Naad Your Head to This: The last Yoga (and Life) Playlist you will ever need

Ok yogis and yoginis! Are you constantly searching for the perfect playlist for your yoga/meditation practice? Do you love playing uplifting, funky and high vibration music in your home and car? Then, read on, because I have put together the last playlist you will ever need...until new amazing music is released, of course.

My most vivid and transformational memory of my first kundalini yoga class was the music (and the killer arm exercises, but that is another story for another day). I was in New York in the 90s during the early Yoga Journal Conferences.  I arrived and was eager to search out the classes of Rodney Yee, Shiva Rea, and asthanga master David Swenson. I did find those teachers, and I am sure the classes were amazing,  but I actually have zero memory of them. What I remember was the destined moment I somehow ended up in Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa’s Kundalini Yoga and Meditation class. Now, I am still amazed that I ended up teaching this modality, as that first class was torturously challenging for me and I ran out thanking God it was over. But, the aspect of the class that imprinted on my soul was the music. I have always loved mantra and spiritual music, but when I began practicing and becoming more familiar with the mantras of Kundalini Yoga, I could feel my heart and soul expanding and elevating to greater heights. As I began studying these mantras on a higher level, I learned the science behind this experience is called Naad Yoga. Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini Yoga Master, taught us that Naad Yoga is based on the experience of how sound vibrations affect the body, mind, and spirit through the movement of the tongue, the mouth, and changes in the chemicals in the brain. The mantras in Kundalini Yoga are all based on this science and I have found them to be extremely powerful in my spiritual growth.

So, please enjoy and let me know your favorites as well!

Let's start with some suggestions for the newcomers to the Kundalini Yoga music scene. (And yes, there actually is a Kundalini Yoga music scene. If you don't believe me, check out a Sat Nam Festival. You will be blown away with the musical talent in this community.) Here are my top five suggestions for all time classics.

SONGS TO START YOUR NEW NAAD COLLECTION

  1. Ong Namo by Snatam Kaur Khalsa
  2. Sa Ta Na Ma by Mirabai Ceiba
  3. Ra Ma Da Sa by Snatam Kaur Khalsa
  4. With You by Jai-Jagdeesh
  5. Longtime Sun by Snatam Kaur Khalsa

 

Are you feeling it yet? Those songs touch my heart strings every. single. time. Now that you are getting into the groove, let's expand your repertoire. There are times when you just want to put an album on and not have to worry about skipping songs or making a playlist. Here are three albums that I love to just listen straight through. (Oh, and for those of you who don't want albums, I will still give you my tops song from the album that you CAN NOT MISS.)

ALBUMS TO PLAY STRAIGHT THROUGH

  1. Ajeet Kaur Khalsa's album Darshan. I honestly don't think I can pick just one, so if you can not get the whole album, make sure you at least check out Light of My Soul, In Your Grace, and Aad Guray Nameh.
  2. Krishan's album Kundalini Chillout: Liquid Mantra Remixes. Ok, normally I don't do remixes. But this is the first remix album where I truly believe the remixes are better than the originals. Fave songs - Bhaj Man Mere and I Am.
  3. Ajeet Kaur Khalsa's album Haseya. I know, I have Ajeet twice. She deserves it. This album has power, a deep resonance with nature's rhythms and connection to our ancestors. The title, Haseya, means "She Rises" in the Navajo tradition. Oh, and as a wonderful bonus, Trevor Hall joins in on the first track! 

One of the most beautiful experiences with naad is when you are chanting, or just listening, and your heart begins to expand. We all feel this differently, but for me, my body begins to feel very light. I can feel deeply pleasurable electrical currents running through my body and my senses become very sharp. These sensations are amazing, but what feels even better is the love you feel for everybody. Differences and resentments dissolve - they can not co-exist with this energy. It is a dimension in which I wish I could dwell forever, but for now I feel so blessed when it arises. I want to share with you a few songs that have been keys to help me access this heart opening.  

