• The Life and Career of Saha Devi

    Each day no matter what happened before or after, I felt depressed, frozen in fear of living.  I heard "Live and let live" but outside of my educational pursuits, nothing was working.  I spent about 12 years in community ashram life and felt different and unemployable in an unfamiliar world. Even with my years of education, I felt like an alien, yes, from another planet, waiting to phone home. My psyche was unwilling to conform and boundaries was a word not in my vocabulary. Yet somehow I managed to enthusiastically chase my dreams knowing to never give up. Disappointment and overwhelm, my constant companions brought me from tears to laughter while stumbling and trying to keep up. It was then I know now I faced my dark night of the soul and had no choice but returnto my road of self discovery.  I was diagnosed a highly sensitive person with PTSD; my yoga and meditation practice was fundamental to my healing and my most powerful medicine.


     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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