Mexican Prisons Turn to Kundalini Yoga

Here is cool news report by CNN about Inmates at prisons in Mexico (the country Mexico, not "New Mexico", USA) being taught Kundalini Yoga as a form of rehabilitation. These teachers as you might recognize in the video stand out with the white turban and clothing and are a product of the teachings of SSS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa (aka: Yogi Bhajan) . Its really cool that people are making an effort like this to make an impact and change these people’s lives. This is the Sikh way of not just serving the people we know, but serving those in need.

What also stands out in the video is the actual Mexico prison system supporting this type of project! One of the prison official’s remark was very valid when she said, "If we just keep them here, just punishing them, they won’t leave here with a different spirit, another mentality. That would be a dis-service to society". This seems quite contrary to what is happening in America where a huge percentage of the population are in jail. The system is seriously messed up and our culture/society here in America doesn’t seem to help the situation. It seems to be partially driven by companies who profit off of the system, and would lose money if people "got well" and changed.

While 1 out of every 142 Americans is now actually in prison, 1 out of every 32 of us is either in prison or on parole from prison, according to yet another report on Americans behaving badly from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

This means that 6.7 million adult men and women — about 3.1 percent of the total U.S. adult population — are now very non-voluntary members of America’s "correctional community"…more

Congratulations to Mexico for allowing programs like this and helping create change, and good work to Yolanda Acevedo and others with her doing this work!

This type of efforts of Teaching Kundalini Yoga, meditation and spirituality are the result of SSS Harbhajan Singh Khalsa (aka: Yogi Bhajan) who strived to create teachers (not get students), so that we could be of service to humanity and be Healthy, Happy and Holy (3HO). This is the birthright of every single person. 

Ps. Those of you who have taken a Kundalini Yoga class might recognize in the video the sound of the inmates singing the song,  "May the long time sunshine upon you, all love surround you. And the pure light within you, guide your way on." (But in Spanish). This song has become a norm when ending Kundalini Yoga classes (followed by long Saaaat Naaam).

23 Responses to “Mexican Prisons Turn to Kundalini Yoga”

  1. sarbjit singh says:

    Gur Fateh Ji,

    You had mentioned –>”This is the Sikh way of not just serving the people we know, but serving those in need. “. I must disagree to this.  This is not the Sikh way but Yogi Harbajan’s way and the 3HO’s way.

    My apology if i offended anyone in any way. I wished only to speak about my opinion.

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
    Sarbjit Singh Gill

  2. Sikhpath says:

          Sikhs are men and women uplifted by the infinite name of God. A Sikh is not a caste, creed, or religion because it is meant for one humanity united. Get the principles straight Sarbjit Singh. The 3HO has done much more in the West than most Sikhs here, and you are doing a great disservice to the progression of love, compassion, and unity expressed in Sikhism. 

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
    Waheguru Ji Ke Fateh

  3. Mandeep Singh says:


    Many years back, Kiran Bedi (IPS officer, India) did implemented the yoga for all Tihar Jail inmates (one of the biggest Jail in India) .

    To answer Sarbjit Singh:
    To grow a plant you have to first prepare the soil, then wait for appropriate season & then sow. To prepare a medidative mind, which can see the  light of oneness, don’t we need similar excercise. So why tools matter so much?? Why Guru Nanak’s message of oneness is not Sikhi??

    -Mandeep Singh

  4. sarbjit singh gill says:

    To Mandeep Singh,

    I think you are missing my point. It is a good thing to comeup with things like the yoga/meditation for improving lifes of inmates, but it cannot be said it is a Sikh way of doing things. Yoga is not a Sikh way of doing things. I do agree Yoga could be away of getting things sorted out for inmates.

    Sarbjit Singh Gill

  5. sarbjit singh gill says:

    To SikhPath

    yes it is good what the 3HO has done but in the name of Sikhism, it is not right to  have a strong association to Kundalini Yoga to Sikhism. Also the associatio of Yoga to Guru Ram Das and also the belief that Sikhism believes in Astronomy (according to 3HO if you listend to 3HO describing Barah Mah). No doubt i am humbled by the way of Sikhism life sytle that is lead by the 3HO folks. Some of the kirtan sung in Classic Raags is just awsome. Still i will stand and speak when Sikhism is related to meditation and yoga.

