As owners of Yogacenter Hoheluft in Hamburg we (Satya Singh and Simran Kaur) would like to introduce ourselves and the different activities we engage in.
We have been married since 1984 and we live with our two children (this rarely, because they are adult and mostly independent) above the yogacenter. Luckily the yogacenter has its own entrance, so yogacenter and family are clearly separated.
For this introduction I would like to use the two categories of Yoga Philosophy that describe a biography: "Lineage" und "Legacy".
I was born 1949 in Haarlem in the Netherlands. Haarlem is a somewhat smaller variation of Amsterdam. The house I was born in was on a Gracht as the traditional Dutch waterways in the old cities were called.
My parents were both immigrants from the rural province of Friesland in the north of the Netherlands. In the more urban landscape of my youth my parents still spoke "Friesisch" with each other, which is recognized as a separate language from Dutch. Maybe this gave a bit of the alienation of an immigrant child to the beginning of my life.
A few years after my birth the family moved to Amsterdam, where my father accepted a post as a teacher of Lithography in a secondary vocational school. I was raised in a devout protestant way in the calvinist tradition that is so strong in the Netherlands. We went to church twice every Sunday and the values my parents lived by were very conservative. As soon as I could and as much as the hippie revolution of the late sixties allowed I tried to find a more authentic lifestyle. Still it is an interesting consideration how much of the values of being "Gereformeerd", which was the name of my parents religion I took over in the lifestyle of Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma, that i finally found for myself and that on first sight was the complete opposite of how I grew up.
But before this revolution I was an avid student, who, and I still do this, read everything I could lay my hands on. I was very fixed on my restless mind and later it took a long time of intensive yoga to develop an inner peace.
1968 I started to study sociology, which was the fashinonable topic of this times. I remember that my motivation, was partially to help to create a more open society, but also I wanted to study society because I wanted to find a place for myself within society, where I would feel good.
This was the late sixties and the normal society at that time was so artificial and stiff that my generation could not stand it. So I experimented with political activity in the student movement with a dose of anarchism, and finally ended up in the very interesting "Hippocrates academy for natural healing in Bloemendaal", where I learned Homoiopathy, Astrogy (which I still practice), Herbology and Massage. This school was a true school of life and the philosophical development I experienced there supported the Kundalini Yoga, which I had started to practice in the Guru Ram Das Ashram in Amsterdam, very much.
The next part of my life history is from the forword to a new book on "Yoga and Relationships" that, together with my wife Simran Kaur I am writing at the moment.
In 1975 I was 25 years old. At that time I had started a maybe typically male diary. Every evening I drew a horizontal "not happy, not unhappy" line, that represented the timeline of the day. Over that I created my emotional graph- above the line happy, below unhappy. Soon it was obvious to me, also without statistical evaluation, that I could only get my graph up through Yoga. I had just started Kundalini Yoga in the tradition of Yogi Bhajan. So I started to do Yoga more and more until I finally rode my bicycle to the Yoga Ashram four times per week. At that time it was quite idealistic to teach Yoga and the payment system consisted of a basket at the entrance with a card saying: recommended donation 2 guilders (would be one Euro nowadays). I could afford that. This way I was able to control my happiness graph for years.
Until I as a regular visitor started to know and love the inhabitants of the Ashram, especially the yogini's, the female yogi's. That confused my happiness graph for a long time. Guru Ram Das Ashram in Amsterdam had a very chaste outlook on life, sometimes even quite strict full of unwritten laws like: when a man and a woman, who are not in a committed relationship are in the same room, never close the door / no male-female massages / no "one man, one woman outings, etc.
Nevertheless ... we wer all young, healthy, full of Testosteron, Oestrogen and Oxytocin and according to yogic teachings also full of "Ojas", the sexual liquids in their refined and subtle form. And allthough the yearly White Tantric courses that our teacher Yogi Bhajan would conduct were also quite chaste - men and women in hour long eye contact, but only touching hands - still the closeness that that brought about did not exactly diminish the yogi/yogini attraction.
In this way my student years as a yogi became a new intensity. And it was maybe not only the looking for enlightenment, but also looking for love, that after four years of intense yoga made me exchange my comfortable student room in the city for a tiny mens room, shared with one other yogi in the ashram. In hindsight it was correct that my decision was to leave all worldly things behind, but love was definitely not part of that.
