Wah, is such a treasure in the Kundalini Yoga community. Her unapologetic authenticity in the way she walks (and talks) in this world and with others, creates accessible containers of trust in the realm of healing and devotion. Alongside Sukhdev Jackson and Azita Nahai, Ph.D., Wah will offer a Wednesday workshop at Sat Nam Fest Joshua Tree entitled, “Woman as Healer.”
Sat Nam Fest had the pure joy and honor of interviewing Wah regarding her upcoming workshop and so much in between.
Sat Nam Fest: What is your favorite part about Sat Nam Fest Joshua Tree?
Wah: The family feel, the inclusiveness of children, and it’s a lot of fun! It’s not thousands and thousands of people, so it feels big enough that there’s space to make lots of new friends, but small enough that you see people again-and-again. You feel a sense of real village and connection. It’s intimate and with so many opportunities to meet so many like-minded people.
Sat Nam Fest: You are leading a powerful workshop, “Woman as Healer,” with Sukhdev and Dr. Azita Nahai. What can we expect from such a powerful trio of women in this workshop?
Wah: The three of us are dear friends… so living as an example and actually walking our talk, we work to create a space that is safe, nurturing, connected, and trusting. Whether it becomes life-long friendships or momentary friendships is kind of irrelevant – it’s just about how deep and how open can you be with other women, even if it’s just in a moment of time. Often our deepest feelings happen when we recognize the other person and drop the barriers and walls and just connect soul-to-soul.
A big part of what we do is create space for women to not only experience the teachings of Kundalini Yoga, but also create a space where we are playing with each other, we’re connecting with each other, and we’re having communication with each other. The way I view it is that we just facilitate space. The magic happens with the women showing up and bringing themselves to the table. A lot of it comes spontaneous, when we recognize what the women are longing for, what the women are ready for, and where they’re willing to go.
And there’s a big need for this now more than ever. There’s lots of self-help seminars, women’s marches, activities around activism for women and women’s rights, but there’s not a lot of space that is created with the intention of connection with tools. It’s either, “Let’s sit around in a circle and talk about our problems,” or some sort of seminar where we’re being talked at and lectured to. Our workshop is combining powerful tools that will help women ultimately make their connections deeper, and discover more profound healing.
Sat Nam Fest: You are obviously a creative woman who has stepped in her own power. What have been your greatest influences into rising into that space?
Wah: My mom has been one of my greatest influences. And my girlfriends! I believe in having your people and keeping them close. I think that friendships with women are really important. As much as I love men and all the men in my life, they just can’t quite fill the shoes of my girlfriends. And then of course Kundalini Yoga and Yogi Bhajan has been an influence.
I have doubts, just as much as anyone else. I’m only 34, so I’ve got a lot of life to hopefully live. I teach people that are 10+ years older than me and I have plenty of doubts. “Who am I? I’m too young to be teaching this, to be talking to these people, or to share the way I share.” My dear friends and mom reflect to me my truth and what I can do. Of course, the women and people that share stories make me feel like I’m doing it right – that helps me rise into that space, as well.
Sat Nam Fest: As women it seems we are subconsciously battling demons of our own individually, as well as globally. What are your personal experiences with this? How do these experiences affect how you relate to this world – as a teacher and more?
Wah: As a teacher, I welcome it because it makes me feel more human, more relatable and allows me to understand other people better. I am not an advocate of finding your spiritual teacher. I’m an advocate of being as real as possible and helping my realness guide others to their realness.
The truth is, whether we want to admit it or not, we grow when we’re challenged and uncomfortable and we when have the tools. I think it’s the way that we relate and tell the story of our challenge that is a big part of what it does to us – whether it victimizes us or empowers us.
Also, when you change your perspective, you just bounce back so much quicker! There’s always that moment in the middle of the fire when you realize you don’t have to hang out there for so long.
Daily practice is the key, because when you start to shift from your subconscious, you start to make different choices. When you change your choices, your challenges start to change and shift too. The more your subconscious changes, the more those challenges serve you. If you start to make different choices and the more aware you are, your whole life starts to shift in a way that is supportive to your growth. You’re not living in survival anymore.
Sat Nam Fest: In your workshop, you bring up a global shift happening right now. How would you describe what is going on? Why is it important to women? To men?
