My mother isn’t a yogi. Over 30 years ago (forgive me if I don’t say just how many years over 30 ago), she did prenatal yoga, not because she loved yoga, but because she loved me growing in her belly and wanted to give me the best start possible. After I was born, she’d get onto the floor with me and we’d stretch into cobra and be snakes. I think she still has the Yoga for Children book she used when I was young. But then years passed, and our spiritual practice didn’t include yoga. I watched her meditate every morning in the hours when we just woke up, doing her seated silent meditation practice, or listening to her relax to a guided meditation cd. When high school came around, something remarkable happened. As a method of exchange with her for her spiritual counseling sessions, a yoga teacher came to the house once a week and taught us both to stretch. For me, I wasn’t settled enough in my brain to take in the full magnitude of what I was studying. I made Hatha a “contact sport”, I joked, laughing the whole way through. But even for teenage me, who had severe balance problems due to a brain virus, I saw the merits of yoga. After hard work for a year, I learned to stand on one foot. It was a major victory to stand in simple tree pose without falling over. At the time, I was also recovering from hip injuries that left my lower body extremely tight and prone to injury. In my teens, I had the body of a much older woman, which had an unintended sweet consequence…my mother and I had the same capabilities in our yoga practice, so it flowed very nicely to have classes together. Beginners both, we bonded over hatha yoga in those few years until I left for college, and also left behind my practice of yoga with my mother.
In my early twenties, I took a few vinyasa classes at gyms and due to my over-achieving nature and need to be “good” at what I do, I pushed to hard and twice – yes, twice – sprained my back. Although I had meditated many times, I hadn’t yet learned to calm the mind and enter a space where I was responding to the needs of my body in the moment. But in my late twenties I discovered Kundalini yoga music. My whole heart loved the chanting like nothing else I’d ever known. It made me reach a space of such intense bliss that even the chanting faded away and all that was left was the Divine. My mother, still devoted to her daily meditation practice, encouraged me to find my quiet space each day. And I did. I threw myself into it with sheer delight. Like a kid in a candy store, I ran from mantra to mantra, tasting it, touching it, learning what it felt like inside my heart before running to the next, eager to try it all. “Mama!” I would run to her, listen to this! Isn’t this grand? And she knew, too, when she heard Snatam Kaur’s “Ong Namo” what I loved. She felt it too.
My mother doesn’t practice Kundalini yoga as her path. She still does her seated silent meditation, her guided meditations and her Science of Mind. Her practice is rock steady. But she does join in on some of the Spirit Voyage 40 Day Global Sadhanas (in part, I suspect because she likes to meditate with her daughter). She goes to Snatam Kaur concerts and has even come to Sat Nam Fest. And when I lead a workshop in her area, she is in the front room teaching all the ladies how to keep up, proud as can be. She’s tough, that one. Delicate, too. Not your typical “yoga lady” at all, but a heavyweight meditator.
There’s nothing like sharing what you love with your mom. This Mother’s Day, why not introduce her to what makes your heart sing? To the Kundalini yoga music that brings you joy? She doesn’t need to know what it means to know that you love it, and chances are she’ll love it because it makes her think of you. And it works on moms. It melts them. Just watch. Seeing her take her first few steps into Kundalini yoga brings me the kind of joy she must have felt watching me take my first few steps in this world.
Here are my top suggestions on what Kundalini yoga to share with your mother this Mother’s Day:
Everyone loves this song, even Oprah. It helps to connect the listener to their own soul. My mother refers to “Celebrate Peace” as the blue CD and has kept it in her car ever since she “stole” it from me four years ago.
This sweet, floating song is haunting and heart-felt. It’s so entirely heart centered, featuring a beautiful Rumi poem and a chorus of chanting to Guru Ram Das.
This song from the CD “Liberation’s Door” features the Mother’s Prayer, which is sung here in 3 languages, and features the ultimate in spiritual blessing from a mother to child. Makes mamas everywhere turn to putty.
4) Simple Meditations
Teach her a simple meditation. Something like the “Waheguru Meditation” can bring about a feeling of peace and calm in a very short period of time. It can create that “high” feeling so often associated with Kundalini yoga, and show her why you are so into this type of yoga. It’s easy to do and doesn’t hurt, which is another bonus for sharing with your mom.
5) Beautiful Affirmations
“I am bountiful, I am blissful, I am beautiful.” Some of Yogi Bhajan’s more simple English affirmations can cut through the cultural divide between those who like Kundalini yoga and those who don’t. Sing these mantras together while cooking, cleaning, driving or just laughing together. If your mother is ill, these beautiful mantas are a gift you can leave playing in her space to comfort her.
6) Gentle Spinal Flex
A body is as young as its spine is flexible. Help her reclaim her youth and hold onto her mobility by teaching her simple spinal flex, which she can do on her own everyday to keep her spine healthy and lubricated. This important exercise should be in everyone’s daily toolbelt.
This beautiful song is the ultimate ode to mother’s. Honoring the ultimate Mother of all, it helps us all to reconnect with the beloved one inside of us. She’ll know you remember her, and remember her own mother dearly.
8) Sparkly loveliness
I gave my mother this necklace and she absolutely loved it. Using the Gurmukhi for mother, “Mataji”, it made her feel like we were speaking a secret language of love. Shhhh….
9) The Grace of God Meditation
The simple and powerful meditation is really sublime for women. Who wouldn’t love telling themselves over and over that they are the Grace of God?
10) Kirtan Kriya
This meditation is wonderful to keep mental faculties sharp as our bodies and minds age. It’s even been studied by Harvard University doctors for its benefits in reversing Alzheimer’s. Simple, easy and sweet, she can get lost in this meditation for a length of time that suits her. You can do it together sitting back to back for an even more powerful bonding experience.
I’ll be sharing all of these with my mother this Mother’s Day. After all, she really was the example for me of daily spiritual practice. Even now, as I write this, somewhere across the nation, I know my mother is meditating.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mother and yours.