I just arrived back in Atlanta after being away for sixteen years, and it was time to reconnect.
When I first met Swami she was not yet Swami, and in fact not yet Jaya Devi. It was the mid-1990s and Swami, then “Claire Ahern” was teaching Kundalini yoga in a tiny little store near to my home in the Highlands. It became my go-to yoga place. I remember the first class well. Swami Jaya Devi demonstrated each move beautifully, with fluidity and with the dedication and integrity I have come to know so well in her. There were only three of us in those early classes. The poses were challenging but breathe was our friend. And along with it, she and I formed a fast bond.
The classes grew. Beautiful Jaya Devi Yoga, on Elizabeth St. opened, and somewhere along the way, Swami Jaya Devi met the incomparable Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati. Ma was fierce in her dedication to Truth, and it was easy to see how she became Swami’s Guru. It was powerful to have witnessed then “Claire’s” journey to Jaya Devi to Swami.
One heart-warming gift Swami gave me was to connect me to Soo Se Cho, Ma’s adopted son who gave me a powerful and intimate view of his relationship with Ma that was a great privilege.
While Swami has been on her spiritual journey, my own involved taking initiation in, and studying many great spiritual, mystical and healing traditions of the world. I also received a PhD in East-West Psychology with a Transpersonal focus on Spiritual Counseling. I became a Senior teacher, Sheika and Cheraga (Revered) in the Inayati Sufi Order, and I have been teaching meditation and consciousness transformation around the world. I am an Interior Architect and designer and have taught the creation of Sacred Space, incorporating traditional design principles from the East (Feng Shui and Vaastu Shastra) and the West (Sacred Geometry and Principles of Design Harmony.)
My book, Jewels in the Net of the Gods, I am delighted to say, is now available in the Kashi bookstore.
Because, like Kashi, the focus of my work is fostering the expansion and centering of consciousness by working with people on their psycho/spiritual journeys, as we were sipping tea and catching up, Swami invited me to join Kashi, doing individual sessions in my capacity as a therapist, and teaching a workshop and class series on the Mystical Consciousness which will begin in February 2017.
I look forward to meeting you all and being a part of the Kashi family.