Since it is American Thanksgiving this week, I thought I’d take this opportunity to post an open thank you to Snatam Kaur and all the Kundalini Yoga musicians worldwide. Your music has made all the difference for me and many of the people I teach.
This week I taught a yoga class at Skaramagas, one of the biggest refugee camps in Greece. I first got involved in the refugee situation back in 2015 when I went to Lesvos for a weekend. Then in 2016 I taught yoga at the Melissa Network, a center for migrant and refugee women in Athens. I taught there for a few months but then I got busy writing my book, and since that time, I haven’t been involved so when I saw a post for volunteers to teach yoga at Skaramagas, I thought it was a good opportunity to see if I could be useful.
Teaching yoga in these environments is always tough. The students are a mix of nationalities and cultures. Some speak Farsi, some speak Arabic, some speak other languages, and they can’t necessarily understand each other, much less me. I teach women, and they almost always have children so there are usually lots of toddlers running around. Most of the women have never done yoga so I am teaching a room full of beginners who can’t always understand what I am saying and who have to mind their children while they are taking the class. I’ve always felt safe, and the environment has always been clean, but the classes can be chaotic and unpredictable. I’ve had moments when I’ve questioned if I was offering any actual value. But the reason that I think the classes are helpful is not because of me, but because of the Kundalini Yoga music I play during class.
Kundalini Yoga music is very specific. It is based on Kundalini Yoga mantra and is designed to benefit your psychology, raise your energetic frequency and soothe your mind. It works, and I see the results time and time again, especially in these environments. The class starts off chaotic but at some point–usually about 30 minutes into it–the energy settles, the kids start to calm down, and everyone becomes more relaxed and focused.
The beauty of Kundalini music is you don’t need to participate much—you just need to have it playing in the background. I’ve had students later come to tell me they were having a really bad day and then suddenly the music from a class the day before popped into their heads, and they began to feel better. It’s soothing. I’ve noticed it myself and have started playing it in my bedroom while I sleep. I swear it makes a huge difference.
The path of a musician isn’t an easy one, and I imagine the path of a Kundalini Yoga musician must be even harder. It’s a tiny, niche audience in a difficult and competitive professional field. I wonder if as a musician, you sometimes think of quitting. But they say music is one of the few things that can unite and connect the whole world. Live Aid, a benefit concert organised to raise funds for relief of the Ethiopian famine, was broadcast globally and had over 1 billion people watching back in 1985 – almost 40 percent of the world population at the time. So while it’s a hard path, it’s also an extremely powerful gift.
So to Snatum Kaur, Hari Ray Kaur and Siri Sadhana and all the other Kundalini musicians out there, if you read this, you probably didn’t know your music was being played in refugee camps in Greece. But it is. And it’s making a big difference. So thank you. ☺