    Yours Truly
    Sarbjit Singh Gill

  6. Sarbjit Singh, I think you mis-understood what I said.

    I wrote: “This is the Sikh way of not just serving the people we know, but serving those in need.”

    This statement has nothing to do with Yoga or anything other than the action of doing service, in whatever form it may be.

    However, I still don’t see any issue with Kundalini Yoga in association with Sikhi. While Yoga might not be categorized as a “Sikh Practice” by most, it is quite complementary to the Sikh lifestyle. It is just another “tool” to help. Some may choose to use it and benefit from it…some may choose not to and use other “tools”.

  7. Hardeep Singh, I’m sorry that you feel that way that you do. It is unfortunate that you have the impression that you do. Every point in your comment (particularly the much longer comment that you originally posted) is based on assumptions and very little information. One cannot understand these things without learning more first hand and talking to people. It is easy to see bits and pieces and form an opinion, that is natural.

    All I ask is that you give people like myself and the many other Sikhs who were drawn to this path in life the benefit of the doubt. There is much work to be done to bridge the gap that is there and to get to know each other better. The whole point of this blog was to share some of the “views” from my window, in hope that we can slowly get rid of many of these mis-conceptions.
    I find that these types of questions are better discussed in person rather than online, because these topics can be very “charged” and two way communication is more effective. The internet is great, but can be terrible in a lot of ways for some types of communication.

  8. Hardeep says:

    Thank you Gurumutsuk Singh for your response maybe out there I really hoped you could show atleast one of my comments maybe one of the shorter one to have my opinion viewed. Just simply saying my points where misconceptions is not adequate all of my points where things that are true that I have seen for myself. Everything was actually based on facts from the audio lecture to the claim of Guru Ram Das a Lord of Miracles. To the yoga, vegetarian lifestyle and affintiy to Guru Ram Das as part of the 3ho Sikhs and not part of sikhism. None of these things where misconceptions in Harbhajan Singhs lecture he said a woman spoke to him saying she offered a pizza to Guru Ram Das. That was all I was pointing out and I’ve seen it on some 3ho Sikh blogs that they worship Guru Ram Das. Is reading and seeing a misconception its not. Maybe you believe Kundalini Yoga was out there for a long time but it is not one of the 4 main original types of yoga from the ancient books as yoga originiated from Hinduism.

    Nonetheless I put in shorter comments so that one of them could be posted. I am not saying some people are sikh and others are not I am just pointing out some things I and others find which deviate from sikhism many people have been drawn to sikhi and are good sikhs.

    So for the sake of it I’ll be posting a shorter comment again as I have thought of you as a nice person who would let both sides be heard.

  9. Prabhu Singh says:

    Actually Gill Ji, Gurbani links Guru Ram Das to yoga when it states that Guru Ram Das was blessed with the eternal throne of Raj yoga.
    “Raj Jog Takht Dee-an Gur Ram Das”
    Furthermore if you knew anything about yoga you would know that actually every Sikh is a yogi, unless they are not a practicing Sikh. A practicing Sikh does Seva, which is the same as karma yoga. A practicing Sikh sings kirtan (devotional hymns) and practices naam japna (devotional meditation) which is the same thing as bakhti yoga. Almost every practicing Sikh that I know does at least karma yoga and bakhti yoga.
    Too many people think that the Sikh Dharma is a religion filled with rules of do’s and don’t’s, it’s not like that, it is a path of union with the one God. That is the definition of yoga – union. If a Sikh lives a dharmic life and not a dogmatic life based on a narrow view of what’s right and wrong, that Sikh will certainly understand the significance of yoga and the Sikh Dharma.

  10. Manjit Singh says:

    With the latest murder and shooting in Sacramento yesterday, I wish all Gurdwaras would teach yoga in Gurdwaras, especially in Punjabi youth community, here, CANADA, England, Punjab where they are turning into violent criminals, alcoholics, druggies etc.  I think this should be posted on Sikhnet news!

