Priya has been on a very challenging journey from the start of her kundalini yoga journey to where she is now, founder of children-focused Yoga Paradise. Having lost her 15-year-old daughter a few years ago, she channelled her grief into inspiration, helping youths from all walks of life, from the Mumbai slums to her local neighbourhood in London. She recently launched her first children’s yoga book which comes with a signature song, dedicated to helping kids find self-belief and courage. Incredible woman…
How did you get into kundalini yoga, Priya?
I tried different types of yoga and although I learnt a lot and enjoyed them, somewhere deep inside I was yearning for something more. My search stopped in 2003 when I stumbled across a kundalini yoga class at my local gym. I knew that day that I had found and experienced something very special.
How has it changed your life?
Once a week soon became twice a week. It was nourishment for the mind, body and soul. I felt healthy and energetic, I had clarity to finish all my chores and spend quality time with my family. I looked younger, I had lot more patience and I even noticed miracles taking place regularly which turned my faith in the divine to an unwavering faith.
I would say kundalini yoga has transformed and saved me from the most challenging period in my life. I lost my 15-year-old daughter in 2012 but by practising yoga I was able to accept the loss of my child as years of yoga had strengthened my intuitive mind and I was guided by the inner voice that lies within us all. I was able to hear her and connect with my daughter through meditation which gave great comfort and healing.
Yoga and meditation have been the vehicle I use to share a message of positivity and hope. Life is full of challenges, we can’t escape that, but having the strength of mind, the inner belief that we can change our circumstances means we embrace life with so much more enthusiasm. I have seen miracles unfold and synchronicities explode when we start to adjust our state of mind.
I now teach yoga and meditation to young children, adults, special needs children and also to the slum children in Mumbai. It helps me share the message across all ability levels. 2016 was a wonderful year for me, to spread the art of yoga and its powerful benefits. I have written a simple fun-filled book – The Yoga Adventures Of Marleen The Butterfly And Hissy The Snake – to help children unleash their inner hero.
What does your yoga practice look like now?
With Guru’s grace I do my Japji Sahib and Chaupai Sahib every day. I also do a meditation, simran and a few asanas that help me during my day. I take a daily hukamnama – instant guidance – from the Guru Granth Sahibji and try to practically implement it in the day. Yoga is not merely exercise but a way of life.
I recently made a conscious decision to get back to my routine of attending a kundalini yoga class as a student every week and take some valuable ‘me time’ and honestly it feels so good. I have realised that it is so important to fill ourselves with love and divine wisdom, experience inner happiness and peace only then can we be true in offering it to others.
What’s your favourite kriya?
I love Surya Kriya…it’s a simple, energising and an effective kriya. My favourite meditation is to sit in easy pose and watch the flow of the breath, as you inhale silently focus on the word ‘Wahe’ which means blissful and as you exhale focus on the word ‘Guru’ which means divine teacher within. I do this for 11 or 31 minutes .
What’s been the most powerful reactive you’ve ever done?
I found the meditation for fearlessness AadaysTisayAadays very powerful. It was challenging at first but as I progressed each day and focused on the words of the meditation I realized it gave me the strength and opportunity to rise above the physical pain of the arm movement that goes along with the meditation. In midst of the stillness after the meditation I was shown my purpose in life. The meditation helped me have a clear vision and unleashed my inner strength to take steps in accomplishing my purpose. Fear is what stops us in accomplishing our goals and believing in ourselves. I felt this meditation helped me overcome my fears and leap into the challenges knowing that they are only stepping stones taking me closer to fulfilling my purpose in life
Fave quote? Life is beautiful but it’s up to you what you make of it.
Book? A Dragonfly Tale by Jacqui Grove. A book dedicated to all those who are about to spread their wings and to those of us who are left behind.
Place? My prayer room at home
Teacher? My Kundalini Yoga Teacher Suhab Kaur
Kundalini yoga song/artist? O my soul you come and you go by Snatam Kaur.
Breakfast? Seeded toast with avocado or porridge with banana and cinnamon.
The Yoga Adventures Of Marleen The Butterfly And Hissy The Snake book and audio download is available on Amazon. You can find a clip of it here. For further information visit priyasawhney.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Find Priya on Facebook here