In her life’s journey, HarDarshan Khalsa finds happiness in creating harmony and balance, not only within herself but also among her family, friends, and clients. She considers it her mission to be a beacon of grace in a world often lacking in it. HarDarshan’s personal philosophy revolves around making life and the healing process uplifting, fostering a strong belief in the power of happiness. During her undergraduate studies, she delved into the subject of happiness, authoring a paper on how individuals can create their own happiness.
Nature holds a special place in HarDarshan’s heart, and she has dedicated over two decades to co-creative gardening. This form of gardening, often referred to as ‘spiritual gardening,’ traces its origins to the world-renowned Findhorn Gardens in Scotland. Additionally, she has nurtured two grown children and now takes great delight in her small granddaughter.
HarDarshan Khalsa is a licensed clinical mental health counselor in North Carolina, where she operates a private psychotherapy practice. Her expertise encompasses spiritual development, relationship dynamics, health-related issues, coping with illness and death, as well as the challenges faced by Highly Sensitive Persons.
Learn more about her in this MysticMag interview.
Can you explain the fundamental principles and goals of Kundalini Yoga and how it differs from other forms of yoga?
Fundamental principles of Kundalini Yoga:
This is an ancient practice from which hatha yoga evolved. It was previously kept secret and held privately in the upper castes of India. Now we are in the Aquarian Age, where “secret societies” are no longer appropriate. The techniques to be healthy and happy are available to all. “Kundalini” can be a scary word for some, associated with a serpent. The word Kundalini actually translates as “the coil in the hair of the beloved”. This is simply your own creative potential, mostly lying dormant near the base of the spine. Kundalini yoga uses specific groups of poses, pranayama, mudras, and mantras to gently awaken your own potential. Nothing to be afraid of! Sometimes people (who are not practicing Kundalini yoga) have “spontaneous Kundalini awakenings” that can be uncomfortable. The discomfort is caused by an imbalance of prana, or sometimes one solar center being open and the other closed. Kundalini yoga has a special meditation to correct these imbalances. While practicing Kundalini yoga as it is taught by a seasoned teacher, you can access your own potential in a very gentle and delightful way.
One of the differences between Kundalini practice and other yogic practices is the concept of “kriya.” The word kriya simply means “completed action.” So, unlike hatha practices which can be done very intuitively, in terms of what postures follow others, the duration, combination, etc., a kriya is like a recipe. We don’t add, take away, change the order, etc., of the aspects of the kriya, so we end up with the result we want. There are thousands of Kriyas and meditations, all with different desired outcomes, such as improved digestion, releasing inner anger, enhancing intuition, etc.
What are the potential physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of practicing Kundalini Yoga and Meditation?
Because Kundalini yoga is a very holistic practice, it is not just exercise, and it’s not just meditation. We work with the physical body, the breath, mudras (hand positions), and mantra (sound technology), and this works every part of your being: Physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Every class includes lots of breathwork, meditation, and relaxation, along with the physical aspect of the practice. You may find yourself clearing out old emotional debris, becoming more physically strong, thinking more clearly, and connecting with your spirit in ways that are new to you.
Could you explain the core principles of transpersonal psychotherapy and how it incorporates spirituality into the therapeutic process?
When I trained as a therapist, I knew that including the spiritual aspects of each person is essential. I earned my Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University. Transpersonal therapy literally means “beyond the personal”. Many forms of traditional therapy focus on the mental and emotional parts of people only. In transpersonal therapy, I include what is happening with the person physically and spiritually as well. How is your physical health affecting your mind and emotions and vice versa? How do your spiritual beliefs inform how you experience your thoughts and emotions? These are important things to consider. For clients who are open to it, we will include yoga and/or meditation practice in our work together. Prayer and affirmations can also be very helpful. This is a therapy that can be “out of the box” in terms of people who want to explore their spiritual beliefs. I also trained and worked as a hospital chaplain and interfaith minister, and have been an ordained minister in the eastern philosophy of Sikhism. I offer spiritual direction to those who want to explore how they relate to their own concept of spirituality. Some of my specialties as a therapist include illness, death, and grief ( I worked as a palliative care chaplain), and the highly sensitive person.
How do you continue to develop your skills and understanding in transpersonal psychotherapy and spiritual direction to best serve your clients?
As a therapist, I firmly believe that it is my responsibility to continue growing. I continue to study, as a therapist, a yogi, and a human, and I offer everything I learn to my clients. In 2022, I completed a year-long intensive program that studied the mystical traditions of the world.
What are the key principles and practices of aromatherapy, and how do you select essential oils for specific therapeutic purposes?
Aromatherapy is another addition to my healing services. They may be used in an in-person session, or recommended during a virtual session. The olfactory sense can carry the chemical components of an essential oil directly into the bloodstream and brain. They don’t have to go through the digestive process, etc. This allows the oils to act quickly. I use and recommend only therapeutic-grade oils. I may recommend an oil based on my knowledge of its benefits, or sometimes I use kinesiology (muscle testing) to determine what a person needs at that moment.
What is crystal therapy, and how do you believe that crystals can have a healing impact on a person’s physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being?
I also sometimes use stones and crystals in my work. Like all life, stones and crystals hold certain resonances depending on their size, clarity, color, how and where they were formed in the earth, etc. They can be great allies in healing, whether worn on the body as jewelry or placed on the body in a healing session. The energy of a stone or crystal can help to balance a person, physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually. For instance, some stones, such as hematite, are very grounding, and others such as amethyst, can help open one up to higher spiritual frequencies. I also may use gem elixirs or flower remedies, which are taken internally.
The earth has so many resources for us to take part in, whether it’s the wisdom of the ancient yogis, the untapped wisdom inside each one of us, the energies of plants, flowers, stones, and of course the important aspect of simply listening to one another. My prayer as a healer is that we allow ourselves to access all of the abundant gifts we have been given, and I’m honored to do my part. I offer yoga, therapy, and spiritual direction virtually as well as in person.