In today's interview, we meet up with the creative and passionate Tarandeep Kaur to discuss her yoga pathway, love of dance, life work and more...
How did you get started on your yoga pathway and what led you to Kundalini Yoga specifically?
I have been practicing yoga for more than 10 years. First I was drawn to hatha yoga and different types of meditation. I practiced yoga in the Paramahansa Yogananda School of Yoga in Slovenia and also the Sivananda branch in Austria. I traveled a lot in Nepal and India and did intense Vipassana meditation courses in silence (Buddhist type of meditation).
In 2010 I first learned about Shakti dance at a retreat center with many different types of workshops. I hadn't heard about Shakti dance (The Yoga of Dance) or Kundalini yoga before. The founder of Shakti Dance – Sara Avtar – presented the workshop. It was called Shakti dance and she said it connects the practice of yoga with dance. I thought to myself: "My God, my two favourite things in the whole world!"
What I saw moments later was breathtaking. It was like a Goddess appeared in front of us. Beautiful, graceful, humble, with so much devotion towards the invisible world that surrounded her. It was like she called on those divine energies with her movements, with her gestures. I was deeply touched by what I saw.
After a week of dancing with Sara Avtar I decided that this was the thing that I was looking for. I had to stay in touch with this practice. I decided to do a Shakti Dance Teacher Training, a full immersion in the practice to really learn all about it, how it works and why it has such an amazing effect on the people who practice it. Later I learned that Shakti dance actually derives from a practice called Kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. So my first contact with Kundalini yoga was actually through Shakti dance. In the Teacher Training we did morning sadhana which was a typical Kundalini yoga class.
Do you also practice other forms of yoga (or have you in the past)? What is the difference between those styles in your opinion?
In the past I mainly practiced hatha yoga and it had its benefits, of course. However my experience is, that I missed the devotional aspect of yoga in classical hatha yoga. I missed opening my heart with my voice and getting in touch with my body through my own authentic movements. In Kundalini yoga and Shakti Dance I could experience that. The fact that Kundalini yoga uses so many sacred chants, mantras was something that enriched my practice profoundly. Singing, chanting, using our own authentic voice is something that can clear so many of our blocks. Together with physical practice it's a great combination to really get it touch with our own inner light.
What about Shakti dance... how long have you been practicing / teaching and how has it changed your life?
I have been practicing Shakti dance for 5 years. It is an amazing practice. It lets you express yourself. It lets you cry if you feel you need to. It lets you be still in the midst of music playing. It doesn't tell you how to dance, but it lets you find your own expression, even if that means that you are just standing up, with closed eyes. That can also be dancing. Dancing with the peace inside you. Shakti dance can be joyful and playful, it reminds us of the child within who wants to play and laugh and act funny. It nurtures the inner woman, the wise one, who listens to the messages of her body and is touch with her life cycles.
For me Shakti dance is something that brings me joy, it teaches me how to love myself more, it enables me to express who I really am. It is a practice that reveals, layer after layer, the Goddess within.
What do you think is the greatest benefit of practicing Shakti dance... can students do it on their own or is it always done in a group?
The greatest benefit of practicing Shakti dance in my opinion is