Featured Teacher: Harpinder Kaur Mann

Harpinder Kaur Mann yoga

Please share a warm welcome to Harpinder Mann who is a guest teacher in our Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher Training.

Tell us about yourself! What are some things that your students might not know?

My practice is rooted in my spiritual background of Sikhism and Buddhism and ancestral roots in Panjab, India. My name “Harpinder” means “God’s Home” and true to my name, it is now my life’s work to continue the practice of arriving home to my body with a sincere desire to share in sangha or community.
Over the last eight years, I have lived in Australia, New Orleans, Los Angeles, India and studied with some amazing teachers and deepened my own practice. Every year, I go back to India to study and practice myself. March 2022, I spent a month in Mysore and Kerala studying the Bhagavad Gita and practicing Ashtanga Yoga, and Hatha Yoga.
I am currently studying the Yoga Sutras and Samkhyan philosophy with my teacher Prasad Rangenkar. Since 2020, I have been a full time yoga teacher and the co-founder of the Womxn of Color Summit.

How did you become interested in yoga?

Yoga found me during a time of my life when I was struggling with anxiety (and imposter syndrome) but didn’t yet have the words to articulate it.
I was working in India as the Director of Marketing for a startup but the immense pressure from my egomaniacal boss and being separated from my support system who were still back in the states was slowly taking a toll on my mental health.
I had tried yoga previously in 2013 and 2014 at studios in Los Angeles while I was attending UCLA but it never sat right with me. It always felt more like a choreographed dance routine that the white yoga instructor had no interest in sharing with me. I was consistently the only person of color in the classes and eventually, I stopped going.
It wasn’t until I started going to the Ananda Sangha in Delhi in 2015 that I truly found a yoga community. Even writing this now, I feel tears coming in my eyes because this community forever changed the course of my life.
The teachers taught with such care and devotion and with a profound connection to Spirit that I sobbed on the taxi ride back to my hotel every single time. There I experienced kirtan, Kriya Yoga, meditation, and satsangs. The asana practice was gentle with a focus on healing affirmations and the celebration of life itself.
To this day, yoga is a way for me to experientially connect to spirit and to my higher self. My profound awakening and transformation only happened because I gave in to my loneliness, anxiety, and imposter syndrome. I had to first acknowledge the reality that I was living in was not fulfilling me. Then began the journey and I am still on it.
It is with great joy and gratitude that I get to share my love and reverence of this practice.

Tell us about your yoga journey. What style did you start in and with whom do you study now?

Over the last eight years, I have studied and practiced with many different teachers all over the world. It truly began with the Ananda Sangha Center in Delhi, India in the lineage of Paramahansa Yogananda and then I began working 1:1 with a teacher at the Ananda center in LA.
I have completed (3) 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreats in the lineage of S.N. Goenka and have spent time at a meditation retreat at Thich Nhat Hahn’s Deer Park Monastery in California. I studied over a year to receive my 350 hours Vinyasa Yoga and Anatomy Training from Stretch Yoga in Brisbane, Australia when I lived there. I received my 200 hours in Kundalini Yoga from Swaha Yoga in New Orleans. This was a 8-month long program. There was a strong emphasis on chanting, healing through mantra, mudras and sacred sound.
In 2019, I studied Prenatal Yoga (40 hour program) with one of my teachers Juliana Mitchell of Living Now Yoga and now I work with many pregnant folks of color 1:1. I consider this sacred work. I also trained to be a Birth Doula right after this to gain more knowledge on birthwork.
I am currently in a 300-hour advanced teacher training with Juliana Mitchell and we cover intensives on the spine, breath, pelvis, yin, and restorative yoga.
I also owe a lot to my parents and family for first putting me on the spiritual path through Sikhism. We went to the Sikh Gurdwara (temple) every Sunday and I started reading the Japji Sahib when I was 3. This has laid the framework for everything to come after.
Primarily now I work with my students 1:1 with Hatha and Vinyasa yoga, prenatal yoga, and it is important for me to have pranayama and meditation as a part of my classes.

Describe your teaching style. What can folks expect when they attend your class? 

Yoga gave me the freedom and power to be seen and live authentically and I want my students to access that same liberation and joy.
I specialize in sessions designed to meet folks’ wellness and spiritual needs. Yoga (for me) is first and foremost a spiritual practice and I want my students to connect to that divinity themselves. My classes focus on (Pranayama) breathing techniques, accessible postures for all body types (asana), meditation, and connecting back to source. My hope is that students leave feeling a little more grounded, connected, and loved.
I work mostly in 1:1 containers with folks of color to create brave spaces for them to explore connection to breath, body, and mind.

Any exciting projects or plans on the horizon?

Teaching yoga asana and meditation at Lightning in a Bottle this year! I am also currently working on the third summit for the Womxn of Color Summit.

That’s all for now! Visit Harpinder’s website and follow her on Instagram: @harpindermannyoga.

Practice with Harpinder