Gurmukh (yoga teacher)
Gurmukh" means guru-oriented person, or one who has realized the Word or 'naad', as in Guru Nanak's Jap Ji "gurmukh naadang gurmukh vedang gurmukh rahiaa samaa'ee."
In the highest sense, the term gurmukh means to possess true knowledge, but is today used in common parlance as "yoga teacher".
Kaur Khalsa is a teacher of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan and a pioneer in the field of pre-natal yoga. She is the co-founder and director of the Golden Bridge Yoga Center in Los Angeles, and the creator of two books and three DVDs.
Gurmukh was born Mary May Gibson in a small Illinois town. At age nineteen, she left her home to attend college at San Francisco State University in California. There, she married a Ph.D. student and in 1964, gave birth to an infant with a congenital heart defect. The child, named “Shannon Danuele” died seven months later, but not before his mother had a horrible experience with an unfeeling gynecologist, uninterested birthing team, and controlling doctor who would not release her son to her until he had undergone circumcision against her wishes.
Grief ensued, then an amicable divorce. From living in Haight Ashbury, Mary went to Big Sur, then to Mexico, where she hitchhiked and lived among the tribal peoples. After that, she lived for two years as a hippie on a beach in Maui. Eventually, she was led to a Zen Buddhist zendo where she practiced silent meditation seven hours a day, with no drugs and celibate, for a year.
Introduction to Kundalini Yoga
In 1970, a colleague sought Mary out and told her he had had a vivid dream in which God had told him to bring her to an ashram in Arizona. They made their way to the 3HO ashram in Tucson, Arizona, where her friend paid Mary's room and board for a month, stayed and meditated for seven days. It was here that she met Yogi Bhajan, master of Kundalini Yoga. On their first meeting, he gave Mary a new name, “Gurmukh,” meaning “the one whose face is towards the Guru (meaning they have dedicated their lives to their Guru).” He also told her she would help deliver babies. Gurmukh took the advice literally and managed through a work exchange to attend home births with a Santa Fe obstetrician/gynecologist. Her studies trailed off however as teaching yoga became her full-time occupation.
Teaching Pregnant Mothers Yoga
In 1977, Gurmukh went on a pilgrimage to India and on her return moved to Los Angeles, where she met the man who was to be her life partner. She and Gurushabd Singh Khalsa were married in 1982. In February 1982, Gurmukh at the age of forty-three, gave birth to their daughter, Wahe Guru Kaur, at home with the help of a midwife.
Thereafter, Gurmukh used her knowledge of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan and her own pregnancy experiences to give classes for expectant mothers. This eventually led to a childbirth education program she was to call “The Khalsa Way”, and her own pre- and post- natal videos. She also began a sixty-hour Khalsa Way Teachers Training certification course for women from around the world to take to their communities. In 2003, Gurmukh published Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Exploring the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation.
In her life as a Kundalini Yoga teacher based in Los Angeles, Gurmukh developed a celebrity clientele. She gave private instructions to Madonna, Courtney Love, Gwyneth Paltrow, David Duchovny, Annette Bening and Rosanna Arquette. Eventually, with the guidance of her teacher, Gurmukh Kaur gave up the private classes with stars. In 2000, she published the popular guide Eight Human Talents: The Yoga Way to Restore the Balance and Serenity Within You. In 2002, Gurmukh co-founded with Gurutej Kaur, the Golden Bridge Yoga Center in Los Angeles.
- Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Eight Human Talents: The Yoga Way to Restore the Balance and Serenity Within You, New York, Harper Collins, 2000.
- Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Exploring the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, New York, St. Martins Griffin, 2003.
- Prenatal Kundalini Yoga and meditation for mothers-to-be, Gaiam (2000)
- Postnatal Kundalini Yoga for new mothers, Gaiam (2000)
- Kundalini Yoga with Gurmukh, Living Arts (2004)
- Joanne Chen, "Spiritual Love," Vogue Magazine, April 1999.
- Samantha Dunn, "L.A. (Yoga) Story," Yoga Journal, July–August 1999
- Julie Deife, "Sitting Down with Gurmukh," LA Yoga Magazine, January–February 2005
- Marcy Axness and Melanie Mayo (2013-08-08). "Gurmukh's Postpartum Wisdom". Mothering Community Mothering (magazine). Retrieved 24 January 2014.
- Khalsa, Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful, pp. 2-7
- Khalsa, Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful, pp. 7-8
- Khalsa, Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful, pp. 8-11
- Chen, "Spiritual Love," Vogue Magazine, April 1999, pp. 252, 256, 258; Dunn, "L.A. (Yoga) Story," Yoga Journal, July–August 1999