bani boat
My Creator, in the creative part of me, bless me to bliss, raise my consciousness to universal self, give me the feelings to feel, to know, to understand purity and piety of myself in everything, the essence of life, in all living beings, so I can enjoy to see You, feel You, and be with You, all the time. Sat Nam. -Yogi Bhajan
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Solstice Sadhana’s lately because Summer Solstice in New Mexico is coming up. It’s my favorite time of year, because it is like the reset button for my spiritual practice.
Sometimes I catch myself getting a little too serious about spiritual practice. We all have our own tendencies, whether it is having no discipline, or getting too caught up in discipline. Solstice reminds me to let go, clear away the debris of life, and enjoy it! Whatever helps us find the joy in practice, to be inspired, that’s the place to put our energy.
I love when I’m in a yoga class and the teacher reminds me to smile. I think, “Yes! That’s what this is about”. Yogi Bhajan taught us this yoga to be part of life, to support our lives, and to help us be our most beautiful, happy and radiant selves. It’s not about rules, beliefs, or doing it right. It’s about doing it the way that lights up our passion, our creativity and our excellence.
Yesterday my to-do list was so long I didn’t know where to begin. I feel like everyone I talk to lately says that same thing. Somewhere in the to-do list was working on Japji pronunciation for an upcoming recording we are doing. How ridiculous to have Japji, song of the soul, tucked in there with the rest of my list. I thought back to Winter Solstice when myself and about fifteen laughing friends piled into two little boats and went out on the lake reciting Japji and other Banis (beautiful long prayers) for hours while we floated around the lake. Doing it together, surrounded by the beauty of nature, infused our practice with so much joy. We called it Banis in a Boat, and now we do it every year. So, yesterday we decided to do our Japji out on the water in kayaks. Guru Nanak first said Japji after meditating in a lake for three days, so why not be in the bliss of his words out on the lake! Practice can be so joyful just as it is, but sometimes it needs a little extra inspiration.
Banis in a Boat...see that lady in a white turban in the rear?  That's Ajeet!

Banis in a Boat…see that lady in a white turban in the rear? That’s Ajeet!

We can practice because we are in love with our soul’s enough to give them that gift. There is no point in practicing yoga because someone else wants you to, or because Yogi Bhajan said to, and you can do it your own way. There is a way to practice that makes us feel so joyful and full of life that we just do it out of love. Once I asked a senior teacher, a long time student of Yogi Bhajan, why there are people who practice Kundalini Yoga every day and have for so many years, and they still don’t seem very happy. He said, “Their life is about sadhana, instead of their sadhana being about life”. I loved that. This yoga is about being in the world and helping us fall in love with the divinity in ourselves, and the divinity all around. When we see that, each moment can be a celebration of that divinity.

Want to try Japji? Try this!

Bless us to bliss! Sat Nam.

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