Born in 1929 in what is now Pakistan, Harbhajan Singh Puri began studying yoga at the age of eight and was proclaimed a master of Kundalini Yoga at 16. After earning a degree in economics, working for some years in the Indian civil service, marrying, and starting a family, he went to Canada in 1968 to teach yoga. A few months later, he moved to Los Angeles, where he began teaching Kundalini Yoga—which had previously been taught only secretly—in a student’s antique shop. The following year, Yogi Bhajan, as he became known, founded the nonprofit 3HO Foundation, which took its name from the three qualities he urged his followers to cultivate: “It is your birthright to be healthy, happy, and holy,” he told them.
He eventually established Sikh Dharma, a religious organization, and moved his base to New Mexico. In time, he became an influential figure in modern yoga, attracting a large and devoted following; today there are more than 4,000 KundaliniYoga teachers at 300 centers in 35 countries. Over the years, he launched a successful drug-rehab program and championed women’s issues, human rights, and alternative medicine. By the time of his death last October, he had written more than 30 books, participated in numerous interfaith forums, and met with presidents, popes, and other world leaders. And, for those who’ve wondered, he was the yogi behind Yogi Tea. For more information, visit www.sikhnet.com.