  11. sarbjit singh gill says:

    Prabhu Singh Ji

    No where in SGGS is bani linked to yoga. Really. Yogi and Yoga is not related. Seva is not karma yoga. Naam japna is reading the bani to my mind so it would get peace and not “run around” searching for peace. It is not bakhti yoga. It is sorry to see how the 3HO and have customized the teachings in the bani to accomodate the yoga life style.  Maybe the Sikhs you know are from 3HO. What about Sikhs in Punjab. How many relate yoga to bani. They might do it for health reasons i won’t disagree. No doubt Sikhism is a very universal and flexible religion. Yes yoga can be practised and so do it but Prabhu Ji, the bani is not related to Yoga distinctively.

    Sarbjit Singh Gill

  12. sarbjit singh gill says:

    Well said Hardeep Ji.


  13. The whole purpose of the blog post was NOT to create a debate about Yoga and Sikhi. It was to show how some teachers in Mexico were making an impact on society by teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation.

    Whether you consider yoga related to Sikhi or not doesn’t matter. The fundamental teachings of Guru Nanak show us that there are many paths that lead to God. What you consider as THE way doesn’t make it the only way. There is no ONE way and one tool which can be used by a Sikh or anyone. It may not be part of the practice of most Sikhs, but it is something that is very congruent with Sikhi and supportive to those who wish to use it.

    It is a FACT that these teachings of Kundalini Yoga have helped countless people (not just Sikhs) become more spiritual people, healthier and happier. Not to mention the thousands of people who have become Sikhs as a result of these experiences. This is a good thing!

    I know there are many things which some of you might not understand and might think are “against Sikhi”, however as I said before many of these things come from lack of understanding and not seeing the full picture. We can argue point by point all day and never change opinions. I have seen this happen countless times and it is not productive. This is why I ask those people who really do want to know more and understand those of us who practice Kundalini Yoga to meet people face to face. Learn more about your Khalsa brothers and sisters before putting up more walls of division. It’s easy to find fault and criticize, but it takes time and effort to get to know others and see the real picture.

  14. Gurinder "G" says:

    Sarbjit singh gill and others…

    Yoga is a form of meditation which is performed after series of exercises so that mind can become thoughtless and etc. Sikhi is strongly related to meditation ( form of yoga). Guru Gobind Singh also was a Yogi in his past life time, so now you will also begin to dictate the rules of your own mind to Guruji also.

    Sikhi is a spiritual path and it is a personal path. People like you act as if you guys “owe” the Sikhi and its your property only…. Your views and other related to your views are very similar to Brahims and fundamental Islamic people, because these people also keeps on embarking that God only belongs to them or they only seem to understand the RIGHT WAY….

  15. sarbjit singh gill says:

    to Gurinder.

    That is interesting. No mind will become in peace when one is just sitting in peace. Only the words of the SGGS is the only guide to bringing the mind to peace.

    Yoga is a great physical exercise tool. I practise it as the stretching helps me warm up for the taekwando lessons.

    Gurinder, the issues here is the idea that yoga is a Sikh way of life generically. My opinion is, it is not. Then we should 5 K and one Y. Yoga is a personal preference not a Sikh way of life.

  16. sarbjit singh gill says:

    Gur Fateh Gurumustuk Ji.
     It was to show how some teachers in Mexico were making an impact on society by teaching Kundalini Yoga —> This i always think is a great idea. Yes, it is a great tool. I never disagree with this.

    I think i rest my case at this stage. I would like to end to say I am not building up wall of division against you and brothers and sisters. Neither am hijacking the religion to make it my property only.  I will give me views when i want to, i will. I guess Gurinder is just being silly by comparing me to fundamental islamic people. He got no idea what he is talking about i think sometimes, just like the dogs in my neighbourhood which bark to every passerby.

     Yogi Harbajan found the yoga to be a great way to bring the understanding of Sikhism to the western world. He definitely could not start by teaching them Ura, Erda, Erdhi :)

    Yoga has become a great way of life for you and brothers and sisters. If it works for you, i am very happy for all of you. I was never introduce to Sikhism in that manner. So I will see this differently. I also don’t believe sitting in silent is going to bring peace to my mind. Only when the words of the SGGS are read to my mind, then it become lame and sits still and finally finds peace.