Love had a high value in the ashram und there were a few couples in the ashram, who gave a pretty good example of it and they had children, who were obviously loved and cared for by all ashram members. And we ashram members even di our best to keep a good relationship with our parents - the biggest challenge: when you think you are enlightened, talk with your mother.
However, the love between men and women was only allowed according to ashram rules in the form of a commitment for life. The reason for that was that love lived as marriage was the best way to diminish you ego. The recipee is simple: bind yourself to another soul. Throw the key away. Boild your ego in the pressure cooker that this produces.
That made sense to me. And it was not so difficult to let go of the ideology of free love, that was the ideal in my student circles, but that had brought me only misery. So right in the beginning of my ashram-career I started to look for a committed relationship. However, because I was not at all relaxed or neutral in this search, I left a trace of pieces of broken heart behind me, mainly my own, crushed again and again. Indeed there was a constant stream of interesting young women passing through our ashram and living in our womens dormitory and this meant that five years in a row I had found a different candidate ever year. But none of them could or would stand permanently the relatively strict disciplin of the ashram, which I had learned to love so much.
Later I heard, that, when I had a different partner every year to carry my sheepskin at the yearly yoga festivals, I had built a rather questionable reputation - a kind of Yoga Gigolo. That was so unfair! In all these relationships, which indeed according to ashram rules stayed (almost) without sexuality, I had the intention of a committed relationship - which was always destroyed by the potential partner leaving the ashram.
Although my nervousness in this series of relationship crises was diminished by doing a lot of Yoga, it was still very painful. At one point I had enough. In the meantime I had become successfull as a yoga teacher and had a small appartment above our vegetarian "Golden Temple" restaurant and I decided, I can do it alone. I do not need a relationship...
Looking back, I had fullfilled what is maybe the most important conditon in a relationship. Relax. Don't make yourself dependent on the relationship. Your first priority is to have a good relationship to yourself. And then, just see what happens. And so, quite spontaneous and without any hassle on my part, within a few months the good, mutually supportive relationship to my wife, which now thirty years still works very well.
He is a silent teacher
interesting in our marriage was the parallel development of language and relationship. When we met at the European Yoga Festival in France and in the first year of our marriage we spoke English. My wife, born in Columbia from German parents, came from the Hamburg Kundalini Yoga Ashram, but I did not speak German. I studied it in school, but the subject was not very popular in the post-war Netherlands, where I grew up. Then Simran Kaur moved to the Amsterdam Ashram, learned to speak Dutch and soon spoke more with my parents than I had ever managed myself. Then we moved to the Hamburg Ashram, because Simran Kaur wanted to finished her training as a teacher in German and Geography. And I learned to speak German with a Durch accent, which is our main language until now.
I liked Germany a lot better, than I had thought - being born in the Netherland four years after the end of Worldwar II. I found the people, especially those I met in yoga circles, thoughtful, open and quite conscious.
And so my wife and me still live in Hamburg and have founded a lively yoga center. Also I soon took over the Yoga Teacher Training in Hamburg and that expanded to a very large network of trainings in about 20 different cities in Germany. And I wrote five books in German - several of which got translated in different languages, however none (except the tree yoga book) into Englisch. This is a good moment to thank my wife as an essential help in correcting my German language.
Now...we come to the second point: Legacy
There is the concept in Kundalini Yoga that every human being carries a destiny inside himself. This destiny is at the same time a development process for yourself and your soul, as well as something that you contribute to life and to humanity. It is not important if this contribution is small or large - it is piece of the puzzle that fits exactly in the hole, that the universe left for it.
That is why the traces, that a human being leaves on this earth, are very important. And so, I would like to pass on, what I have understood and developed in the course of my life.
A part of this are the books, that I wrote as an author, the CD's and DVD's that I produced as a musician and yoga teacher. The books are all written in German, although some have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Czech.
Also on this website you will find menupoints like "Free Mantra Project" and "Free Relaxation Project", where I will continuously publish new relaxation processes and new Mantra music for free download. Regarding the music I would like to thank my daughter for her support and her wonderful voice and improvisational musical talent. And about thanking people, lots of that for Nina Stiller, the photographer that donated all the beautiful pictures of this website, and thanks to the universe for sending her.
Free Mantra Project
Free Relaxation Project
This projects are an expression of the gratitude, that I experience for the gift of life and for everything which I received myself from my teacher Yogi Bhajan and from our tradition of Kundalini Yoga. I love to pass this on.
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