Meet Updesh Kaur: kundalini yoga teacher, sound healer, gong bather and creative spirit

Updesh KaurUpdesh Kaur has lived all over the UK, and is now settled near Richmond in London. Her early love for athletics, boxing, Tai Chi and running blossomed into a passion for kundalini yoga, which she teaches along with sound healing and gong baths. She writes poetry, paints and loves music, and has always been connected to spirit, nature and the ocean. She says: ‘I have travelled but not for the last few years. My journeys right now are with Gong whilst playing and during sound baths – very shamanic’.

When did you get into kundalini yoga, Updesh?
Whilst working in corporate media, I signed up for a yoga course (via our company gym) around 2003-2004. I had tried many kinds of yoga but kundalini yoga really spoke to me. Before the course was finished, I was attending another two classes a week outside work. Our teacher (who was working through her level one teacher training) told us there were not many kundalini yoga teachers in London at that time, which planted a seed in my mind that I had to share this.

How has kundalini yoga changed your life?
Along with various other altruistic practices, it has completely changed my life for the better. I feel healthier, free from addiction, more connected to my true essence of self, and much calmer and more centred. It certainly wasn’t an overnight change but looking back to when I began practicing, I was a totally different person.

What does your yoga practice look like now?
I do my own sadhana every day, which in hectic kundalini yoga ‘householder’ style can be anything from a three-minute meditation to a full kriya and a 31-minute meditation. Or something in between. I normally manage to attend other teachers classes to keep the diversity going, along with an official sadhana about once a month. Am often talking about the importance of breath, though, and in everyday situations it seems to pop into the conversation often. I also like to try other yoga (to keep an open mind) and recently tried a course of Bikram – amusing and interesting (but that’s another story).

What’s your favourite kriya/meditation/mantra?
Favourite kriya is Suriya Kriya – uplifting and balancing a great ‘go to’. Meditation is adays tisai adays for positive growth (Snatam Kaur’s version) and Mantra is Adi Shakti version by Mantra Girl. All my favourites are changeable – often.

What’s been the most powerful practice you’ve ever done?
During teacher training, Nabhi Kriya – really connected to the navel and everything associated with having a strong core. We had it for 40 days and after a few false starts I probably ended up doing it for 90+ days.

Has adopting your spiritual name, Updesh Kaur, changed you?
After the initial resistance to what I deemed way too religious, I now feel fully integrated with my name which means: One who lives the essence of the Guru’s teachings. I actually started to notice synchronisation between my beliefs and the different gurus. The more I read about them, the qualities resonate so much such as: compassion, writers & poets, philosophy, travel, music/creativity, conscious connections of all without judgement (cast). Empathy with animals. Seekers of truth.

Updesh KaurFave quote? At the moment it’s: ‘Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.’ Denis Waitley
But my all time favourite is: ‘How other people treat you is their Karma. How you react is yours.’ Wayne Dwyer

Book? Celestine Prophecy back in late 90s woke my self-awareness. Yogi Bhajan’s The Master’s Touch is a good pick-up every now and then.

Place? Blue mountains, Australia

What’s on your altar? A Buddha, a jade Ganesh, a butterfly encased in resin, a picture of Yogi Bhajan, an image of Jesus, some collected large white feathers, a 3D tree of life made of card, two large crystal hearts and an angel.

Teacher? Many teachers – so much respect for Don Conreaux right now – one of Yogi Bhajan’s original students and world Gong Master.

Kundalini yoga song/artist? Changes so often but right now Gobinday  by Mantra Girl.

Breakfast? Smoothie every day (depending on what fresh veggies & fruits I have, but always lots of ginger).

Updesh teaches classes in Teddington on Mondays (kundalini yoga); in Southall on Sundays (mantra, meditation, sound healing). She also teaches corporate workshops for stress management and other workshops throughout UK on an ad hoc basis. Visit kundaliniyogauk.com and kysouthall.com/gong/ for more info on her classes. Follow her on Instagram at @KYogaUK and @everyday_art_uk