Gurmukh (yoga teacher)

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Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa
Born Mary May Gibson
1943 (age 74–75)
Downers Grove, Illinois
Nationality American
Education San Francisco State University
Occupation Co-founder and Director of Golden Bridge Yoga, Los Angeles, and New York
Known for Kundalini Yoga teacher, pre-natal caregiver
Spouse(s) Gurushabd Singh Khalsa
Children Wahe Guru Kaur

Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, (born in 1943 as Mary May Gibson in Downers Grove, rural/suburban Illinois), is a teacher of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan and a pioneer in the field of pre-natal yoga.[1] She is the co-founder and director of the Golden Bridge Yoga Center in Los Angeles, the author of two books and three DVDs.[2][3][4] Gurmukh means guru-oriented person, or one who has realized the Word or 'naad'. In the highest sense, the term gurmukh means to possess true knowledge, but is today used in common parlance as "yoga teacher".

Early years[edit]

Gurmukh was born Mary May Gibson in a small Illinois town, to middle-class, Methodist parents.[4] At age nineteen, she left her home to attend college at San Francisco State University in California. There, she married a Ph.D. student and in 1964, gave birth to an infant boy with a congenital heart defect.[1] The child, named “Shannon Danuele” died seven months later. After grieving the loss of the child, the marriage ended in an amicable divorce. From living in Haight Ashbury, she travelled Big Sur, then to Mexico, where she lived among tribal peoples.[1] After that, she lived in Maui.[4] Gurmukh then moved to a Zen Buddhist zendo where she practiced silent meditation seven hours a day for a year.[5]:2–7

Introduction to Kundalini Yoga[edit]

In 1970, she and a colleague went to the 3HO ashram in Tucson, Arizona. She stayed in Arizona for two years, where she worked at the ashram, and taught yoga at the University of Arizona, as well as at the Arizona State Correctional Facility.[1] It was in 1970 at the ashram that she met Yogi Bhajan,[3] master of Kundalini Yoga.[6][7][8] On their first meeting, he gave Mary a new name, “Gurmukh,” meaning “the one whose face is towards the Guru (meaning they have dedicated their lives to their Guru).” He also told her she would help deliver babies.[9] She then worked in the field of home births with a Santa Fe obstetrician/gynecologist, after which teaching yoga became her full-time occupation.[5] :7–9

Teaching pregnant mothers yoga[edit]

In 1977, Gurmukh went on a pilgrimage to India and on her return moved to Los Angeles, where she met Gurushabd Singh Khalsa, whom she married in 1982. In February 1982, Gurmukh at the age of forty-three, gave birth to their daughter, Wahe Guru Kaur, at home with the help of a midwife. Thereafter, Gurmukh used her knowledge of Kundalini Yoga[10] as taught by Yogi Bhajan and her own pregnancy experiences to give classes for expectant mothers.[8] This eventually led to a childbirth education program she was to call “The Khalsa Way”, and her own pre- and post- natal videos.[11] She also began a sixty-hour Khalsa Way Teachers Training certification course for women from around the world to take to their communities. In 2003, Gurmukh published the book, Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Exploring the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, with St. Martin's Press publishers.[5] :8–11

Kundalini Yoga[edit]

In her life as a Kundalini Yoga teacher based in Los Angeles, Gurmukh developed a celebrity clientele.[12][13][14] She gave private instructions to Madonna, Courtney Love, Gwyneth Paltrow, David Duchovny, Annette Bening and Rosanna Arquette.[1][15] Eventually, with the guidance of her teacher, Gurmukh Kaur gave up the private classes with stars.[1] In 2000, she published the popular guide Eight Human Talents: The Yoga Way to Restore the Balance and Serenity Within You with Harper Collins publishers in New York. In 2002, Gurmukh co-founded with Gurutej Kaur, the Golden Bridge Yoga Center in Los Angeles.[16][10] Gurmukh and her husband teach classes, and offer workshops and teacher trainings around the world.[17][18]

Publications[edit]

  • Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Eight Human Talents: The Yoga Way to Restore the Balance and Serenity Within You, New York, Harper Collins, 2000.[19]
  • Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Exploring the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, New York, St. Martins Griffin, 2003.[20]

DVDs[edit]

  • Prenatal Kundalini Yoga and meditation for mothers-to-be, Gaiam (2000)[21]
  • Postnatal Kundalini Yoga for new mothers, Gaiam (2000)
  • Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh, Living Arts (2004)

Articles[edit]

  • Joanne Chen, "Spiritual Love," Vogue Magazine, April 1999.
  • Samantha Dunn, "L.A. (Yoga) Story," Yoga Journal, July–August 1999 [1]
  • Julie Deife, "Sitting Down with Gurmukh," LA Yoga Magazine, January–February 2005 [2]
  • Marcy Axness and Melanie Mayo (2013-08-08). "Gurmukh's Postpartum Wisdom". Mothering Community Mothering (magazine). Retrieved 24 January 2014.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Dunn, Samantha (August 28, 2007). "L.A. (Yoga) Story: Kundalini Star Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Gurmukh - Kundalini Yoga Books and DVDs". Yogatech.com. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Moving From Karma To Dharma - Totally Zen". Totallyzen.com. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Bolster, Mary (September 4, 2007). "The Gong Show: An Interview with Kundalini's Gurmukh". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Gurmukh (2003). Bountiful, beautiful, blissful : experience the natural power of pregnancy and birth with Kundalini yoga. London: Michael Joseph. ISBN 9780718146719.
  6. ^ Martin, Douglas (October 9, 2004). "Yogi Bhajan, 75, 'Boss' of Worlds Spiritual and Capitalistic, Dies". New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  7. ^ MacRae, James (March 26, 2015). "Introduction to Kundalini: The Yoga of Awareness". Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  8. ^ a b Srinivasan, Madhumitha (March 29, 2014). "Queen of Kundalini". The Hindu. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  9. ^ Piccalo, Gina (October 23, 2004). "A Yogi's Requiem". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Gurmukh Kaur in Vanity Fair Magazine". Mrsikhnet.com. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa". WorldCat Identities. WorldCat. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  12. ^ Lynch, Rene (December 12, 2015). "Exhibition and book "On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace"Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa at her most holy of places, the Golden Temple, in Amritsar, India, on Feb. 23, 2006. (Michael O'Neill / Taschen)". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  13. ^ Chonacas, Kyriaki (January 2, 1916). "Taschen Gallery On Yoga In LA". Huffington Post. Retrieved 30 July 2017.
  14. ^ Wilson, Jennifer (January 2000). "Yogi Gurmukh is Preparing Madonna et. al. for the New Age". Los Angeles Magazine: 164. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  15. ^ "How I start my day: Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa". The Times of India. August 4, 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  16. ^ Billard, Mary (February 18, 2005). "Flow or No, Following the Yogis". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  17. ^ Chen, "Spiritual Love," Vogue Magazine, April 1999, pp. 252, 256, 258; Dunn, "L.A. (Yoga) Story," Yoga Journal, July–August 1999
  18. ^ Castagna, Cary (October 17, 2011). "Natural high Yoga master and former flower child breathes in healthy living". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  19. ^ Collins, Amy Fine (June 15, 2007). "Planet Yoga". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  20. ^ Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa (2003). Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth. New York: Saint Martin's Press. p. 256. ISBN 0312310870.
  21. ^ "Prenatal / with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa". National Library Board of Singapore. Retrieved 31 July 2017.

External links[edit]