SONGS FOR EXPANDING THE HEART AND SPIRIT

  1. Ong Sohung by Guru Singh. Album - The Guru Singh Experience Volume One
  2. Expand from the Heart Center (Aad Guray Nameh) by Jai Jagdeesh. Album - Meditations for Transformation : Expansive Spirit
  3. Ram Ram Hari Ram by Snatam Kaur. Album -  Meditations for Transformation
  4. Hallelujah by Snatam Kaur. Album - Live from Sat Nam Fest 2011
  5. Humme Hum Brahm Hum by Gurunam Singh. Album - Union

Now that your heart is open, it is time to move and groove the body. If you have been to a Kundalini Yoga class or workshop, chances are good that you danced. (Or hopped, barked like a seal and flopped like a fish.....) So here is what you have been waiting for!

Top Kundalini Dance Songs!

  1. Music Sound by Bachan Kaur. 
  2. Wahe Guru Jio Techno by Guru Dass
  3. Adi Shakti Bhangra Mix by Sada Sat Kaur
  4. Sa Re Sa Sa by Siri Sadhana Kaur
  5. Anything by Mayapuris. Not Kundalini specific, but perfect for raw, tribal, drum dancing. (If that's your thing.....)

Tired yet? Good.

MY FAVORITE SIVASANA (CORPSE POSE, AKA SLEEP!) SONGS

  1. Ra Ma Da Sa Healing by Ajeet Kaur Khalsa
  2. Cosmic Cycles by Bachan Kaur
  3. Guru Ram Das by Guru Vir Kaur
  4. Ra Ma Da Sa by Siri Sadhana Kaur

One of the first practices you will learn about in the Kundalini tradition is morning sadhana. Morning sadhana is a practice that (ideally) happens in the early morning ambrosial hours before the sun rises. We chant Japji, a prayer, then do a yoga set, and finish with seven specific mantras called the Aquarian Mantras. Yogi Bhajan told us that this practice will help our minds, bodies and spirits find balance in the midst of growing stress and changes in the coming years. Many amazing artists have recorded sadhana albums, but I would like to share both my favorite sadhana album and my favorite Japji recording.

FAVORITE SADHANA AND JAPJI ALBUMS

  1. Live! Morning Sadhana Chants with Sirgun Kaur Khalsa. This is a harder album to find as it was recorded live at a 3HO Solstice event. Lucky for you - I have the link for you HERE!
  2. Japji by Bachan Kaur. Another song that is worth tracking down. Find it HERE and don't forget to make her a donation!

One of the biggest blessings I have received in my lifelong spiritual journey has been an awakening of devotion for the Divine Feminine. Chanting to Ma or Divine Mother provides comfort, nurturing, and healing to our deepest wounds and insecurities. She can deliver protection and teach us how to re-connect to our true sense of self-empowerment. 

MANTRAS FOR DIVINE MOTHER

  1. Album Divine Woman by Hari Bhajan Kaur. I find the track God Made Me a Woman particularly empowering.
  2. Yemaya by Mirabai Ceiba. Celebrates the Goddess of the Ocean.
  3. Adi Shakti Meditation by Nirinjan Kaur. Good for tapping into your power and confidence.
  4. Ma by Sirgun Kaur. Melts the heart.

I met my husband in 2011 in Boulder, Colorado during my Level 1 Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. We maintained a sweet friendship, and then in 2014 we re-connected at the Kundalini Summer Solstice event in Espanola, New Mexico. We partnered for two days of White Tantric Yoga, an intense full day of partner meditations and subconscious clearing. During these meditations, we experienced a profound merging of Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine energies that forever changed the course of our lives and relationship. For the days and weeks that followed, we stayed in that elevated space of both human love for each other, and a more elevated love of the Divine that our partnership had helped awaken. During that time, there were three songs that seemed to be the soundtrack of our love story and I would like to share them with you.

SONGS TO FALL IN LOVE TO

  1. Antarjaamee by Ajeet Kaur Khalsa. Antarjaamee ~ "Knower of Hearts"
  2. Ang Sang Wahe Guru by Jai Kartar. This mantra translates as "The dynamic loving energy of the Divine is dancing within every cell of me" and is now engraved on our wedding bands.
  3. A Hundred Blessings by Mirabai Ceiba. Based on Rumi's poem. Enough Said.

