Let’s explore the practice of covering the head while chanting, which comes from the Sikh religion. My Kundalini yoga practice has helped me to reflect on the energetics of this practice. The following is my exploration of this practice after living my whole life as a Sikh and Kundalini yogi. The Sikhs view the hair as having a great amount of energy. The hair is not cut for this reason. It is wrapped up at the tenth gate (Dasam Dwaar) which is at the top of the head, to bring the energy of the hair to this very important region, where the human can connect with the Divine. It is within this region, where the tongue is tapping the roof of the mouth while we chant Shabad Guru, and that messages of well-being are sent to the glandular and nervous systems. It is within this region that the thousand petal lotus is encouraged to invert and the nectar, or Amrit, from the chanting experience rains down on the being. In my experience, the head covering acts as a subtle communication to the body system that what is happening in the skull region while chanting is sacred. It also supports the energy generated from the chanting to be self-nourishing. I like to think of it as a pot of herbal tea that is steeping, and the head covering acts like the pot lid that allows for a stronger infusion of Shabad Guru tea so to speak. As a family friend of ours named Bhai Sahib Jagjit Singh relayed that the only instruction Guru Nanak (the first Guru of the Sikhs) ever gave to Bhai Mardana his disciple, was to grow his hair long, wrap it up over the tenth gate, and cover it while chanting Gurbani Kirtan (sacred music of the Sikhs), so as to harness the spiritual energy generated from chanting the Shabad Guru. This is what gave them the energy and power to keep up as they walked all over India and beyond through dangerous terrain, forests, and mountains, teaching and sharing the Shabad Guru. The full Sikh and Kundalini yoga practice is to grow one’s hair long, wrap it at the top of the head, and cover the head while chanting. However, in our times, there are people of many different faiths who are chanting Shabad Guru, and it may not be in someone’s flow to keep the hair long. In this case one can cover the head. Furthermore, it may not be in someone’s flow to cover their head at all. Here at our school we welcome people of all traditions to chant with us and learn Kirtan no matter what their choice is on this matter. We believe the nectar of the Shabad Guru flows beautifully for all! I learned to cover my head whenever I chanted Kirtan from the Sikh tradition, as a sign of respect to the energy of Shabad Guru. If I am in the kitchen cooking, and I want to chant (which is often!), but don’t have a head covering, I’ll stop what I am doing and put one on. If I am in bed, and want to chant, I’ll put the covers over my head, and let my face out for air! Sometimes I’ve even just used my hand! Sometimes it’s kind of silly. I think at the end of the day, it is the intention to bring respect that really brings the respect, not the action itself. I’ve been putting my hair up, and my turban on my whole life. Honestly there are many mornings when I don’t think about it much. But, the mornings that I do think about it, and put in the positive intention and prayer, that my energy and my being may be a conduit of God’s Divine song, those are beautiful moments. Again, the intention is by far more important than the act of covering one’s head. For this reason we accept people of all faiths, and all choices, with or without head coverings into our school. We would like you to know that our position may not be understood in the larger Sikh community, where covering the head while chanting Kirtan is viewed as a sign of respect to the Shabad Guru. The Sikh practice is naturally very open to all walks of life, and there are many beautiful people who would probably have an open heart to this matter if given the opportunity to have a discussion about it. It’s just not something that is really discussed, as the Sikh way of life has not really been shared in this way, to my knowledge outside of the Sikh community itself. When you visit a Sikh Gurdwara (place of worship), you will be asked to cover your head upon entry. If you post publicly to platforms where people in the Sikh community would have a chance to view you, and you are chanting Shabad Guru without a head covering, this may be perceived as disrespectful. We choose to focus our energies on the healing nature of Shabad Guru, and provide it to people of all walks of life. We love all the sacred practices that have brought the experience of Shabad Guru to life for us, including the practice of covering one’s head while chanting. We wish to share these practices with you from our hearts. Yet, we are in a time of growth and change, as we present these practices to a larger community who are not practicing Sikhs, and we are seeing that not everyone wishes to participate in this practice of covering their head. From a place of deep reflection and meditation, we welcome everyone to be with us, study with us, and share with us. If you do choose to cover your head, I suggest using a cotton fabric for this purpose, as synthetic fabrics are not so good for the nervous system.