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					Rise and Shine – The Ambrosial Hours of Remembering Who You Are By Karla Becker Rise and shine! The early morning hours before the world awakens are known as the Amrit Vela – the Ambrosial Hours. These are the hours which are ideal for you to have a spiritual practice as a way to lead you back to what is important in life. A name that has been given to such a practice is the Sanskrit word, “sadhana,” meaning “wealth.” Having a personal sadhana has been likened to having a spiritual bank account. In Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa’s book, Kundalini Yoga – the Flow of Eternal Power, she says of sadhana that it “is the best investment in the world. It will always earn at least ten percent interest. For every hour of morning sadhana, you get ten hours of guidance and clarity!” The idea is to give 10% of your day to a spiritual practice, which is roughly two and a half hours. The hours for early morning sadhana are usually from 4 am to 6:30 am. These hours are before the world wakes up and can allow you to remember and reconcile with who you are as your day literally begins with the rising of the sun. Two and a half hours may seem like a long time to have a spiritual practice. Any amount of time in the morning, though, can be a good start. Setting the clock back a half hour to have a spiritual practice can reap tremendous benefits because of the intention and discipline it takes to let go of that extra half hour of sleep in favor of reconnecting with your highest inner self and remembering who you are beyond your every day life responsibilities. It is so easy to get caught up in the dayto-day routine of life and forget that life has a higher purpose than running around taking care of deadlines and errands. Who you really are is not defined by the roles you have in life, such as “mother,” “wife,” “employee.” Who you really are is also not defined by the difficulties you may have gone through, such as surviving a deadly illness, like cancer or AIDS, losing a loved one, or having suffered a divorce. Even the good experiences in your life, like finally graduating from college, getting that promotion, getting married, buying your dream home, or becoming a parent, do not define the real you. Remembering who you are as the truth is what you really are about – a beautiful soul with an infinite potential.

A mantra which is a reminder of who you really are at your core is Sat Nam, translated as “Truth is my identity.” It is a base mantra used in the practice of sadhana in the Kundalini Yoga tradition. It is a reminder of who a person is as the truth, recognizing the divine consciousness in an individual. It is also used as a greeting in the community practice of sadhana, recognizing the divineness in every individual. Yogis throughout the ages have experienced sadhana as a way to deepen their connection with themselves and with the infinite. Yoga practitioners today continue this experience, both individually and with a community. As well as being a personal spiritual practice, sadhana is equally about building a community. People come together to share a common bond with likeminded individuals who can then go out and share their experience with others. In Bloomington, a community of Kundalini yoga students comes together to practice early morning sadhana every day from 3:45-6:15 am. The sadhana is conducted at the Ram Das Room, which is located down the hall from the Lynda Mitchell Yoga Studio on the north end of the square in downtown Bloomington. Usually two or three individuals attend, along with a leader of the sadhana. The Ram Das room is a serene comforting place. It has the feeling of being in an ashram. The room in the early morning is lit with candles, and incense fills the air with a sweet, musky scent. The floor is carpeted with colorful oriental rugs, and plants and spiritual artifacts adorn the room. Wanting to know more about this spiritual practice, I attended sadhana one morning, along with two friends, Diane Hancock and Lori Heath. The leader of sadhana that day was Mahan Kalpa Singh (Paul) Mahern, a teacher for the Bloomington Kundalini Yoga Cooperative. Also in attendance was Karta Kaur (Elise) Hassler, who conducts sadhana on a rotational basis with the other Bloomington teachers. The practice of sadhana in the Kundalini Yoga tradition is the same throughout the world, as taught by Yogi Bhajan. The class began with a reading from the Jaapji. It is a powerful, graceful long chant in the language of Gurmukhi, a derivative of Sanskrit. A yoga set then followed, which was invigorating from 4:10 am to 5:10 am, after which there was a 5minute relaxation. Then there was a sung meditation , using a CD with seven mantras, which are

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chanted every day. After 62 minutes of the sung meditation, the final minutes were spent with Mahan reading an inspirational passage. As sadhana was progressing, the room was getting lighter as the sun was rising. By the end of sadhana, the room was glowing with the early morning sunshine. Community time followed with yogi tea being offered. There was a feeling of bonding as a result of experiencing sadhana in a group setting. The rise of the sun and the sweetness of the early morning hours left a positive impression as the group dispersed to begin their day. Sat Nam! was cheerfully said as a parting salutation. Although the two and a half hours in the early morning are ideal to practice sadhana, you will benefit from any time that you take out of your day to devote yourself to a spiritual practice. Setting a corner of a room aside with some items that have spiritual meaning to you can intensify your experience, such as a prayer rug, pictures, religious icons, or meditation shawl. It is also said that the practice can be done in the late afternoon day when the sun is setting. The ideal is to practice with a group, so that you benefit from the group energy. For more information about the Bloomington Sadhana, visit, http://www.illumine8yoga.com. For more information about the practice of sadhana, visit http://www.kundaliniyoga.com ------------------------Karla Becker is a student and teacher of Kundalini Yoga in Indianapolis. She is a certified yoga instructor as recognized by the Yoga Alliance and can be emailed from karlayoga.com or at karlayoga@hotmail.com. 1,043 words ##

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