I have another love story to share that is both vastly different in circumstance, yet equally as powerful and sweet in my life. In 2010, I was blessed to become pregnant with twin boys, Bodhi and Noah; however, these beautiful souls decided that a 19 week stay in my womb completed their destiny in this life. As you can imagine, I was heartbroken. I was also determined to honor them with a conscious and drug free birth, so that their cycle would be complete and so that I could grieve their loss fully. I waited for my body to receive the signal that the babies were no longer alive, but my body did not seem to want to let go. After two weeks of carrying them in my womb, I finally made an appointment to be induced. For those of you who have received pitocin to induce labor, you know how intensely the contractions surge through the body. I birthed my first child naturally, yet the birth of the twins was so much harder (and longer!) even though their tiny bodies could fit into the palm of my hand. My husband and dear friend, Virginia, stayed with me the whole time. Both of them were sending reiki through my body, chanting mantra with me, and blessing the souls of these babies with all of our hearts. The energy in the room became so powerful and elevated. I have an extremely vivid memory of Virginia holding my right hand, Ryan holding my left, and me lying in the middle. The song, Kabir's Song, by Snatam Kaur was playing and we were singing, "Breathe my love. Breathe my love. Breathe in the quiet center." I felt transported to another world and was filled with so much love for these babies, my own soul, and the family holding me so securely. Losing a loved one can be so terribly painful, but can also be such a beautiful opportunity for connection to spirit, for newfound gratitude to life, and for a taste of the Infinite Love that holds us on the other side. If you have the blessed opportunity to be with a loved one as they transition, here are a few beautiful songs to assist their transition and to comfort your heart.

SONGS FOR LIFE TRANSITIONS

  1. Kabir's Song by Snatam Kaur
  2. In Dreams by Jai Jagdeesh
  3. With you by Jai Jagdeesh
  4. Akal - Undying! (Live at Sat Nam Fest) by Snatam Kaur. You can only find this on the album Kirtan Aid Live : Nepal Earthquake Relief

Well, we are coming to the end, but I still have some goodies for you. These songs did not fit into a category, but they are some of my favorites that get a lot of play time at home and in my classes.

SONGS I LOVE THAT I WANT YOU TO LOVE TOO!

  1. Guru Ram Das by Jai Jagdeesh
  2. Prithvi Hai by Mirabai Ceiba
  3. Ong Namo by Nirinjan Kaur
  4. Dhan Baba Nanaak by Simrit Kaur
  5. By Thy Grace by Snatam Kaur
  6. A Thousand Suns by Guru Ganesh Singh
  7. Hallelujah by Jai Jagdeesh (Move over Jeff Buckley, this is my new fave cover)
  8. Sat Narayan by Sarah Hawker (If you like Bluegrass, check out this whole album)

And finally, I can just hear you naad groupies out there muttering, "show me something I don't have!" I think I am up to the challenge. Here are some rare and random gems that might be missing from your collection! And if you have all of these (not counting my husband bc we share music), then I give up, give you my self-appointed crown, and ask you to send me some songs I may have missed!

SONGS FOR THE NAAD COLLECTOR WHO (ALMOST) HAS IT ALL

  1. The Chants of Baba Siri Chand by Yogi Amandeep. Buy the whole album. 
  2. Wahe Guru Bliss by Bachan Kaur
  3. Guru Ram Das (feat Yogi Bhajan) by Feather and Dot
  4. Tibetan Form Humme Hum Brahm Hum by Gurucharan. (Grab fast Guru Guru Wahe Guru while you are at it)
  5. Rakhe Rakhanhar by Gian Ji on his Morning Sadhana album. The Wahe Guru is great too - especially to use with the Clearing Arc Line meditation.
  6. Wahe Guru Wahe Jio by Ram Singh on the album One Bright Morning. The intro to this reminds me of a Meatloaf song from my childhood. Don't let that scare you - kind of adds to the fun. And bonus points for whoever can name the Meatloaf song in the comments below!
  7. RaRaRaRaMaMaMaMa by Sangeeta Kaur
  8. Guru Dev Mata Guru Dev Pitta by Guru Jiwan Singh. (ok, confession, I am not sure if this song is even available to buy anymore - it is old. I believe I received a copy from a teacher at a Level 2 training...but I had to give some of you a challenge, so if you ever find a copy online, let me know so that I can share! And if you find someone with it, get it from them - it is lovely.)

Thank you for reading and would love to hear what you are listening to that uplifts your spirit and gets you grooving. Sat Nam!