Shakti Parwha Kaur became my mentor when the Siri Singh Sahib asked me to volunteer at the Secretariat in Los Angeles in the early ’90s. I began the grassroots work that led to the foundation of IKYTA, the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association. Everything I wrote had to pass through Shakti’s eagle eye for editing as it was representative of 3HO and our Teacher. My notes would come back with many strikethroughs and editorial abbreviations, none of which I could understand!
Her guiding star was that every communication should be warm and welcoming. My style was black-and-white and to the point. Shakti taught me to embellish to reach the heart of the reader. She was the epitome of “user-friendliness,” as evidenced in her book, Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power.
In 1994, IKYTA was officially founded as an association under 3HO Foundation. Shakti was the first teacher to pay the $40 membership dues. I told her that as a member of Yogi Bhajan’s staff and the mother of 3HO, her dues were honorary. She said, “No, no, no, please deposit my check. I want to make sure to leave this earth without any karma.” Speechless, I thanked her for her support.
We began certifying long term Kundalini Yoga teachers via a long essay-style grandfathering exam, as the Siri Singh Sahib wanted to ensure we all had the same knowledge base. To my amazement the first exam we received was from Shakti! She had just published The Flow of Eternal Power. I laughingly told her, “You could have just sent in your book,” to which she solemnly replied, “Some of the teachers will argue about having to take the exam, and I want you to be able to say, ‘Shakti Parwha did it.'” And boy was she right – I had to use that line many times.
Shakti was more than a mentor, she was an inspiring role model. I was especially proud the day she returned a 16 page draft of Kundalini Rising!, the association newsletter, and there were no red marks to be found!
Nam Kaur Khalsa
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