A New Breath of Life
By Hilary Diack
Seva Simran Kaur, also known as Sara Campbell, started Kundalini Yoga over 12 years ago in response to stress-related digestive problems. It transformed her health and her life and she hasn’t looked back since! Cairo East Magazine sought her out to learn more about the benefits for all.
SSK: I first came here almost 10 years ago and my connection with Egypt was as instant and powerful as my connection with my yogic path. It was in the Red Sea that I discovered free-diving, and set my first three World Records. I live and teach in Dahab but also travel and teach yoga, meditation, and free-diving internationally.
In what way does Kundalini Yoga differ from other forms of yoga?
Kundalini is the most integrative and holistic form of yoga. It addresses mind, body and spirit in every single session, giving practitioners access to powerful and rapid transformation. The secret to Kundalini Yoga lies primarily in the breath work, which shifts energy and blockages, and really opens a person up to their true identity and potential. While we practice every posture found in Hatha apart from the headstand, the way the asanas are integrated with pranayama, mantra, mudras, visual focus or bhandas makes it truly unique and the most uplifting form of yoga.
What are the main benefits a person can experience by practicing Kundalini Yoga?
There are countless benefits to starting any yoga practice, but specifically in Kundalini Yoga people typically experience a release of stored up, unhealthy or unsupportive emotions, or personal beliefs. It is an extremely effective way of connecting with the Self again, away from the pressures of work, family, society and life. It frequently happens that one single class can give a person that glimpse of who they really are, and that is a truly magical and priceless experience which keeps them coming back to go deeper and deeper into their own process of unfolding.
How often do you recommend practicing it, and how long for each session?
It is great if someone can get to a class once a week, preferably twice a week, but this isn’t always possible. Classes are normally 1.5 hours, sometimes shorter, and workshops are longer, giving students the chance to go deeper into the psyche. Ideally, students should practice with a qualified teacher, not only to ensure they are doing everything correctly but also to benefit from the group energy as this can be hugely uplifting, connecting and healing.
There isn’t the best time of day. Early morning practice is great for waking up and starting the day on a healthy, positive note, but it is also perfect to unwind and switch off at the end of the day. Really whatever works best-given life’s commitments.
Do you need to keep a special area just for yoga, or can any room be used?
If possible it is best to set aside a corner of a quiet room in your house or apartment to practice yoga and meditation. This area will accumulate the positive energy that is generated during practice, so that after a while, simply sitting there will bring peace and feelings of happiness and love.
Not everyone has the luxury to do this, so you can also set up a small table with a candle, a photo of your teacher or someone who inspires you, maybe fresh flowers, affirmations or mantras, and then roll out your yoga mat in front of that each time you practice.
Is Kundalini Yoga suitable for all age groups?
Absolutely. The beauty of Kundalini Yoga is that everyone can practice. You don’t have to be strong, flexible, or fit to practice. Many people put of starting yoga because they worry that they’re not good enough. Firstly, we practice yoga in order to develop these physical attributes. But secondly, in Kundalini Yoga, we look beyond the physical body and recognize that it is the spirit which is the source of our happiness in life, and address this first and foremost. So if you can sit, and breathe, you can practice Kundalini Yoga.
Can it be practiced alone or should it be done under the supervision of a qualified yoga master?
As I said above, it is best to start with a teacher, but the real long-term benefits actually come from creating and sustaining a disciplined personal practice each and every day. This is where we learn the most about ourselves – how readily we give up on ourselves, let ourselves down; keep promises to others over promises to ourselves. This is an incredibly valuable opportunity for introspection and self-confrontation which can bring enormous benefits to everyone. So, really, a combination of classes and self-practice is optimal.
Where can classes be found in Cairo?
There are several centers in Cairo offering regular classes, and I recently ran morning and evening classes at Nūn Center in Zamalek.
Where can classes be found in South Sinai?
From 7-14th February 2015 she is offering a week-long yoga retreat at RockSea retreat, in Nuweiba, alongside top Danish Hatha-Vinyasa instructor, Joern Noertoft. It includes B&B accommodation, twice-daily yoga, pranayama and meditation and a two-day yoga trek into the Sinai desert. €1000
For anyone wishing to develop further, she is running the first KRI Kundalini Yoga Level 1 Teacher Training in Nuweiba. Although the training started in December 2014, candidates can still join for the remaining modules; Module 2: 25 February – 1 March 2015, Module 3: 22-26 April 2015, plus 4-12 July in France, completing Module 1 in December 2015, or start the full cycle in December 2015. 2014/15 training €1980.
To combine yoga with some quality chill-out time you can join Sara for her Kundalini Weekends (Thursday evening till Sunday midday) at the beach for a relaxed but powerful practice. Each retreat is themed, and run in daily 3-hour workshops with plenty of time for soaking up the sun! Dates for 2015: January 22-25, April 2-5, September 24-27, November 26-29.