We had the privilege of speaking with Kundalini and Ashtanga Yoga teacher Akasha Ellis. He’s been sharing the light all around the world.
What’s your favorite memory from Sat Nam Fest?
The first Sat Nam Fest I attended was in 2011. Right before Jai and I were to teach they announced the change of the name from Spirit Fest to Sat Nam Fest. It was in honor of Sat Nam Kaur and her vision of seeing Yogi Bhajan’s teachings and kirtan becoming available to all. Sat Nam Kaur was one of many mama’s growing up and I knew her well. I was teaching a set on the heart that day and after the announcement felt touched. It reminded me of how grateful I am for these teachings. Sat Nam Fest for me is coming together and sharing our hearts and being one. These festivals always remind me of my youth and a vehicle to Honor Yogi Bhajan and those who came before us who created the space for all of us to have these tools and techniques to better understand ourselves. Sat Nam fest for me is a wonderful experience to be one with :).
Spoiler Alert: What can you share about your SNF class/concert?
We’ll be awakening our hearts for sure along with some energizing prana and immune system work. For many of us it’s been a long winter and we could all use a little clearing physically and emotionally. I’m always honored to get to teach with Jayalakshmi and Ananda. Their music pulls us closer to our selves in the practice, and it makes the classes so much more powerful.
Can you talk about an album that you love and tell us why?
I love so much of the mantra music, but I’ve been diving into Nirinjan Kaur’s new album From Within.
What’s your favorite mantra and what does it mean?
Oh so many:) I usually pick a new kriya and mantra every few months. Though I have always loved Wahe Guru mantra, Yogi Bhajan gave to me as a boy. I’ve been doing that for most of my life and in Sadhana and all of the meditations in the aquarian sadhana. I’ve been doing a kriya, Healing the Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Bodies…Hands are like Spock hands (in manual, Self Experience pg 37). It’s very powerful self purification kriya given to set the physical, mental and spiritual body. Melding them together so the spirit can truly orchestrate it’s work and dwell within. It’s done silent and or with a mantra Har Haray Haree Wahe Guru. Har is the goddess, creation the manifestation of the creator, invoking the manifestation of the creation Life on earth.
How did you get into Kundalini Yoga?
Karma. I saw Star Wars and I knew I wanted to be a Jedi Knight! One day when I was 10 or 11 I was with my father and we went to a White Tantric Yoga course in Atlanta we were in the way back, and YB walked in and came back to where we were sitting, he looked at my father he said ” You can keep running but you’ve found your answer, after class come back to see me and bring your boy.” That was it! That day we did Tantric, I thought it was the most difficult thing I’d ever done in my life, I prayed to go to sunday school, so much easier 🙂 after class we went back and met him, and his eyes and his presence were beyond beyond…it was a 250 lb Yoda and I had found the answer! He was very clear with me from day one, you’ve got to be your own teacher, you cannot rely on me or anyone else but you can rely on the one that created you the teacher within all of us..
What’s your personal practice right now?
Gosh, I’m a teaching yoga so I am blessed. I am always doing yoga, meditation and chanting. I love sadhana on my own and with others…especially coming home and practicing sadhana with our yogi’s in Birmingham. I also practice an individual kriya like the the meditation I mentioned above.
How do you stay calm and centered with busy teaching/touring schedule?
Sadhana, of course, ashtanga yoga but also finding 15-20 minutes to sit in silence to go into my heart and just be. Give space to whatever emotions come up and dissolve not judge, try and stay calm detached from both sides of duality. Along with sadhana, each week I try to keep a balanced diet and enjoy life with myself, work, friends and family.