Last summer, you released your book The Body Temple: Kundalini Yoga For Body Acceptance, Eating Disorders & Radical Self-Love. What was your inspiration for this offering? What made you decide to put pen to paper?
I’ve spent my whole life learning how to be at peace in my body. I realized that I was uniquely placed to be the one to write it. I was someone who had been called “too skinny” and “too fat” at various times in my life, that I’d felt what it was like to have both serious illness and powerful health, that I had experienced hating myself and loving myself, and that I understood how to use Kundalini Yoga to reinforce self-love on a daily basis. And so I guess you could say that I was called to write this book by my own life. I have been a writer since I was a little girl. I’d wanted to write a Kundalini Yoga manual like this for several years and the stars finally aligned to make it happen. It was a joy and a challenge like no other.
Has the feedback met your expectations?
I didn’t have expectations on the feedback really. You send something out into the world that you love and you hope others love it too. I’ve been overjoyed to read people’s messages telling me that it’s helping them come out of an eating disorder or finally make peace with their bodies after a long illness. I hope everyone who reads it finds value in it and something that speaks to their own souls. I hope it serves people.
What brought you to this path — this spirit voyage, if you will?
I felt like I was racing through life in my twenties. I operated at breakneck speed, always worried about missing out on the next great experience or opportunity. I was worried about missing my big break, whatever that was going to be, and I burned myself out. I arrived at Kundalini Yoga with a shattered nervous system, a broken heart, and a confusion about my true destiny. Kundalini Yoga became my refuge and sanctuary, and it helped me rebuild a solid foundation for my life. It helped me slow down and breathe. I was first called to it, like so many, by the music. Snatam Kaur was the first kirtan musician I ever heard, and I thought her voice was spun from gold. She opened my heart and introduced me to the path.
I see you are teaming up with Nirinjan Kaur for your class at Sat Nam Fest on Saturday. Can you tell us a bit about what to expect?
The class is about radical self-love for radical times and learning how to ground yourself even more deeply into your body temple. It’s about how to accept yourself no matter what, and how to relate to yourself as a soul in a temple rather than a body in a pant size. It’s a class to help you become unshakeable in your paradigm of love. I’m thrilled to have Nirinjan Kaur singing for us. She is one of my best friends. Her voice is at once filled with steel and lace. Ist has such a combination of strength and vulnerability.
What does Sat Nam Fest mean to you? What feelings does it invoke?
Sat Nam Fest is such an act of love for all who come together to put it on. Some of the deepest experiences of my life have happened at Sat Nam Fest. Someone will be singing and I’ll be chanting along and the swell of energy from the crowd will help catapult me to deeply ecstatic states. For many of the musicians and teachers who come to Sat Nam Fest, it’s like coming home to your family.
How is Joshua Tree different than the other festivals?
Joshua Tree is desert energy: power, yang, clarity, wisdom. The trees wake you up and shake you into an awareness of yourself as a grand being intricately connected to nature. And the stars! There are a million stars in the night sky.
Any advice for first time attendees?
Take care of your body temple. Hydrate far more than you think you need. Smile. Make friends. Practice your yoga sincerely, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun!
How do you suggest to best take the festival home, to continue the depth of practice and focus we find in the desert?
Find a community, either in person or online, to be a part of. Discover what thrills you about Kundalini Yoga and make that a daily part of your life. Feed your body temple what it needs. Plan your next Kundalini adventure so you have something to look forward to that will anchor you back to your practice.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
I’ll be leading my first Body Temple retreat at Kripalu in September, from the 15-17th. It’s an immersion retreat focusing on radical self-love and how to transform your relationship to your body through love. I’m really excited to share that experience with everyone who comes. I’m also planning for my next guided meditation album!
On a more personal level, I’ve been working on my doctorate and also training in Greece later this year in belly dance, which is something that I studied in the Middle East in my early twenties, and I’m just delighted to get back into it more deeply. Writing and practicing The Body Temple work has opened up my heart and transformed me. I’m exploring new and deeper ways to experience joy and fulfillment and to honor my body temple.
Come see Ramdesh and Nirinjan Kaur at Sat Nam Fest and experience their powerful workshop
The Body Temple: Radical Self-Love for Radical Times. The time is here for us to rise and meet our destinies with grit and grace. Let go of old programs and patterns of thinking about yourself and your body that would hold you back. Fall radically in love with yourself and your body temple.