Yogi Bhajan said, “You owe it to yourself to be yourself.” This past weekend at Sat Nam Fest Joshua Tree, people gathered to manifest the essence, the teaching, and the truth of this Yogi Bhajan quote.

We gathered to dance and to laugh. As one festival attendee joyfully reported to her friends, “Yesterday, we were dancing! Today, we are laughing!” She and a group of friends were exchanging hugs, and this hugging exchange rippled pure happiness from the center of this circle out into the vast expanse of the desert. These friends were squealing with joy, fully expressing themselves in love toward one another, expressing without inhibition.

Another attendee described her experience. “It is like being inebriated but without toxic substances. A natural high with every breath!” Here, so many people were easily entering a space of giddiness and laughter. No one was putting on airs. No one was acting “too cool for school.” We practiced all these unusual yoga exercises and chanted mantras without concern about being judged or ridiculed. No one judged us. We entered a space of pure being.

Tej is a teacher from Los Angeles who encouraged those who attended her class to start projecting energy from the Third Eye to heal people. From the Third Eye, penetrate other people by silently repeating: “You are healed! You are great!” That is a simple practice anyone can take home with them.

Photography: Grayson Teg Gian

She also taught this: In any situation, inhale, hold the breath, mentally repeat the word “Victory!” Then exhale. Do that anytime and anywhere, and you will notice how it changes your circumstance.

We meditated on bringing gold into the body. We visualized the whole body filling up with gold. We became The Golden Yogis. In this state of Golden Yogi Consciousness, Tej said, “Pray for everyone’s prosperity.” We did.

Her class nurtured a sense that we can live in a world where there is not so much competition but more support for each other. She encouraged us to thank everyone around us for showing up. It’s quite simple, really. Turn to someone and show support; make the world a more creatively collaborative place.

After Tej’s class, this group had been transformed from a crowd of festival attendees into a unified collective of victorious golden-bodied yogis.

DSC_8654Another highlight was Yogi Amandeep’s class entitled “Third Eye: Diving Into the Hidden Realm.” He told the story of an ancient sage who was predicted to die at twelve years old, but the boy cultivated a witnessing consciousness, so when Death came for him, he sat.  He watched. He controlled his breath. He inhaled and exhaled through one nostril only in order to consciously witness Death. The sage watched Death, and Death could not take him. From this experience, the sage discovered the Maha Mrityunjai Mantra. We practiced the Maha Mrityunjai Mantra (which can be found on Ajeet Kaur’s new album, Shuniya) that is chanted every day on the banks of the Ganga River. We transformed into light beings who can remain conscious through the death process.

Photography: Kristina Clemens

Some wisdom Yogi Amandeep did not want us to forget is this: “The only way to open the Third Eye is to sit in darkness.” He guided us to synchronize our breath with everyone else’s breath in the room. When we synchronized, a portal opened, a stargate opened. Then we could enter dimensions of consciousness we have never experienced before.

These kinds of things only happen at Sat Nam Fest. The experience is so deep and so special.

Yogi Amandeep quoted Guru Nanak, saying, “When I heard my heart beat, I realized it was the same heartbeat in all.” In this moment at Sat Nam Fest, we could sense all of us in synch with Guru Nanak’s wisdom. In this moment, simply by saying, “Enter the state of yoga!” Yogi Amandeep guided us into pure being in oneness consciousness.

On Sunday, in Krishna Kaur’s class, she taught a mantra that helps strengthen our ability to project our authenticity into any communication with others. Even if those others are far away, this meditation helps us communicate on the subtle realm with people who are close to our hearts but physically distant. We can hold a thought or a communication in our mind and heart and send it to that faraway person.

Attending these classes offered precious teachings that we can all bring home and practice every day. Sat Nam Fest celebrates ways to bring more wisdom, more depth, and more consciousness into our day-to-day lives.

We leave knowing this: we can be creative householders. We can be empowered employees. We can be communicative teachers. These experiences nurtured us so that we can come home to be – just be. We can be and serve with grace and ease. We can be pure grace and pure ease. We owed it to ourselves to be ourselves. Now, after the festival, we can relax and enjoy this precious pay back we’ve made to ourselves. We can delight in the knowledge that Sat Nam Fest holds space for these yogic teachings to flourish.  We can relax and enjoy dwelling in our true identity.  Sat Nam!


Surjot Kaur is a KRI certified teacher of Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan. She writes about yoga, meditation, and consciousness. She seeks to be a humble observer of the Play of Divine Consciousness. She prays all beings may awaken to total freedom. She lives with a loving husband, two daughters, and a dog in San Diego.