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Understanding the Aquarian Sādhanā: The Morning Spiritual Practice of Kundalini Yoga

Adapted from Original Light: The Morning Practice of Kundalini Yoga

Olive branches at sunrrise


We live by the beat of the heart. When a baby cries, the mother places the baby on her chest, and the baby is comforted by her heartbeat. The mother, in turn, tunes into this rhythm and determines what the baby needs. A steady rhythm not only comforts us, but also brings us to our own sense of inner knowing and truth. It is through a daily spiritual practice that is consistent, like the heartbeat, that we change the psyche to know — on an elemental, psychic, physical, chemical, and spiritual level — that we are in fact putting the Soul first.

One name for any spiritual practice done with dedication is Sadhana. I have practiced Sadhana in one shape or form for most of my life. Now at forty-two years of age, am I an enlightened being? Well, hardly. However, I remember my spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, saying, “If you want to be enlightened, be a light!” And while I can’t read auras, or read your mind, or know what will happen to me tomorrow, or even why it happened to me yesterday, I do have a light to tap into, every day. This light permeates my life and guides it, without question, with love. This light brings me tremendous joy and peace, and is without a doubt my saving grace. It gives me a way to shift my inner paradigm toward my Dharma: to live in service to all through my life, my work, and my being.

The Aquarian Sadhana is a householder’s way to experience that original and most beautiful light every day. It takes about two and a half hours to complete, or about one-tenth of a day. I remember Yogi Bhajan saying that if we give one-tenth of our day to God, God gives Himself or Herself totally to us for the rest of the day. The Sadhana includes a wake-up routine, a recitation, yoga, chanting, prayer, and finally a conscious act of surrendering to the Divine. There is also a component of community included that is crucial; the Sadhana is more potent in the company of others and also supports the growth of spiritual community.

The Aquarian Sadhana is for people of all walks of life. It is not based on religious beliefs; it is based on a yogic science of life. Where there are Sikh practices offered, we learn through the sacred tradition and the universal essence within these teachings that can nourish and heal us all. In fact, whatever your walk of life may be, I believe that this practice can enhance and support the essence of your Self, of who you are and what you believe in.

The Aquarian Sadhana was given to us by Yogi Bhajan. Born in Pakistan, he became a master of Kundalini Yoga at the age of sixteen. When he was eighteen, Yogi Bhajan and his family made the journey to Delhi after the Partition of India. After raising three children with his wife, Bibi Ji, and having a successful career in the military, Yogi Bhajan was drawn to the West in 1969 to share his yogic knowledge as a way to dedicate his life to service. With Kundalini Yoga, he steered thousands of young people away from drugs by helping them achieve genuine connection and healthy daily lives.

In 1992, Yogi Bhajan offered the Aquarian Sadhana to help us householders thrive and remain balanced in a world with ever-increasing information, technology, and sources of stress and pressure. He knew that we would not only need a sense of connection and love within ourselves, but also within our larger communities.

Yogi Bhajan taught that with every wink of an eye, there are a thousand thoughts. Only one of those thoughts becomes articulated into language, and those words become action. Underneath all of those thoughts is a baseline energy, an unstuck sound, a silence named Anahat. In this silence we do not have to do or think anything; we can just be. It is a pure state of meditation where we open the doors to merge with God, to be God. We enter a flow that is beyond thoughts, ideas, and actions; the flow just is, and we can just be.

What is the vibratory frequency of that inner space? You can find out. And from that discovery, you can create such a beautiful melody that the Universe will bend its ear to listen. But you must work on the instrument, the you. If you play a violin made by the Stradivarius family, the most beautiful sound will come out. If you take a rinky-dink Suzuki-student violin and play it, you can only make it sound so good. That Stradivarius has been worked on. The wood is the highest quality possible. The body is shaped just so. The strings are finely made. Everything has been masterfully created so that when it is played, an amazing sound comes forth. Its Anahat, the unstruck sound, is ready to directly touch the heart.

That is exactly what spiritual practice is. You become a kind of Stradivarius violin so that when the Creator plays you, you make incredible music. The sound that comes out will be Divine. Why? Your baseline, inner core vibration has been given space to exist, and your body and mind are finely tuned to carry that vibration out into the Cosmos.

Adapted from Original Light: The Morning Practice of Kundalini Yoga by Snatam Kaur. Copyright © 2016 by Snatam Kaur Khalsa. To be published in April 2016 by Sounds True.

Snatam Kaur is a teacher and musician in the Kundalini Yoga tradition, known for her many bestselling kirtan albums. Based in Wilton, New Hampshire, she leads workshops and gatherings across the US. For more, visit

About the Author

Snatam Kaur

Snatam Kaur is an American singer, peace activist and author raised in the Sikh and Kundalini Yoga tradition. She grew up in the presence of her spiritual teacher, Yogi Bhajan, learning the essence of Naad Yoga, a form of yoga focusing on sacred sound. At the core of this practice is an essential experience of peace and healing which helps her music be accessible to all people. Her book Original Lightis a compassionate and supportive guide to creating a daily spiritual practice. To find out more about her book and online course visit

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