One of the most notable features of the RA MA Institute for Applied Yogic
Science and Technology in Venice is the gong. It’s the only 60-inch gong in Los
Angeles and the stories around it are the stuff of myth—mixed in with some
truth. It takes months to make a gong this size; it was shaped by special order
for Van Halen, but the band later changed their mind. Until Guru Jagat found
it lingering on Sunset Blvd—“sad in Hollywood,”—as she puts it, the instrument was waiting for the community that would collect and share space with
its magnificent sound.
We could all say that the instrument of our own practice is waiting for just the
right time to blossom. The time seems to be now for RA MA Institute founder
Guru Jagat, who has taken up the challenge of sharing the sometimes esoteric-feeling practice of Kundalini Yoga (as taught by Yogi Bhajan) in a way that
is relevant for the urban dwellers of LA. It’s no accident. Guru Jagat believes,
“These technologies were developed for these times.”
There’s certainly a nod to the times, as the studio even includes ice cream
cleanses (featuring raw coconut cream from the nearby Kippy’s), along with
daily 4:00 am sadhana, a Kundalini practice staple. Guru Jagat teaches classes
every day and is joined by a variety of other instructors who fill the all-day class
schedule, including two of her teachers, Tej and Harijiwan. She offers special
classes during the New and Full Moons, presides over a Sunday night practice and dinner club, and has hosted all-night practice and gong bath sessions
(complete with slumber party). She is even partnering with Julian Schwartz on
a burgeoning record label (RA MA Records). Guru Jagat wants the music to deliver the teachings to people who may never enter a yoga studio. Her plans are
vast and include everything from fashion and jewelry collaborations to lecture
series and online offerings, leading to the development of a full-service institute
beyond a yoga studio.
Here’s Guru Jagat’s advice
- Observe how you feel before you
go into class.
- Observe how you feel after class.
- Whatever happened in between,
don’t worry about it and don’t
think too much about it.
- If you feel better or have more energy,
- Come again and see how it goes.
- Wear comfortable clothes—
anything that you can move in.
White is said to expand the aura,
but you can even wear jeans to
class, if you like.
- The turban or head covering hits
reflex points in the skull and helps
contain the energy. It’s optional,
but try it out and see how you feel.
TEACHER PROFILE [guru jagat]