Sat Nam Fest Berkshires 2019
By Gregg A. Jackson
Wow, I am still trying to decide who and what was the breakout event and or person for this year! Just when I thought Sat Nam Fest couldn’t get any better, they wow us again and make it even better! The quality of the teachers, the musicians, the abundant and gourmet vegetarian food and the accommodations’ at the Eastover Retreat Center were all top notch again this year. In fact, this was the most amount of attendees in their history. I think they had over 700 people this year.
OK, so why am I still trying to decide, well it was because they flew the Legendary Guru Singh out from Los Angeles, and Akah Jackson led his own workshop. Two major players, each in their own right. Guru Singh completely mesmerized us with his workshop titled, “ Kundalini Yoga as a Global Solution” with his take on the coming of age during this global change and how all of us that are awake will be helping to shepherd all those next-in-line to be awakened. He also gave a workshop just for men and repeatedly helped us to remember that it is our job, now more than ever, to make sure women feel safe and protected. He was SO eloquent and SO powerful in his words, the Kundalini Yoga Kriyas, the pranayama and his music, I still feel his teachings emanating through me.
Akah Jackson is best known as half of the husband and wife team of the phenomenal Aykanna, and I think this year was his first time leading a workshop on his own. And boy did he! He even told his legendary story of the “Imaginal Cells just DYING to resurrect…” and you had to be there to feel his power and energy, especially when his wife Sukdev Jackson broke out into their much beloved song “I AM THAT I AM” shortly after Akah told the story.
Always phenomenal and powerful was Yogi Amandeep, best known as the “Himalayan Yogi.” He enthralled us with his blend of teachings from Yogi Bhajan, his story telling and his mystical teachings from the ancients, as well as his blowing of a conch shell, use of powerful Kundalini Yoga Kriya’s, Pranayam and playing music from very spiritual monks mixed with chanting, cow bells and deep rhythmic music. And he ALWAYS has us up and dancing at the end to the best Yoga dance music I’ve ever heard.
One workshop that was powerful in the softest of ways was led by Dr. ShamRang Singh and his lovely wife Arjan Kaur. It was called “Coming Home to G-d Within.” They led very sweet and soft Kundalini Yoga Kriya’s, accompanied by a gentle lecture on how we can access the G-d within us all through prayer, meditation, contemplation and simple living.
Dr. Mahan Rishi, always captivating, always provocative and always a thrill - combined his brilliance of blending the best Kundalini Yoga Kriya’s with insightful lessons, advice, music and humor. I never leave a class with him feeling lacking, as he always gives us his all.
Another soft and gentle teaching that was also a great was led by Satwant Singh titled “Connecting with Your Divine Self Through Daily Sadhana Practice.” He was so simple, yet so poignant as he helped us all understand the importance of getting up at the same time each morning, preferably sometime between 4am and 7am, taking as cold of shower as possible, meditating and doing morning Kriya’s every day. He shared many quotes by Yogi Bhajan, as well as Benjamin Franklin (“Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”), and shared that one of the best things to help us to develop and keep an early morning Sadhana practice is to start the night before. i.e. Eating at around 6-7pm, and shutting down by 8-9pm, so that we are in bed early and get to sleep.
Dr. Haridass Kaur led a workshop entitled “Creating New Neural Pathways for Happiness,” and it definitely worked, as I was feeling extra happy all day from her work. It didn’t hurt that a new and rising breakthrough musician Hansu Jot came from Germany and invited local US-based musician friends Kirin Jot, Tripp Dudley, Ezra Landing and others, which was an extra special treat!
The musicians and concerts were again simply amazing. The GuruGanesha Band, Aykanna, Snatam Kaur, Ajeet Kaur, Gurunam Singh, Sirgun Kaur, and Hansu Jot all rotated through the schedule at various times giving live concerts during the day and at night, performing for morning Sadhana, and also accompanying many of the workshops. One of my favorites was Aykanna playing Gurmukh’s last workshop titled “The Power of Grace,” which was beautiful, thought provoking and powerful as she weaved her stories and lessons from Yogi Bhajan and of Grace from her life into her Kriya’s. If I was to single out any of the musicians, I would honestly have to single out Tripp Dudley for playing percussion for nearly every single band that was playing on the main stage. Did that guy have a break?!?
Mike Tamburo did his Sonic Gong Sleep Bath, and Jai Dev Singh and Anne Novak taught several classes which I missed, but my friends that went loved them! And while I also missed Harnam’s class in painting and creating personal mandala’s, I did walk by and saw that he had 3 times more people in his workshop than last year, and they all were smiling, happy and holding up their work as I passed by.
To learn more about Sat Nam Fest visit www.satnamfest.com.