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Shakta Kaur, 58

This yogi’s aura is strong—and blindingly white.
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki
By Jake Malooley |

Van Buren Street at Michigan Avenue

All that white! White augments my aura 8 to 12 inches. It’s my protection. When your aura is healthy, it’s nine feet in all directions. Negative people and emotions and situations bounce off.

Name someone with a strong aura. Bill Clinton. He walks into a room, and before he has said a word, he has caused a change in the energy. If someone has a lot of charisma, they probably have a strong aura.

Where are you headed? My studio on Michigan. I teach a class called Kundalini Yoga in the Loop. Unlike classical hatha yoga, you don’t have to do anything perfectly.

So you don’t make your students bend their legs behind their heads? No! I can’t do that, either. Kundalini puts more emphasis on meditation, trying to change your consciousness. The endgame of yoga was originally not about postures. It was the mind. Yoga is the union between the finite self and the infinite self. The tool your soul was given is the mind to link to the infinite. Instead we use our minds for all sorts of ridiculousness. [Laughs]

What’s your mantra? “Sat nam.” It translates to “truth name.” When you inhale, think “truth”—don’t let your mind wander—and as you exhale, “name.”

Nice turban. I wear one all the time. It’s thick—about five yards of thin fabric. Not just a hat, the turban is for my protection and uplift. It is tight, and I’m giving myself a sort of pressure-point massage. It keeps my head together. [Laughs] When I let my hair out at night, I feel a bit like an airhead.

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