Jai-Jagdeesh’s journey as a singer began over 20 years ago and her creative spirit has walked many artistic paths: actress, classical Indian dancer, photographer and writer. She is deeply devoted to sharing these sacred sounds, and sings them from the center of her heart. Enjoy Jai-Jagdeesh live in concert at Sat Nam Fest Berkshires on Thursday afternoon.
“There’s something about revisiting gratitude for the past that creates a sense of lightness and peace in the present.”
How do you relate to the practice of Kundalini Yoga?
I actually didn’t choose it for myself until my mid-20s, when I was undergoing some major life changes and experiencing all the stress that comes with such things. A little voice inside my head quietly said, “You have tools to deal with this, use them!” So I did. And I felt firsthand how deeply this practice could work on my body, mind, and spirit, and how it completely expanded my soul. Since that time, it’s been a steady part of my routine, because I feel like my whole life opened up once I started practicing. Everything changed; it was a revolution.
“There is a real alchemy to what happens in community.”
What do you love about performing live?
Every artist has a unique personality, and that personality is a great reflection of their history, how they walk through the world, and why they serve the way they do. All of that helps inform the music, both at the moment of creation and when it’s shared live. So it’s a really sweet thing to experience the musicians you love in their full-flesh human form. Plus, each person carries a vibration that is different in person than through a stereo or a computer. On YouTube, you can experience a little bit of who they are and how they are when they share, but you’re missing the person’s essence.
There’s also the community factor. Being in community with all the other souls who are having an experience at a concert, in a yoga class, or with an art project at Sat Nam Fest… it’s special. Everyone’s heartbeat, everyone’s breath, and everyone’s voice blends together in the sweetest sound, the most potent vibration. And when it comes to the yoga practice itself, there is a real alchemy to what happens in community.
Sometimes we are able to dive deeper because we witness someone else’s deep dive. I have had so many experiences on the yoga mat where one other person in the room went to a place that was so expanded, they carried me with them. I have felt another’s emotional release, and it triggered something within me that needed to be released. That is the magic of being and practicing in community: people lift each other. And what we need more than ANYTHING right now is to lift and be lifted.
“Go within. Bow to the cosmos and do the work to fully inhabit your being.”
What is your advice for finding a community and a tribe of women?
I’d say to start with (or continue, if that’s the case) personal excavation. Go within. Bow to the cosmos and do the work to fully inhabit your being. Ask yourself: What’s important to me? What do I value? What makes me tick? What turns me on about life and the world; how do I feel about my power as a woman; what way do I most long to serve? When we find what is resonant within ourselves, our frequency changes and amplifies. And the more connected you are to who you are, the more you will authentically align with people who speak the same “language” and vibrate the same frequency.
Finding your tribe is not a process of excluding the rest of the world. And finding a tribe is, of course, not unique to women only. It’s instinctual in humans, but sometimes we don’t even recognize the instinct. I think that’s where the great divides appear; when people feel left out, unsupported, or alone in their human experience. Disenfranchisement does intense things to the psyche. On the other hand, we thrive within community, and we thrive even more if that community vibes how we vibe, no?
When the tribe of women comes together, truly comes together, I believe we will see a huge change in the world. A deep healing. There’s been so much brokenness for so long, but I’m witnessing pieces of it slowly mending. Bridges are being crossed, boundaries are being taken down, and I’m so grateful. Because we’ll need that togetherness to move through this Age. In times of immense conflict, we need to be present with ourselves and with each other—and being part of a tribe makes this possible.
“When the tribe of women comes together, truly comes together, I believe we will see a huge change in the world. A deep healing. “
What are a few practices that bring you back to your truth and your center?
I use a few different tools to change my energy when I recognize it isn’t serving me. Some of them are in-the-moment practices that help me to return to myself, and others are daily practices that help recalibrate me at whatever point in time I tick them off my to-do list.
(1) For in-the-moment support, it’s almost always mantra. And the mantra that I turn to most often is Guru Guru Wahe Guru, Guru Ram Das Guru. When I notice I’m getting bent out of shape, I stop and breathe. Sometimes I close my eyes; that often helps. Then, if possible, I step away from the situation to get grounded on my own and, more often than not, this mantra will start running through my head or I’ll just impulsively recite it out loud.
(2) On par with the power of the mantra, having a moment to myself to get refocused is so valuable. Stepping away is majorly underrated; we should all do it as often as we can. To hit “pause” for a moment allows for pure presence with what IS. From there, we can begin again.
(3) One of the things I do daily is a variation of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Happiness jar. I take out a pen and a little piece of repurposed paper (I cut up everything from junk mail to random envelopes to extra event posters to one-sided printouts I no longer need…) and I write down my favorite moment from the previous day. Whatever it is, and wherever it is on the scale of “awesome” to “awful”, I think of my favorite moment and I write it down.
Even if the day was a challenging one, I can find something that was inspiring, sweet, special, or significant. And then, whenever I need inspiration, I can look back on real moments of my real life, and it totally shifts my perspective. There’s something about revisiting gratitude for the past that creates a sense of lightness and peace in the present.
(4) Lastly and perhaps most importantly, I read a little bit of divine poetry as often as I can, usually once a day. There are poets out there who articulate so well what my spirit feels in more complicated moments. Sometimes I’ll even read it aloud, to receive it ever more deeply.
To hear something so beautifully expressed, and to feel its resonance inside my being… my heart—or my spirit, my soul, my inner child; whatever facet of me needs healing—silently says “Mmmmmm, alright. Someone else has experienced it too. We’re all in this together. Everything is okay.” It sounds so grand, but I’m not kidding when I say that I come away from those poems feeling that everything is perfect. That I am loved by the universe. And that all I need to do is breathe, be, and foster joy.