I am so honoured and blessed to present this interview to you. I had the opportunity to interview Uttamjeet Kaur, the owner of the one and only Studio Sat Nam, in Calgary Alberta. It is the only pure Kundalini Yoga studio there, and Uttamjeet comes highly recommended as a teacher. The studio is beautiful and quiet despite being in a busy part of Alberta.
And Uttamjeet? She is amazing – open, glowing, smart, intuitive and powerful. She is someone I highly admire and if you are lucky enough to attend one of her classes, do it! You will not be disappointed!
MY: Thanks for meeting with me. I’m really excited.
UK: Me too.
MY: I have a friend who lives in Calgary actually, I messaged her and I said – hey I’m going to do this class at Studio Sat Nam, do you want to come with me? She had no idea that you existed, even though your studio is quite close to her.
UK: Yeah, it’s new.
MY: When did you open it?
MY: That is very new!
UK: Yeah, December 13th.
MY: Cool, and it’s been going well?
UK: It is, going very well. In the beginning I thought I was going to need mainstream yoga to get things moving, so I started off with hatha, vinyassa, power and restorative. Those classes just weren’t doing well, strange things were happening like people not being able to get to the studio.
UK: Yes, that is weird. I removed those classes from the schedule and the next day there was an influx of people for the kundalini classes.
UK: I added two more Kundalini classes and they filled up quickly. Suddenly, we were exclusively Kundalini Yoga.
MY: And that was your original intention.
UK: Yes, it was. So I just let it be and things are going better than I thought they would. People are just really happy to find the space, which is great.
MY: I also hear you’re a really great teacher.
UK: Thank you, that’s great – that’s so nice to hear.
MY: I found about you when I posted in the Facebook Calgary Kundalini Yoga Group and one of the questions was if I could only do one class and if I had to do any class in Calgary – who would it be with? And there were five people who said you. I was like Okay! That’s my class. That’s who I want to interview.
UK: Thanks for relaying that back to me. I love this practise – for me it’s about providing the space for this amazing technology that I believe in, I don’t feel it’s about me, or me being pioneer in Calgary. I just want to help people find a place to practise in an environment where they feel at home. If that happens, I’ve done my job.
MY: Yes, that makes a lot of sense. How long have you been practising kundalini yoga for?
UK: I started practising in 2010 with Hari Dass Kaur. I did my training in 2012. I taught on my own for two years and taught in a couple of studios around the city with the intention that I would open my own studio.
MY: So you’ve really had that in mind.
UK: I did, yeah, as soon as I finished my training I knew I was going to open a studio.
MY: That’s really cool.
UK: It was all Divine Intervention. I’m still a little mindboggled how it all went down. Yeah, it just works.
MY: Really cool. And so you actually found a really beautiful space and it’s seems like it’s very far from the street to here – it’s very calm in here, very nice transition.
UK: It is a crazy world.
MY: It’s true, it’s true. And so I want to ask you a little more about your practise, first of all do you have a typical daily practice?
MY: Do you make sure that you get it done all the time?
UK: Every day.
MY: And do you practise Sadhana?
UK: Yes. Not always the specific Aquarian Sadhana, I practice what I feel I need on any particular day.
MY: Cool. What drew you to Kundalini Yoga originally?
UK: That’s a good question. Everybody always has such great stories about it.
MY: I know, I love the stories about it.
UK: Me too. I had a life altering event in 2010, that made me realize that I needed to examine myself on a deeper level. I kept seeing the word Kundalini pop up everywhere. At that time I was thinking of doing training in Ashtanga. I went to the studio, and checked it out, stayed there for the weekend, I was ready to sign up. Then, I went to my first class Kundalini Class, and I remember thinking what the hell was that!? I knew instantly the practice was for me. I really liked it and it really resonated. I had a huge melt down afterwards, ten minutes of tears – and I thought I’m going to teach this one day. Yoga just really helped me come to that space of quietness, processing your stuff is invaluable.
MY: Yeah familiar.
MY: I remember doing my first Kundalini class and it was like a set, and I was only 17 at the time – really young right? I did the 8 week class and that was my first yoga class ever, and so it became that’s what I thought yoga was. I really liked it, but I didn’t have the opportunity to do any more yoga for the next four years or something like that. And then I was like, okay, I really have to do yoga, because I kept getting these messages I’ve got to do yoga, I’ve got to do yoga, I’ve got to do yoga. I went to a yoga studio and I was like what is this? This is not yoga! This is not the right place. I was like wait a minute, where’s the deep breath, where’s the mantra? Then I found Kundalini again. And I was like yes – this is yoga, this is what you do.
UK: Totally, I agree.
MY: What would you say is the biggest transformation you’ve experienced is in this practise?
UK: That’s a good one – I have a good story.
MY: I love stories.
UK: My background is in music and singing. In my late 20’s I decided to stop singing because I was too nervous. My voice was always stuck, I would get up in front of an audience and just clam up, I was way too nervous. During my training in New Mexico We were chanting a mantra in Dev Suroop Kaur’s, lecture on Sound and Mantra. All of a sudden my voice literally just came out. Out of the blue it just went from a tiny little noise to massive sound and it literally rocked me. My thought was “holy crap, what just happned?” I sat there for a little while thinking did that just happen? I gathered myself up and continued the chanting, just accepting this new voice. The next few days I was became worried that this voice coming out thing was a temporary deal. The new voice stayed. Even when I got home I took every chance I had to chant and belt it out and experience this new power behind my voice.
MY: So before, when you were singing it would just be the little voice and if you ever happened to do a presentation it would be a little voice?
UK: Speaking was always fine.
MY: Just the singing, okay.
UK: Just the singing, my voice was always just stuck. It was amazing and very indescribable. Its hard to communicate how it all went down.
MY: I can see that, for sure. It was just a really intense special experience crystalized and it’s hard to get that.
UK: Yeah, that was a big one for sure.
MY: Cool. Now do you sing?
MY: Oh, that’s awesome.
UK: It has made it’s way back into my life.
MY: That’s awesome, and I can tell you’re excited.
UK: I am, it’s cool to have it back. It’s really nice to have the confidence; the security of using my voice and not being shy to let it out.
UK: Exactly. It’s a good story. I love that one.
Come back next week for the rest of the interview! 🙂
Uttamjeet Kaur (Janet) describes the call to practice Kundalini Yoga as a voice impossible to ignore. The call came for her in 2010. As it is for many, awareness of the practice came to her as she found herself working through life changes and the desire to examine herself on a deeper level. Completely different from other styles of yoga, she was attracted to the unique facets of Kundalini Yoga.
Uttamjeet recalls her first class as an experience like no other. She knew instantly that she was to answer the call to become a Kundalini Yoga Teacher. Uttamjeet completed her Kundalini Yoga teacher training at Hacienda de Guru Ram Das Ashram, home of Yogi Bhajan, in New Mexico.
During her time at the Ashram, she became aware that the next step in the journey was to open a space for Kundalini Yoga. Studio Sat Nam became a reality in 2014 and her vision for the studio continues to be to provide a sacred and safe space dedicated to the practice of Kundalini Yoga. Uttamjeet is described as a grounded and comical yogi.
She encourages people to be respectful of their bodies while at the same time safely pushes to go beyond the limits created by the mind. Her classes will leave you feeling empowered, focused and aware of your divine potential. Supporting others as they transform and grow while embarking on their own spiritual journey is of the utmost importance to her.
Uttamjeet believes in the power of Kundalini Yoga and is pleased to share the knowledge with all.