repeat this mantra more than the typical 3 times, until I feel it is real and a genuine connection with the infinite is made.
I used to practice it for 11 or 31 minutes at a time at the Yoga Center I lived in in Rochester NY. One day when I was teaching in Los Angeles, on about the 3rd repetition of the mantra Yogi Bhajan came out from his quarters and sat with me on the teacher’s bench and proceeded to teach the class. In that gesture he taught me the incredible power of this mantra. It really calls in the divine. And later that evening he said the call of the mantra was perfect, which of course touched my soul and melted my heart as a young 23 year old student who just wanted to be perfect. Today as I practice it I still see him coming toward me at a 45 degree angle on my left side.