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
    Sarbjit Singh Gill

  17. Gurinder "G" says:

    Sarbjit Singh Gill,

    First of all, no one has mentioned that anything is above SGGS, and its true that those words uttered by the Guruji can only create vibrations at certain frequencies that will unite us with that ultimate frequency ( name given by people God). If you think that yoga or any kind of exercise is not sikh way of life then simply don’t do it. And I don’t think any less of you or others. Because every human being can have a personal relationship with God, no matter at what point or level of spirituality they are at. 

    We have the tendency to judge others and we put so much effort in analyzing WORDS and then come up with our own conclusions on speculative basis… Which creates negative energy within ourselves  and then we project that  negative energy to others. 

    I wish that we could develop an ability to judge OURSELVES.   ONly God can judge human beings about their level of devotion and heights of spirituality.

    Even in SGGS mentions about importance of a good health in order to recite or meditate on Gurbani. Without Good health, mind and body cannot vibrate or reach certain levels. 

    Sikh way of life is to have  good health which leads to healthy mind and so on…  

    Anything that brings excellence into ourselves and to the world we live in is the “Sikh Way of Life”

  18. Jasprit Singh says:

    Gurumustuk Singh Ji,
    I must say I have to applaud your patience with a lot of the negative things people say on your blog shrouding them as “advice.”  You are able to calmly and coolly reply very nicely to such people.  Kudos!

    It’s also sad that some people instead of seeing wonderful Sikhs making a difference in this world by helping those in need as “western/3HO sikhs trying to make Yoga a part of Sikhi.”

    From a punjabi born Sikh who discovered kundalini yoga a year back, it has strengthened my body, mind, soul, and my love for Sikhi.

    And to all the naysayers out there….. inhale left…exhale right…inhale left…exhale right!

    Sat Nam!

  19. Palvin says:

    sarbjit singh gill I’m getting confused day by day..

    Maditate on lords name,
    so how one meditates.. is it going into trans like what happens when the kavadi is carried?
    Is meditation important in a process of becoming a saint 1st then soldier?
    Is the saint soldier is a life style that we as sikhs should practice?
    Naam jap.
    How great is naam jaap when a person mind is somewhere else?
    Then how do we naam jap with greater concentration?
    Why then, many who started to naam jap becomes more n more silent?
    Silent, are they sleeping or awake?
    Then how to jaap naam with every breath we take?   
    What is that process called to reach that state where I can start the naam jaap with every breath?
    I heard by meditation u can do it,(some call it yoga, some say sit quietly n starts to listening for voice within)
    I even heard by poking various sharp objects in the body and walk for miles u can doit..
    So which way is the way?
    I’m really a confused little lad..

  20. Badra bidesi says:

    Dear Palvin,
    I perfectly understand what you are asking as I was as these questions a week ago. I found all these answers – by learning a form of meditation called – vipassana. Japji saahib makes perfect sense and gurumaharaj’s words are not only words for me – now they are an experience! May you be blessed with the same experience – try some place that teaches nearer to your place of residence. It is non-sectarian and helped me a lot.
    As I am writing this in the background I am hearing “keha kathana – kathan naa jayi, sabna jiya kaa ik data”.

  21. warrior saint says:

    Deg O Teg O Fateh o nusrat bedirang Yaft Az Nanak Guru Gobind Singh
    The kettle and the sword (Symbols of charity and power), victory and blessing have been obtained from Guru Nanak-Gobind Singh. God is one! Victory to the Presence!! This is the order of Sri Sachcha Sahib (The great master) to the entire Khalsa. The Guru will protect you. Call upon the Guru’s name. Your lives will be fruitful!. You are the Khalsa of the great immortal God. On seeing this letter, repair to the presence, wearing five arms. Observe the rules of conduct laid down for the Khalsa. Do not use Bhang, tobocco, Poppy, wine, or any other intoxicant…Commit no theft or adultery. We have brought Satyug (the golden age) Love one another. This is my wish. He who lives according to the rules of Khalsa shall be saved by the Guru.

    uucha tera naam Khalsa uuche tere shaan khalsa jad desh kaum 
    te bheer pavee hoven tu kurbaan khalsa !!!!! 

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