Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa: Every year between forty and sixty women come to Los Angeles from places like Iceland, Denmark, Brazil and different parts of the United States to participate in a full week of training for pregnancy yoga teachers. This annual gathering is organized and conducted by Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, the instructor of a revolutionary method she called The Khalsa Way.
Khalsa is a derivative of a Sanskrit word that means pure. But pure means conscious she says, so wake up; you have the power to have this baby, you don’t need to buy into western medicine that you cannot do it: you can do it because God gave you the power to do it.
Even though some of her ideas may sound too unconventional for the typical American mother-to-be, Gurmukh says that what they teach is not that out there, but rather just practical knowledge. Baby wants mama, baby wants milk, baby wants to sleep. So we teach basics, things that people in so many countries are already doing. Instead of dividing the practice in trimesters as normally happens in Hatha Yoga, her method allows women to practice most of the asanas up to the last stages of their pregnancy.
Gurmukh’s story on how she started working with pregnant women goes back 35 years in time: “Yogi Bhajan called me in New Mexico and said: I want you to deliver babies. I told him that I didn’t know how to deliver babies. But he said to me: Yes, you know how, so I thought, well… maybe I do know from another lifetime and he knows that.”
Soon after, she started training with a doctor and a midwife, assisting in home deliveries and examinations all around New Mexico. But with the passing of the time she understood that what Yogi Bhajan really meant when he talked about her mission was not necessarily to physically deliver babies: I think he wanted her to deliver their souls.
Gurmukh and Davi Kaur (registered nurse and certified childbirth educator) started this training five years ago, with the intention of empowering women’s natural wisdom on this matter (How to make a baby), and bringing back one of the biggest dynamics that were taken out of the process of birthing: God, the creative force of the universe; I don’t care if you call it Mother, Father, Infinite, Creator, Supreme Being… there is something bigger that makes us, that makes the soul, so wouldn’t that be what helps us to bring the soul out?
The training, that starts on a Saturday and ends the following Friday, not only includes Gurmukh’s teachings and classes. Each year, she brings about 15 presenters, from acupuncturists and doctors to midwives and chiropractors, all sharing their knowledge and experience with the participant yoga teachers. Some of the trainees happen to be pregnant during the training; others want to embody pregnancy or reach out for past birthing experiences. The work done during that full week includes pregnancy yoga classes, exploring the power of meditation, chanting, different kriyas and prayers, and exercises hard enough to make you go into your own core and understand how powerful we are. As Gurmukh says, a tight schedule and the rigor of 60 hours of training does not affect the camaraderie which the participants felt with each other, the friendships, and the togetherness.
With regards to birth itself, Gurmukh proposes to put aside all the misconceptions we’ve been given throughout time, so the woman can reeducate herself and remember who she is. Insight comes out through the yoga, through the classes, through watching the birthing movies… we start rebirthing our own birth, our own life, our own soul, our own direction, so with that there is gladness, there is sadness, there is a forgiveness aspect, and there is also a wanting to reconnect, maybe with our parents or with our families.
According to Gurmukh, all of us can reach into a place within ourselves where courage is a limitless resource, and we need that courage to get rid of our conditioning to pain and fear. The Khalsa Way aims to overcome those misconceptions so we can find our own, natural way of bringing a soul out to life.