The great Gurmukh is India-bound after a three-city Canadian tour this month.
Internationally renowned yoga expert Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa wrapped up a four-day seminar today in Ottawa.
She taught a Kundalini yoga training course for yoga teachers Oct. 27-30 at The Shunnya Centre, 63 Beechwood Ave.
It’s the last official stop on a three-city Canadian tour this month that included visits to Vancouver and Edmonton.
The 68-year-old former yoga teacher-to-the-stars is now preparing to go to India.
In case you missed her, here’s a collection of wisdom-filled quotes from a recent interview I conducted with the woman commonly known as Madonna’s ex-yoga instructor, followed by video clips from the Vancouver and Edmonton workshops:
• On balance
“Body, mind and soul … (are) the three aspects of the human being and once they come into balance, that’s when you find happiness.”
• On happiness
“Happiness is that which doesn’t deviate due to circumstances. You know, you have a girlfriend, she breaks up (with you) and then you’re sad. … You had a bummer day. … When you’re truly happy, you just keep constant. It doesn’t mean you’re not emotional or sad when something happens. But you don’t give away that permanent gift inside of you.”
• On inner peace and geographic location
“If you find that peace inside of you, you can almost be anywhere and not be affected by your environment. But if you don’t have that inner strength and connectiveness, the environment dictates your emotions. … Kundalini yoga gives you the interior peace no matter where you are.”
• On whether a certain physical activity is worthwhile
“Is it fun, does it make me feel good, and is it also challenging? If all those three things I can answer (affirmatively), then to me it’s so worthy of doing.”
• On her formative years in the U.S. midwest
“I worked hard at ice skating and then swimming and being on the swim team and water ballet and all that. I always loved movement and dance. I loved to read and I loved school, but I really liked to move. I always have.”
• On breathing at full capacity
“That’s why people get high when they climb mountains, when they do marathons, when they ski — because they’re using full breath capacity. It’s hard at first, but then you get a high without any drugs at all. The high comes from the connection of your breath to your spirit. They call it a second wind in sports. We just call it a spiritual connection. It’s all the same thing.”
• On teaching yoga to celebrities
“I did that for a number of years. … That was a chapter of my life I would never go back to. It was interesting, it was entertaining, but it wasn’t sustaining for my soul. I got so less impressed as time went on with all the celebrities. I enjoyed them, but I saw then just as anybody else. They still had to learn to breathe and quiet their mind and move their bodies. They just became wonderful human beings, but they weren’t any different than anyone else.”
• On her worldwide notoriety
“I never planned on it. … I never asked for this at all. It just was my destiny. It wasn’t like I went out looking for it. I just kept teaching and working hard and carrying on, and lo and behold, this thing happened. But it wasn’t any of my doing. It was more just destiny’s doing, you might say. And I’m thankful for it.”
• On teaching
“I teach a lot of teachers to become teachers. That’s my biggest goal because I’ll leave my body, but what am I leaving on the earth? I want to leave teachers that will carry this ancient technology on. … I feel so blessed every morning I wake up and it makes me really be more dedicated to wanting to help other people to feel the same way — to feel alive.”
• On yoga
“It’s the most ancient science in the whole world. It’s 40,000 years old. It wasn’t just thought up in the ’80s and the ’90s. And you don’t need anything but yourself and your breath. You don’t even need any equipment. It’s such a built-in ancient technology that just came up. It was lying dormant, you might say, and then in the mid-’70s, it started awakening. And now … everybody’s doing yoga.”
• On tips for trying yoga
“Find a class in your area. It doesn’t matter what kind. Just give it a try. Everybody’s got yoga everywhere and maybe that won’t be the yoga that you’ll stick with, but you’ll get an experience and then maybe try another yoga class or get a video. And the best test is how do you feel? Do you feel more calm? Do you have more energy? Are you less worried? Whatever it is. Does your back feel better? Whatever it is. And that would be the sign. If you feel sicker and stiffer and more angry or whatever your thing is, then it’s not for you, but I’ve never met anyone that it’s not for them.”
• On the essence of yoga
“The expression is: ‘Off the mat and into the world.’ Like, get off the mat, your spirits are up, your body feels good, now go and help other people who don’t feel this way.”
Following yesterday’s sold-out workshop, there’s only one more opportunity to catch internationally renowned yoga expert Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa in Edmonton.
The ex-flower child who counts Madonna and Cindy Crawford among her former yoga students will be at Ross Sheppard School, (13546 111 Ave.) from 6 to 8:30 p.m. today (Oct. 25) for a workshop titled Peace of Mind: How to get it … How to keep it.
The 68-year-old presented a workshop called 10 Sacred Secrets to Success yesterday (Oct. 24) at Laurier Heights School.
Here’s a note from local yoga instructor Susan Agrios, who helped bring Gurmukh to Alberta’s capital during a three-city Canadian tour this month:
Gurmukh and Edmontonian Susan Agrios
I often get asked why do you have Gurmukh teaching in a school? I intentionally put Gurmukh in two schools for a number of reasons:
1) I have been teaching students and teachers about yoga and meditation so they can experience the many benefits. As well, I have been teaching yoga and meditation to teachers across the province at conventions such as GETCA, HEPC so they can use it for themselves and also teach it to their students in the classroom. I feel this is such an important/key place for yoga and meditation to be and if kids can learn this at a young age it will help them better deal with all the stress they face on a daily basis and into their adulthood. We spend so much time trying to control our environment or we try to escape from it by perhaps watching TV, drinking or going away on a trips …we either have to literally remove ourselves from our environment and we check out by watching TV and others go even further by drinking or taking drugs. Yet in the end we still have to come back to our environment. I often have people tell me they went away for a week and they were just starting to unwind the last few days of their trip. They tell me how they go back to work and by the end of the day they feel like they need another vacation. I’ve always felt you can’t control your environment but you can certainly change what you can bring to it … something yoga and meditation can help you with.
