Rubbing Chakras With Madonna
by Anneli Rufus
When we are introduced to someone, we ask what they do. So when Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa met some folks 12 years back and they asked what she did, she told them she taught yoga. They were interested. And because they were David Duchovny, Sherilyn Fenn and a bunch of other actors from TV's Twin Peaks, she had it made.
|Don't entrust your karma to just anyone. Here are some tips on finding a good yogi|
|Gurmukh's exercise for staying calm on the grocery checkout line|
|Check out our chakra chart to see what you need unplugged|
Not that Gurmukh — who prefers to go by the first name she adopted 30 years ago as a former flower child and emerging yogi — particularly cares that some of the students uncorking their chakras on her studio floor are among the Hollywood elite. So what if they include Madonna, Cindy Crawford and Rosanna Arquette?
"People like to do what celebrities do," the yogi sighs. But since Kundalini yoga can transform lives "from a state of misery to that of serenity and even ecstasy" in mere minutes, she says, "there's no loser in this scenario."
Gurmukh, whose name means "one who helps people across the world ocean," is 55 and teaches in Los Angeles. The key to bliss, she says, lies not in tendons but deeper, in a set of invisible power-centers stacked like spinning shuffleboard chips butt-to-scalp — "each radiating a particular energy that's important to your health, happiness and well-being." (For where they are and what they can do for you, check out our chakra chart.)
Exercises and meditations directed at each chakra in turn — a deep squat here, a mudra there — "very rapidly peel away" the crud that hides the unconscious mind, explains Gurmukh. Her student, actress Lone Skye, says it "scientifically elevates the soul."
And once you've got that far, "you can sit silently and listen to yourself long enough to hear what your destiny is," Gurmukh says.
She doesn't take destiny lightly. "I spent a great deal of my life searching for the easy, pain-free fix. In my early 20s, as a flower child in the Haight [the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif.], I became addicted to diet pills," she says. "After speed, I did other drugs." In her classes and her writings, she is frank about the drugs and what she calls an "excessive" number of "indiscriminate sexual encounters."
In 1969 she discovered yoga, which promised Technicolor, sitar-soundtracked visions of its own.
"After taking all those hallucinogenics as a hippie, how could I ever go back to being normal? I had seen the unseen."
She never looked back. All those skeletons crowding her closet attract the famous, who in many ways, too, "have got as far as they can go" and know she can relate.
"If Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers announces that he studies Kundalini yoga," Gurmukh says — and he does, calling his classes with her "the thing that has helped me the most heal my life" — then countless slavering fans will no doubt want to start pelvic rotations and third-eye meditations right away.
- Don't entrust your karma to just anyone. Here are some tips on finding a good yogi.
- Gurmukh's exercise for staying calm on the grocery checkout line.
- Check out our chakra chart to see what you need unplugged.