Dear one and all,
Last night I went to my first kundalini (kun-da-LEE-ni) yoga class since returning home from Guatemala. For the first time in a month I felt like I had finally returned home; home to my mat, a familiar place of infinite gratitude and abundance; a space to cocoon, to let go, to be fully present. If you had asked me a few weeks ago about kundalini yoga I would have shrugged my shoulders and responded with a casual, “I’ve gone to a class, but it’s just not for me.” I was happy and felt at home doing vinyasa power flow classes. I needed the sweaty workout, the sense of physical accomplishment, and the quicker pace of class to match with the fast pace of my life; the endless soundtrack of life’s going and going.
That was until this soundtrack stopped,
when my sense of time subsided as I hopped off the boat on to the shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. I had arrived at the yoga sanctuary Villa Sumaya where time literally stood still. Some attribute it to the intense energy vortex of the lake, others say it’s the getting away from it all. Regardless of the reason, everyone that has been can attest to the powerful sense of timelessness. There were no clocks to dictate the day, no meetings to attend, no expectations of where I should be. The minutes and hours blended into moments and my sense of time, including even what day it was, subsided. I woke up with sun and a reading of Japji, a spiritual text from the Sikh tradition that honors our universal connection to One Higher Consciousness and I went to bed with moon and breath. The simplicity of kundalini yoga was bliss; simply just sitting, chanting, breathing, and being. I didn’t have to twist my body into what I felt I should look like. I didn’t feel the need to perform asanas on command to keep up with the class. I could simply close my eyes, lay in an extended shavasana, and let breath and vibration do all the work.
Yoga has always come into my life when I need her most, like how an old friend or a good book always seems to appear at just the right moment. Yoga first came into my life in 2009 just months after my brother passed away. I dove in head first with bikram yoga, craving the emotional release that comes with physical detox. I found stability in the 26 posture structure and comfort in the mantra “mind over matter.” My life at the time and bikram yoga seemed to mirror each other: the intense grief of loss and the intense heat of the studio both suffocated me, shortened my breath, and made me dizzy at times; the tears rolled down my cheeks muchlike the sweat dripped off my body, showing me for the first time the power of pain embodied. Just as quickly as I dove into bikram yoga I jumped out and have only returned a handful of times in the past three years. Since then, ashtanga and vinyasa flow have been my go-to classes, and now kundalini seems to be what I need most.
When I quiet my own mind-chatter and listen to my body, she speaks to me. She is usually quiet, always humble, and at times can be forceful. She exudes love and patience and demands truth and acceptance. Today, I bow to all the styles of yoga that have appeared when I have needed them most and I send gratitude to all the beautiful teachers that have guided me on the way.
As we always close a kundalini class with the ‘Long time Sun’ blessing, I will close this letter with the same blessing.
Shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light
Guide your way on
Guide your way on