Annapurna Woman Nirinjan Kaur

Portrait of the Annapurna Woman is an ongoing series featuring divine women who embody the nurturing spirit of Annapurna Living. Today we introduce musician & Kundalini yoga teacher, Nirinjan Kaur Khalsa.
Nirinjan kaur

How do you start your day?

Well honestly, usually it’s waking up my 5 year old son and getting him all ready for the day ... I would consider that a mama ritual ;) But after that I do oil pulling therapy, then drink a bunch of warm lemon water while I do my daily practice of Kundalini Yoga and meditation. This consists of some spinal and endocrine exercises, a bunch of sun salutations, and then two Kundalini meditations that take about half an hour together. One is bound lotus which has been my staple for years. It is an amazing practice; I couldn’t possibly describe it in such a short paragraph! Suffice to say it is wonderful for deep relaxation, balancing the nervous system, and basically bringing the whole body into a strong and peaceful center. I don’t feel right if I ever start my day without it. The other is called “Meditation to Heal a Broken Heart.” This is a newer and relatively temporary addition to my practice, but it is a wonderful one. It is very effective in releasing past heartache, while powerfully activating the intuition: seeing beyond surface level emotions, and opening a space for deep clarity and true transformation. It has really helped me in the last few months to grow personally, and have the courage to be who I am.

What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?

I am still learning this one. I find that when I get stressed, I get even more sensitive. As if my whole body and mind are full of too many feelings, and if one more tries to get added, I find myself getting emotional, insecure, or snappy out of a kind of self-defense. But what has really helped me is to recognize that my being is actually holding a lot, for myself and others. To acknowledge and honor myself for that. Once I embrace my own sensitivity and acknowledge all that is being held in me, then it is easier for me to become clear about what I need in order to stay “ok.” Then I find that the most helpful thing is to communicate to those closest to me (with gentleness and compassion) what I’m feeling, and what they could do that would help me show up better for them. Sometimes that is simply needing some space. Sometimes that is talking to my girlfriends. Sometimes that is getting help with a specific task. Sometimes that is for someone to be goofy with me and make me laugh :). I do find that mantra and meditation is extremely helpful with this as well. Pranayam (breath meditation) is, also. Even just playing some great mantra music in my house, and chanting along with it as I go, is very helpful in stressful times. In the car, too : ).


What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?

Many things! All things. The truth is I feel bliss within when I am open, clear, healthy, and my mind is serving my heart. I feel true bliss within when I am able to tap into true heart-centered clarity. Rather than these moments of clarity being select experiences, surrounded by “perfect” surroundings and circumstances, they are the moments of being “alive.” Sometimes intensely joyful experiences, sometimes intensely painful and challenging, sometimes profoundly peaceful. That intensity and profound nature of life is what brings me the bliss. The all encompassing power of the moment, with all it has to offer. What brings me bliss is when I am able to see each experience through the eyes of my soul. Like a tapestry of life, each thread offering a new color of beauty to the whole, and connecting everything together. My Kundalini practice helps me so much to feel that way, as does singing and performing, and a constant effort to live with an attitude of gratitude. 

What are you currently reading?

I’m not a huge reader, to be honest! I sometimes read books, but I prefer to listen and/or watch. But, right now I am reading “Sacred Contracts” by Caroline Myss.

What are you listening to right now?

 
Like at this moment?? My son playing in the living room! But my favorites that frequent our house are lots of music by:

  • Snatam Kaur
  • Jai-Jagdeesh
  • Gurunam Singh
  • Mirabai Ceiba
  • Ajeet Kaur
  • Karnamrita Dasi
  • Loreena McKennit or other celtic artists
  • Shankar Tucker
  • Abida Parveen
  • Nickel Creek
  • Matthew Schoening
  • Todd Boston

What is your go-to simple recipe?

 
Well I have some favorites, and while none of them are super complicated, they all have a decent amount of prep time. As for simple and quick, though, I do love “sauerkraut rice cakes!” When I don’t have much time, or don’t want to spend much energy on dinner prep, I turn to this. Just a couple of rice cakes with some good quality mustard, fresh mozzarella cheese, some avocado slices, and a bunch of fresh sauerkraut. Then I drizzle it with olive oil, black pepper, and a little nutritional yeast. I usually eat this with a side of steamed kale with ghee and salt on it. The prep time including the kale steaming is under 10 mins ; ) . Healthy, tasty and fast. Often a winner! For my husband and I anyway… my son doesn’t go for the sauerkraut! On those occasions I usually whip him up a kale grilled cheese sandwich. Basically just steamed kale finely chopped, and layered between cheese in a sandwich. (Gluten-free bread for us!)