2) I was a former school teacher and was able to see first hand all the stress teachers and students are under. As well, how important it is to have mental focus and clarity as both a teacher and student … again something yoga and meditation can help you with. Please note I was a former student at both of the schools (Laurier Heights and Ross Shep, my nieces are now at Laurier Heights) Gurmukh will be teaching at. In addition to being a graduate at Ross Shep I was also a former school teacher there.
3) I’ve got a program called TIME OUT in the schools. TIME OUT for yoga, meditation and fitness. Proceeds and donations from this event will go towards the TIME OUT program … continuation of yoga, meditation and fitness in the schools.
4) I wanted to make it more affordable for people so having her in a larger space enabled us to do so as it will fit more people. The last thing I wanted to hear was I sure would like to go see here, but I can’t afford to.
Please note this event is also open to students … grades 5 and up.
So in short, it was very fitting to have her in the schools
Also if you get a chance, watch my nine-minute video on my website (click on classes & cds and scroll down to video) of teaching yoga and meditation in the schools and you will get a flavour of what I am doing with the students and teachers and the impact it is having on them as you listen to their testimonials.
Look forward to having you join us for two special evenings with Gurmukh and experience a magical evening with us.
Side-step the ego and tune into the guidance of your higher self, transmitting the truth of your soul to you through intuition and heightened awareness. Connect to your higher purpose through the ancient technology of Kundalini yoga and meditation. Learn to relax the control of the rational mind and release yourself from the cycle of worry, anxiety and fear obstructing your connection to your Truth. All levels.
• 3:30-5:30 p.m. Enlightenment: Why the Buddha Waits at the Gates of Heaven
Whatsoever you do, do it with deep alertness. Then even small things become sacred. They become worship. It is not a question of what you are doing. The question is: How are you doing it? Join Gurmukh for a luminous workshop. Make more and more of your life luminous with awareness. Let the candle of awareness burn in each moment, in each act. The cumulative effect is enlightenment. The cumulative effect, all the moments together, all the small candles together, is a great source of light. Let us shine from the inside out with Kundalini yoga, followed by a long gong meditation.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Semperviva City Studio: #100-1985 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C.
• 12:30-3 p.m.Open Your Heart to the Subtle Voice Within Through Kundalini Yoga and Meditation
We are born to fulfill our destiny. When we realign with the subtle voice within, we realign our destiny. Through Kundalini Yoga and meditation we open all channels of divinity. Your body becomes a divination tool that is intrinsically receptive to hearing the Well of Divine Consciousness within. Instead of ruminating on your life, you are illuminating your life. Through asana, chanting, dancing and meditation, along with the sound of the sacred Gong, we celebrate the fulfillment of our divine connection to Truth, Spirit and Destiny. All levels welcome.
• 3:30-5:30 p.m.Magnificent Grace
Grace is untouchable. When we open to the understanding of true grace, we are kissed by God. We have grown complacent in the use and misuse of inner power. Power is an energy much like grace. However, grace is our true inheritance in consciousness. Through Kundalini yoga and meditation, learn to rise above all situations into a realization of true, pure, exalted oneness with divinity. Our real power is beyond power; it is grace. Chant, dance, meditate, and receive all-empowering blessings of a new consciousness.
Gurmukh has taught the likes of Madonna, Cindy Crawford and David Duchovny.
Check back for details on Gurmukh’s upcoming stops in Edmonton and Ottawa.
Round 2 of Tommy Europe’s Shred Bootcamp was bigger, better … and tougher.
More than 110 fitness enthusiasists — mostly women — got their butts kicked last Sunday at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Here’s a look back at all the sweaty fun:
First, came the warm-up ...
... which was a hearty dose of ...
The fast-paced session …
… was led by instructor Abena Queeley.
Then came the main event … (Photo by Catherine Griwkowsky)
… Mr. Tommy Europe, who barked out orders … (Photo by Catherine Griwkowsky)
… and also practiced what he preached. (Photo by Catherine Griwkowsky)
What a grueling — but fantastic — workout! (Photo by Catherine Griwkowsky)
Special thanks to Dwayne and Maria Ellis of FitFAMILIEZ who helped host Tommy Europe for the second time this year. (Photo by Cary Castagna)
And thanks, of course, to the no-nonsense drill sergeant, who made time to pose for photos with fans, including Jen Hamel and her mom Kathy Anderson, who won tickets through this blog. (Photo by Cary Castagna)
Tommy Europe also generously made some time to kick my butt one more time — in a post-bootcamp posedown!
The muscular ex-CFLer, who lives in Vancouver, promises to return to Edmonton next year for Round 3 of his Shred Bootcamp — most likely in the spring. Stay tuned to this blog in the coming months for more details and another chance to win tickets.