Senior Kundalini yoga teacher Guru Jagat is leaving Venice breathless with her new Ra Ma Institute for Applied Yogic Science and Technology.
When you meet with Guru Jagat—Venice’s most buzzed-about yoga instructor—at 7:30 am, you might as well be convening for lunch. The 34-year-old master has been up since 4 am, undergoing a daily morning ritual to clear her subconscious while the sun sits at a particular angle to the earth. It starts with a mantra and then physical practice for an hour. The routine ends in a long meditation. “I can’t serve my students in the way that I want to if I’m not clear,” explains Jagat, who lives in the beachside neighborhood with her boyfriend and two dogs. “I have a great personality, but I’m not selling my personality. I’m giving clarity to my students.”
Jagat does have a personality worth sweating for. The senior Kundalini teacher and founder of Venice’s new Ra Ma Institute for Applied Yogic Science and Technology is wry, intuitive, and funny. In class, she is known to drop the occasional curse word as easily as she does a mantra, and the hundreds who flock to her practice (including many from Hollywood—Demi Moore follows one of the institute’s teachers) find this refreshing and real. “Every time you go to one of Guru Jagat’s classes, she always pinpoints whatever it is that you’re feeling. She makes you understand the whole spirituality aspect of everything,” says jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche, who found Kundalini by accident when Guru Jagat stepped in for her regular teacher four years ago. “She subbed the whole week, and I went—every single day,” she says.
Jagat—one of the youngest senior Kundalini teachers in the world—is also fashionable, tied in to LA’s tastemakers, and devoid of the squishy, self-serious tone so often threaded through yoga. In January 2014, she branched into the music business with Ra Ma Records, releasing albums that combine electronic, rock, and rap beats with “conscious lyrics.” It’s part of why she currently finds herself at the intersection of her own charisma and Kundalini’s growing popularity.
“She’s such an amazing soul and friend and adventurer,” says Amanda Chantal Bacon, a student of Jagat’s and the founder of Moon Juice, a popular cold-pressed drink shop in Venice and Silver Lake. “We’ve done 12 hours a day of yoga for four days, and then gotten in the car and driven three hours to a nude mineral hot springs.”
Mystical as it may sound, the Kamali and Kenzo-wearing Jagat describes Kundalini as “technology” that “creates a velocity in the brain,” essentially turning on lights in some of the capacities that might be dormant. Meditation, breath practices that stimulate the brain and endocrine system, and postural movements associated with the body’s meridians are all part of the method. “You start to see clearer; you feel less reactive to stressors. You sleep better; your metabolism changes,” says Jagat of its benefits.
In addition to what Jagat says are marked effects with anxiety, depression, and fertility issues, she attributes much of the fanfare around Kundalini to its efficiency. “You come to your first class, and within three minutes, you can have a total powerful overhaul of your whole system,” she says. Such was the way she first experienced the form of yoga in her early 20s while living in New York: one class and she was hooked. She went to an ashram in New Mexico to learn from Yogi Bhajan, the man credited with bringing Kundalini from India to the West. “I’m not easily impressed,” says Jagat, who grew up in West Virginia with a mother whose work as a dance movement therapist was steeped in New Age. “When I got to the ashram and saw everyone dressed the same way, I really resisted the whole thing,” she says of the white turban and clothing that she now wears herself. “I have to have a firsthand experience of something or else I won’t do it. But when you wrap your head in cotton, it stimulates reflex points and does something to the crown chakra, holding the energy that’s moving through your system. You feel energized—it works.” To accessorize the turban, Jagat is also wearing two vintage Casio watches—an apt, if surface, example of her versatility. “It’s my kickback to—what’s that girl group? It’s my TLC moment,” she says.