• The Life and Career of Saha Devi

    You may have heard that we come to spiritual exploration "because of your family" or "in spite of your family." haha

    in my case both apply. It was 1967 I was seventeen years old and the media covered the protest brewing across the world.

    Television evening news was not shy to show the Black community in the South being brutalized and then Viet Nam's War's daily body bags of young men, some called boys, returning home to their families.


    I came up in a family with heavy hearts, unable to share affection or kindness, where "children were to be seen and not heard." So you learned to ask no questions, and just do what you are told to do. I learned my ideas and feelings didn't matter and it was every body for themselves.


    Today in 20224 as I remember and own the various past renditions of myself over the years, I recall how my yoga practice kept me sane - able to keep going and value my experience, no matter what life was dishing out.


    My first Kundalini Yoga class was in 1969 at the Woodstock Festival with Yogi Bhajan and Friends and ever since yoga has servesd me as a trusted companion, although at times I nearly abandoned it, it was always there for me - if I chose it.

    Still whenever I take it's company I feel better and I do better.


    Then when I was about fifty years old and life hit me hard with what is called, "the dark night of the soul." For me, no matter what happened before or after, I woke up depressed, shut down, feeling lost and powerless - like all my past effort was for nothing. It was like dying wasn't so scary, it was living that became unbearable.


    So I found a psychiatrist to talk to and we agreed best I find the grit to walk through this emotional storm and since my body was allergic to most pharma, I really had no choice but to get back to what I once knew worked for me, so I leaned into my yoga practice.


    In the dark night of the soul even hopelessness can guide us and took me deeper into myself when I realized I had to let tgo and let the old "victim me" die in order to get to the "authentic empowered me" that knew joy and love.


    At 20 years old I began 12 + years living in the yoga ashrams and follow my dream to study in India like the Beatles in 1968. My India experiences were life-changing. Learing the vedic arts of meditaion, music, dance, ayurvedic diet and cooking, as well as the yogic lifestyle I learned and did my best to raise my family valuing.


    It took me years of trying my hardest to fit in, even with years of education I felt like i was from another planet, trying to learn how to play the game-

    when I finally gave myself permission to admit, "you do not fit in, but the good news is, you fit into yourself perfectly.' Best to be you, everyone else is taken.

    And I managed to enthusiastically chase my dreams somehow knowing to never give up- through the tears, laughter, and stumbling to keep up.


    I'm not sure why then?

    But now I will say our front feeling so very grateful - now-out of the woods.

    It was then my "dark night of the soul" and had no choice but to return to my yoga and meditation that I knew worked for me to always feel better. It was then I was diagnosed highly sensitive person with PTSD; a unwelcome rement from all that Sixties fun!

    But my yoga and meditation practice I knew would be fundamental to my healing and my most powerful medicine and it was.


    It’s been over 50 years now that I’ve been practicing and teaching the yoga sciences, including the ancient technologies of Kundalini Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and mantra meditation. I was fortunate to study with pioneers in the Yoga movement and today, I'm inspired and grateful for the growing yoga phenomenon and our community.


    I was sixteen years old, when on that one day when I remember I woke up to the fact my family was gone. I was raised Catholic and in the 1950's divorce was drastic, even unacceptable. All I know is it was a nasty divorce and suddenly I was on my own.

    I was seventeen years old and there was no doubt there was a God. I prayed to him ever since I was about five years old, even though I can't say now if I ever heard back. There was no question we came from a Source beyond religion and my imagination.


    The television Viet Nam war news was interrupted with stories of how teenagers from all over the country were coming to San Francisco to embody the cultural revolution of its time. My first though was "I would find my true family there," so I headed for Haight-Ashbury and yes, it was amazing. A phantasmagoria of fun - psychedelics, pot, free love, wonder and magic - all free and fun during the day, but then night came and time to find a safe place to rest and for me, fear and cold replaced the romance. It was the Summer of Love, 196; I was a homeless teen, alone, hungry and lost, but committed to living out of the box and the hippy call, “to turn on, tune in, and drop out.”


    The loss of young life from the Viet Nam War, the racial injustice and over-all political unrest of the times fueled discontent and hopelessness, while simultaneously new ideas, protest, alternative lifestyles and communes grew visible and a revolution is consciousness, a spiritual revolution, and many heard the call of the coming Age Of Aquarius where we better understand what is love? Could death just be another illusion? Reincarnation became the answer to many questions about life and death, all questions that popular culture was asking and reflecting back at us.

    I too began journey, a road-trip, hitchhiking from Coast to Coast - with no family and no home, I knew what it was like to 'depend on the kindness of strangers." I was moving fast at nineteen years old and begging for a new adventure when I arrived in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Oaxaca, Mexico in a little tiny village called San Mateo in the budding Spring of 1968.

    I was traveling with a few Mexican hippies, who invited me on what they called, "a difficult, even dangerous trip, but the rewards would be magical and healing beyond my imagination!"

    I was in awe of their comfort and fearlessness as they insisted I face my fear and close my eyes and see how safely my feet would climb the narrow mountainside path under the starry night sky - they were my heroes! They were proof that I could be different too. That I could live true to myself, outside the box of consumerism and constant conflict. I believed it because I was living it. They grew up knowing this place, so I listened and learned how to live with simplicity, respect for the people and their customs, who'd ancestors had been there for thousands of years. And I was changed forever.


    The undisturbed beyond beautiful mountain landscapes, psychedelic mushrooms. my indigenous neighbors and Mexican hippy friends became my family, “a soul family" since I didn't speak a word of their languages, nor they mine. And all a valuable prerequisite for what would come.

    By the Fall of 1969 I was back in the USA living in a devotional yoga community where I found and began my deep dive into my life long yoga practice and travels to India.


    My first Kundalini Yoga class was at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. A couple of months later I was living in the Hare Krishna ashram and learning Bhakti Yoga, Ayurvedic cooking and the “sattvic” yogic lifestyle. By 1974, I was living in India to study, teach and serve - another dream come true, where I learned "seva" became my medicine and inspiration that lifted my feet off the ground and guided me forward ....


    I feel I have so many stories to tell and now that my children are all amazing adults, my yoga practice and creative arts are even more valuable in my life. It was when I was about fifty years old that I faced what I called the "dark night of the soul,” a deep depression with debilitating physical pain. Therapy helped, but it was Kundalini Yoga and mantra meditation that was my best medicine and fostered my deepest healing in recovering my own soul life and return to wholeness.

    Now, I am grateful and inspired to teach and share with you my experience, strength and hope to help facilitate your Kundalini rising experience.

    with love, Saha Devi

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