Wah: Yogi Bhajan talked about this time – that things were going to start moving very quickly. Things that took ten years to happen will take one year, one month and one week. It’s really this momentum that is carrying this women’s movement at such an accelerated pace. I don’t know that it’s more women rising. I think that time is just moving faster and with that its sweeping up more women now than it did in the past.
It is important to know that in our culture of instant gratification and instant results, this process is so deep in our subconscious. Both men and women are responsible for this. It’s going to take more than just superficial fixes to get the root why we are where we are.
For example, a lot of women have been rising up and speaking up about abuse in the Hollywood industry and yet we’re still subjects of sexual desires in most films and in most ways that females are represented. We have to question everything and not just what’s happening to us on a personal level. We have to question how we are representing ourselves, how are we allowing the world to represent us – and that’s going to take a deep consciousness shift, because women have been taught for so long that we have to look a certain way to be acceptable in the world and that could take generations to dig out of our subconscious.
As powerful as this movement is and as excited as I am, I just ask that the women in my life get ready to do the work and do it daily. You have to do it on your own self, because that’s all we can control. The minute we start to represent ourselves differently the world will start to see us differently.
You have to keep clearing the subconscious, because I think that it has a power over us that we don’t always acknowledge and we can all flip back into old ways of how we dress, communicate, and play games with the people we love. That subconscious is sneaky and unless you’re doing daily work to clear it out, you’re going to end up acting from that place you know you don’t want to act from. People want to ask a million questions, and questions are welcomed, but it’s like they’re looking for more a glamorous answers than “Just get up and meditate.”
What matters, first-and-foremost, is your daily practice. Without that you can eat all organic, you can be married to a saint, you can be working on a non-profit, etc. but your base is on wobbly legs.
Sat Nam Fest: What Kundalini practices and advice do you give for those still working on tapping into their strength and wisdom?
Wah: The best way to start is to choose a meditation and do it for 40 days. Have the experience of doing something for 40 days and knowing that if you miss or skip a day you have to restart. It creates that habit. The ultimate goal isn’t to get to the end and be done. The goal is to be doing the same thing every single day. I’ve been practicing the Adi Shakti meditation. I love the version of Nirinjan Kaur. This mantra, in both English and Gurmukhi, empowers women because they can understand what they’re chanting, and they chant louder like they’re making an oath or proclamation to the universe.
Sat Nam Fest: How can men rise with us as part of this collective divine feminine?
Wah: By supporting women and their spiritual journey. If they feel called, start to question the standards that they were given on what is manly and start to explore their feminine side themselves. Explore things that have been deemed only women should do like yoga or meditation. This assumption is being broken more and more, but it’s still very prevalent.
Most Kundalini classes are 95% women and maybe 5% men, if you’re lucky. Start to question those limitations and boundaries that have been created between what’s masculine and feminine. I truly believe we all have masculine and feminine in us – one just tends to be more dominant than the other. It behooves us all to want to access all of our energy. Support women and explore this with them! Also, learn to love and respect your mother, even if you didn’t like her! That’s where it all starts.
Sat Nam Fest: A little bit off topic, but one I am always so curious about: What does your own Sadhana consist of?
Wah: It rotates. I don’t do the same thing every day. I just make sure that I get up, sit in front of my altar, do yoga, meditate. Sometimes I do Adi Shakti . . .Japji . . .So Purkh. Women are naturally more fluid. We’re not so regimented. We ebb and flow with our moods and our moons, and I honor that part of myself and I enjoy and look forward to morning practice. If I had to do the exact same thing every single day, I’d probably just dread it and it would become robotic. I believe we have to listen to our bodies.
Sat Nam Fest: What is the biggest message you would like to share with the Sat Nam Fest community?
Wah: Take a pause on your life and immersive yourself in community and the teaching and lifestyle that Yogi Bhajan left us. Don’t look for the answers, just live the answer and the magic that unfolds from the experience. Come without expectations and with openness. Sat Nam Fest is a very unique and such a beautiful space – and it’s so accessible, so why not?!
This profound workshop at Sat Nam Fest Joshua Tree 2018 is bound to be healing and heart felt. Drop in with these three powerful women and with your sisters at Sat Nam Fest for a time of healing. For more information check out the workshop here.