Although their styles of meditation are different, Subagh Singh Khalsa and Kim Hehr share the same goal for Week Five of the Mystic Heart Meditation Program: to guide participants in living a more mindful life.
The Mystic Heart Meditation program is an initiative by the Department of Religion aimed at teaching Chautauquans about the world’s various meditation traditions. Hehr’s sessions will be from 8:15 to 9 a.m. Monday, July 23 through Friday, July 27 in the Presbyterian House and from 5:15 to 6 p.m. Monday, July 23 and Wednesday, July 25 in Hurlbut sanctuary. Khalsa’s sessions will be from 7:15 to 8 a.m. Monday, July 23, through Friday, July 27, in the Presbyterian House and from 12:30 to 1:55 p.m. Tuesday, July 24 and Thursday, July 26 in the Hall of Missions.
Khalsa, the director of Mystic Heart, met his spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, in 1971. Bhajan had arrived in the West a few years earlier and declared that he had not come to gather disciples but to create teachers. Keeping his word, he certified Khalsa to teach, which Khalsa has been doing ever since. Khalsa will teach meditation influenced by Sikh Dharma, a practice founded not on seeking a final destination of heaven or avoiding hell, but on a spiritual union with the Divine. According to Khalsa, the obstacles preventing a union with the Divine are “social conflicts and an attachment to worldly pursuits,” which is why he wants to focus on the power of gratitude in his sessions.
“I will be focusing on gratitude, exploring gratitude as a fundamental attitude we can learn to maintain.”
-Subagh Singh Khalsa, Director, Mystic Heart
“It is not a matter of being grateful for life’s gifts, because then we might also be resentful of life’s challenges. Rather, it is about maintaining the feeling of gratitude in an unconditional way,” he said.
Khalsa said his hope is that participants choose to build upon what they learn during his sessions.
“This isn’t just an idea to consider; it is a practice we can engage in and master,” he said.
Along with Khalsa’s teachings, Hehr, also known as Karampreet Kaur, will lead Kundalini Yoga meditation.
“I’m thrilled that Kim Hehr is returning to teach for two weeks,” Khalsa said.
“Her enthusiasm lights up the room, and the simple Kundalini techniques she will share will strengthen anyone’s practice.”
Hehr is a lifelong Chautauquan and a certified level two teacher of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, as taught by Yogi Bhajan. In addition to being a yoga and meditation practitioner for 20 years, she is also a hospice nurse, helping people through their transition at the end of life. There she specializes in healing addictive patterns through yogic technology.
Kundalini acts as a preparation before a longer meditation session, working with the glandular and nervous systems to calm the body down. To achieve this, Hehr’s sessions will begin with gentle body movements, chanting and pranayama, a Sanskrit breath practice, to prepare the body and mind for meditation.
Hehr said meditation and breathwork can help participants greatly with anxiety and stress.
“Kundalini Yoga and its associated meditations have enhanced and literally saved my life,” she said. “They have allowed me to release negative thought patterns and drop many addictive behaviors.”