What are some simple things you do for self-care?


To be completely honest with you, any self-care routine that I have always begins with cleaning my house. I can’t relax when my home is messy or dirty. Cleaning has a way of relaxing me… it sometimes even helps me process emotions. Clearing and organizing my physical environment makes me feel clear and organized inside me. After that though, it is simple. Just slowing down. Giving myself space to be only me (Probably after my son is asleep ; ) ). A hot shower, hair wash, and some quiet time, listening to music by Loreena McKennit or something else relaxing and feminine. 

 
What does nourishment look like to you?


What fulfills me and nourishes my soul is to sing, create music, perform, and teach yoga. I love it. When I am doing it, I feel like it is what I am built for, and I am constantly amazed by the beautiful people I meet when doing it. It is such an incredible blessing. Whenever I give an event, I feel like every person that comes is meant to be there, and we all create a sacred space together that heals every heart. When people invite me to come to their city, I always feel as if it is a miracle. I get to be touched by the love and devotion of them, and we get to co-create these beautiful events! Each one different and precious. Whenever I get back from a tour, I feel like I’ve been blessed in a new way, been challenged, given new gifts of understanding, and emerged with a new inspiration that allows me to give to my family and friends at home, which brings more joy. 

 
How do you make space for play?


Still learning this one too! I have found that I have a challenging relationship with “time!” It is not easy for me to stick to time lines and tight schedules (I find that when I do, it is actually quite grounding and relaxing for me. But it rarely happens because I’m not very adept at it!). So whenever there has just been too much work, and it’s time for something fun to happen, my family and I just kind of go for it (as long as we’re not stressing anyone else out by ducking out for a few hours!).
 

What are some favorite mantras you cling to?


I love “So Purkh”, and “Ek ong kaar satigur prasaad, satigur prasaad, ek ong kaar”. So Purkh is a powerful prayer for relationship (with others, or even with my Self. It is especially powerful from woman to man. It helps bring whomever you are praying for, into their own highest potential). “Ek ong kaar satigur prasaad, satigur prasaad, ek ong kaar”, is very powerful for integrating life experiences, and balancing the mind. Whenever I find myself in an emotionally intense situation, or recovering from something that I feel strongly, yet don’t completely understand, I chant this mantra. It is a way of being grateful for every experience, even I don’t understand it, and helping me move forward. It also helps me assimilate life lessons, and not get stuck in guilt, fear, or other challenging emotions that block a healthy assimilation of “life”!

 
Please share some words of wisdom you’ve learned as a direct result of soulful and embodied living.

 
Well that is always growing and changing! But here is something I wrote a couple of years ago that I recently found. It is a concept that I always find myself coming back to:

Funny how both marriage and having children is nothing like the fantasy I thought it would be. I didn't think it would be a walk in the park or anything, but somehow the challenges and the wonderful things are both TOTALLY different than I imagined.

Funny how life is like that in general, really. It goes to show how little we actually know or have control over. Even the things closest to us, like our family! 

There is our expectation, and then there is reality.

Sure makes everything feel a lot more like a dance with the unknown, a dance with God. Might as well fall in love with that, I'm realizing that it's the only place where love truly is: when we open up to the unknown, and let reality in, trusting our own true senses and intuition. In gratitude for the perfection of the way things have happened, we can grow exponentially in that love, through trust.

Otherwise the love is just in our head, not our heart. 

I keep hearing my teacher, Yogi Bhajan, in my head saying, you can only ever plan 20%. Maximum. The rest is God.


About Nirinjan Kaur

Nirinjan Kaur was born into a Sikh family of Kundalini Yogis, and became a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher at the young age of thirteen. Her love of sacred chanting blossomed shortly thereafter. She has since taught Kundalini Yoga workshops, led sacred chantevents, performed concerts, and sung alongside respected artists and teachers across the globe. Her profoundly heart-opening voice easily conveys her innocence and devotion to listeners, bringing them into a state of bliss and healing. Through her extensive knowledge and experience in both Kundalini Yoga and sacred chant, Nirinjan merges the two naturally and delivers them in one powerful experience. Her musical training in India flows smoothely through her voice, and she easily blends the sounds of east and west in her music to create a dynamic and stirring, yet subtley beautiful experience. Visit her online at NirinjanKaur.com.