How did you first get into Kundalini Yoga?
In the womb! Mama and Papa were yogis; I feel like I was born practicing yoga. It took me a while to actually enjoy this practice, because as a teenager I thought it was pretty weird and pointless. But as an adult, I find it to be my saving grace. The irony, right?
How did you decide to pursue a career in sacred chant music?
Oddly enough, I didn’t really ‘decide,’ nor did I ‘pursue’. It felt like the Universe was conspiring in my favor, creating opportunities for me to record and share my creative interpretations of the music I’d grown up with. The big things that were required from me (and they were big!) were courage and authenticity. If I stopped stepping outside of my comfort zone, the opportunities faded away. No joke. And if I faltered in my commitment to being my Self, the same sort of thing would happen. But as long as I showed up as ME, and found it within myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other no matter how unnerved or overwhelmed I felt, the doors remained open. It was a great exercise in trust & flow.
What inspired you to become a KY teacher and what keeps your passion for teaching going?
The technology of Kundalini yoga resurfaced in my life in my mid twenties, at a moment when I was facing a series of adult crises. Practicing it allowed me to breathe more deeply, clear through my emotional debris, find peace within chaos, and tap into the truest version of my Self — usually in separate stages, but sometimes all at once! Very quickly I knew I wanted to become a teacher, so that I could share Kundalini yoga with anyone seeking a tool for personal empowerment; and that same motivation is what keeps me passionate about it nearly a decade later.
Do you have a favorite mantra, yoga set, or meditation?
At the moment, no, I don’t have a favorite mantra, yoga set, or meditation. My favorites come in waves, and there isn’t one right now… but check back with me soon, haha!
Why do you like teaching and performing at SNF?
I love teaching and performing at Sat Nam Fest because of the people who show up to take the classes and sing with us at our concerts. Without them, we’re just yogis, yoga teachers, and singers with cool things to share… but WITH them, we’re collectively creating a vibration of healing, expansion, and joy. And in community, everything multiplies; because the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. So something REALLY special happens when we’re all there together. It’s the highlight of my year, being at Sat Nam Fest.
What about the KY community feels special to you?
As a touring artist & teacher, I’ve gotten to connect with the Kundalini community in a huge number of countries all over the world. And in every single place I’ve visited — everywhere, without exception! — this collective has risen to meet me; to practice with me, to sing with me, to host and feed me, and support my presence in their city. They open-heartedly take whatever I am able to offer, and generously give whatever they can give. It’s breathtaking. I am so much in awe of this community’s kindness.
What are some of your favorite things to do when you travel?
Take pictures. Visit museums and churches and fountains and gardens. I especially like to check out where the locals go; that’s always a totally different experience from regular tourism. I also like to sleep, lots and lots. Oh oh oh, and I LOVE to sample every country’s dark chocolate. That’s a high priority for me. A tasty priority, too.
What are some tools you use to help manage stress?
For me, stress is best managed by walking in nature, writing in a journal, singing a song, or doing my meditation practice. I always experience a profound perspective shift after utilizing any of those tools, which enables me to step back in with focus and grit. But sometimes I need a distraction from the stress before I can even BEGIN to try to manage it, and that’s when Netflix is necessary. I have favorite episodic shows that are alternately hilarious, uplifting, informative, and mind-broadening; a few current ones are ‘Queer Eye’, ‘Dear White People’, ‘Chef’s Table’, ‘Planet Earth’, and ’The Great British Baking Show’. Gems, all of them. All have delighted me in different ways at different times.
And then of course there’s the wisdom of the Aquarian sutra that says “Start, and the pressure will be off.” So sometimes there’s nothing except DOING the stressful thing that helps to alleviate the stress. The key to it all, I think, is to figure out which is the best stress-management tool in any given moment, and then USE it.
What inspires what you will sing at SNF?
My setlists at Sat Nam Fest are always inspired by the bandmates I’ve gathered (it’s a different collective nearly every time!) and by the present moment. We’ve got to sing what we’re feeling, no? And we’ve got to capitalize on the unique skills of the musicians who join us. So I strive to weave together something that could ONLY exist “in the here and now.” With these people. On this day. At this festival.
What is your favorite aspect of SNF?
Am I allowed to say “I love everything about Sat Nam Fest”?? Because that’s totally true!
Is it also true that you won’t be at any of the Sat Nam Fests in 2019?
Yes! It makes me sad to miss them, because of how much I love this family, but I’ll be touring overseas for all of 2019. So I won’t be able to join the fun here in North America. Which means that I hope everyone will come to the Berkshires THIS year! I can’t wait!