By Omenaa Boakye
“Kundalini yoga promises to help reprogram your mind and body,” says Siri Rishi Kaur, a self-described “modern-day mystic yogini mama” whose clients include fashion designer Donna Karan and fellow designer and artist/photographer Edward Wilkerson. Founded on the belief that we all have dormant energy gathered at the base of the spine, ready to be released, kundalini yoga, a blend of spiritual and physical practices, is “a complete system of yoga,” Kaur explains. “It’s not asana-based, meaning it’s not just a physical practice. The objective of kundalini is to expand our awareness so we can create a deeper awareness of our subtle energy and activate our intuition.”
Donna Karan says of her teacher: “She’s beautiful inside and out. Siri Rishi reopened the practice of kundalini yoga for me. It’s an amazing way to center yourself and release. I don’t think people realize how important breath work is—even myself, who has been doing yoga for over 40 years.”
“Kundalini yoga may sound exotic, but it’s really just working with the most powerful creative energy in your body. It’s extremely accessible,” says Kaur, who discovered the practice over two decades ago as a newly divorced mother with a young daughter. “Kundalini was the only thing that kept me balanced and gave me the faith to believe in myself, my vision and my mission. It also helped me to become a great mother.”
Kaur offers private workshops and virtual classes, with seven weekly classes through her Brooklyn studio, Temple143, which opened last year in the heart of Bed-Stuy. Workshops include meditation practices that balance brain hemispheres and shift patterns of the mind, mantra chanting and pranayama breathing exercises to stimulate the circulatory and respiratory systems.
“COVID happening, and pushing me onto the internet, has been evolutionary,” says Kaur. “For years, I used to think, ‘How do you teach beyond the walls?’ I am now finding that people are logging into my Zoom classes from all over. I’ve had people from the West Coast, Africa and Paris all in one class. It has been an incredible journey.”
This month, Temple143 opens up registration for the Magus Portal, a virtual program designed for women who want to practice kundalini yoga on a deeper level. Kaur will also be teaching Saturday classes in the garden at The Baker House 1650 in East Hampton and seasonal workshops at Mandala Yoga Center for Healing Arts in Amagansett. temple143.com; @siririshi on Instagram