A TRIBUTE TO YOGI BHAJAN
Yogi Bhajan was a respected and cherished spiritual teacher whose dedicated efforts and love for the subject of yoga encouraged thousands of individuals to embrace a new way of living. Aside from this he was in tune with the modern world. Having graduated with an MA in Economics he was able to use his business skills effectively becoming head of 14 major US corporations in-culding Yogi Tea, Kettle Chips and the computer company Sun and Son. Among his greatest contributions to the development of yoga were his consistent efforts to take the subject to modern western thought. Not only was he to become the spiritual head of an organization that was to change the way students and practitioners worked with yoga but also nurtured three children. At the age of 16, Yogi Bhajan experienced an encounter with the ‘mysterious Kundalini”.
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It was this awakening which blossomed into his life long work. His impact is felt throughout the world and Yoga magazine wishes to pay particular tribute to him and for his effortless work in bringing the ancient technologies of Kundalini yoga to people in the Aquarian Age. His transition from India to the States came from an invitation to teach Kundalini yoga first in Toronto and then in 1969 to the USA where he visited and began teaching. His vision was to create an organization that was healthy, holy and happy. This belief led to him coining the name for his organization 3HO. Due to the fact that yoga was relatively unknown in the USA around the time Yogi Bhajan had arrived, there was inevitably suspicion from people not accustomed to the way of yoga. This perception and belief was to change, as more and more people disillusioned by the culture of materialism, people turned to the 3HO organization for support and an opportunity to explore a new level of awareness. The organization has also worked on many different projects with success including drug rehabilitation, womens issues and medical, health related programmes.
One of the most significant impacts of his efforts has been the creation of new schools globally primarily to teach Kundalini yoga. This ancient style of yoga was one of the most jealously guarded secrets in India. Traditionally it has only been passed through word of mouth. However, Yogi Bhajan quickly realised at a young age that this secret had to be shared to the West. And so began his life long work.
His legacy and gift of knowledge will live for generations to come and support for his organization, 3HO has significantly grown year after year. I recall one particular account of when Yogi Bhajan went to teach his first yoga class. No one turned up. But he decided to teach anyway to an empty auditorium because he had allocated that time for the class. Amazingly, by the time he died, there were hundreds of schools, practitioners and students who were part of his organization. Many high profile people spiritual leaders including the Dalai Lama were among his closest friends. But the beauty of Yogi Bhajan was he embraced everyone whatever their creed, colour or origin and this legacy is evidenced in the dedicated work of his organization.
It is a sad fact that nearly 3.8 million animals, including cats and dogs, were used in medical research experiments last year alone.
In spite of alternatives that do not use animals being available, recent Home Office statistics show a shocking 2% increase in the last 12-months in the number of animals, many of them companion animals, used in scientific procedures.
One organisation that has dedicated the last 42-years to funding replacements for animal experiments is the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research (DHT). The DHT is the UK’s leading medical research charity and has been a driving force in funding and promoting the development of techniques and procedures to replace the use of animals in biomedical research and testing.
To further this aim, the DHT supports and assists scientists to implement existing techniques and develop new ones which are more humanrelevant and replace animal experiments. They award grants to scientists in universities, hospitals and research organisations following a rigorous peer-reviewed selection procedure.
Funded solely by charitable donations, the DHT has awarded grants to over 150 research projects over 42-years, for some of the most advanced and successful human-related techniques in the most diverse areas of medical research including cancer, Alzheimer’s, asthma, kidney, heart and liver disease and diabetes, to name only a few.
Without government funding, the DHT has made a significant contribution to changing the face of medical research. It is vital that its valuable work continues.