Saturday at Sat Nam Fest West started out like every other day, with early morning sadhana and yoga. But by mid-afternoon, some whispers started going around Joshua Tree – “Russell Brand is here!” Arriving at Sat Nam Fest for Harijiwan’s class, Russell Brand sat near the stage and joined several hundred other yogis for two hours of Kundalini yoga and meditation. While no one went to Sat Nam Fest with a plan of celebrity watching, seeing Russell Brand in a sea of yogis was a fun reminder that Kundalini yoga is becoming more and more mainstream.
Celebrities doing yoga isn’t a new phenomenon. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was doing hatha yoga back in the 70s, when yoga was still considered a pastime for hippies. What some may not have considered is just how influential it can be when celebrities do yoga. Consider this: these days we have the internet, and a world of information at our fingertips. Not that long ago though, it wasn’t so easy to learn about things outside of the mainstream. So when celebrities like Reese Witherspoon or Gwenyth Paltrow did Kundalini yoga classes, it was a big deal for introducing a new audience to the existence of Kundalini yoga. Now that we can access news and events from our cell phones, word of supermodel Miranda Kerr bringing her boyfriend Orlando Bloom to a Kundalini yoga class at Golden Bridge spreads far and fast.
Even in the yoga world, some people consider Kundalini yoga a bit strange. While many styles of hatha yoga can simply be used for a great work out, Kundalini yoga is different. So while celebrities are human beings just like everyone, the extensive list of Hollywood and entertainment business A-listers who have found Kundalini yoga beneficial goes a long way towards bringing Kundalini yoga into the mainstream. Just ask Madonna, Courtney Love, David Duchovny, and Rosanna Arquette – all of them have taken Kundalini yoga classes with Gurmukh. Actresses Jennifer Aniston and Melanie Griffith, and musicians Sting and Melissa Etheridge have done Kundalini yoga. Andie McDowell credits her youthful appearance to yoga, rather than the botox so many in Hollywood have used. Oprah loves the divine music of Kundalini yogi Snatam Kaur and chants with her regularly.
So the next time someone tells you they aren’t very familiar with Kundalini yoga, tell them it has benefited people like Forest Whitaker, Cindy Crawford, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Inspirational figures Mastin Kipp and Michael Beckwith have done it, as have Michelle Williams and Paula Abdul. Most importantly, tell them how YOU have benefited. That’s the most important endorsement of all.
Liz McCollum Lord
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