I don’t practice Kundalini Yoga much anymore. I did it in college a bit, one of the few yoga centers in Eugene was a Kundalini Yoga center, complete with a Guru Granth Sahib. I thought Yogi Bhajan was amazing, and got to hear him speak in 2000, when I spent the week at Casa De Guru Ram Das. They kicked me out, eventually, which is a small point of pride, but I wish that I had done something more exciting to deserve it. That is another story. As my practice evolved, I gravitated towards vinyasa, and then yin. Kundalini fell by the wayside. My studies in ayurveda led me to the conclusion that I would be best served by grounding and calming practices, instead of kriyas that sought to force energy up my spine through any means necessary.
I got an email from the wellness center down the way the other day, saying that there was a Kundalini Yoga teacher visiting from mexico, that she was offering a class, and it was ten bucks. I didn’t have any other plans for saturday afternoon, and decided to walk over and participate. I walked over as mindfully as I could. I have been reading The Miracle of Mindfulness By Thich Nhat Hanh, and have been redoubling my efforts to keep my mind in present time awareness. Its been a while since I’ve read any TNH, and I forgot how much I liked him. I might even ask my meditation and/or yin yoga students to give the book a try. So, I was walking, aware that i was walking. Then I was sitting in class with everyone else, aware that I was sitting in class with everyone else. I was ready to put my body in shapes, and be aware that my body was in those shapes.
Practice began, and I was enjoying well enough. Ong Namo, Guru Dev Namo. It had been years since I chanted that. Rolling my hips open, Breath of Fire, many long minutes of leg lifts. Then I got grumpy. A voice in my head, one that is often convincing, told me, “I hate this. I hate this. I hate kundalini yoga.” I was aware that there was a voice in my head that was hateful. I was about to agree, to defer to the opinion of this voice. But then, another voice countered, “So what?” Yeah. So what? My body felt good, and my breath was flowing, and the hatred seemed pretty unsubstantiated. I went on back to practicing, the So What mantra spinning round the stupa of my mind. Inhale So, exhale What.
The voice came back, it sounded younger this time, brattier, “I hate Kundalini Yoga!”
“Why do you hate it?”
“It’s Hard!” The voice whined, if it had feet, it would have stomped its feet.
All I could do was offer a little internal shrug, explain that the yoga practice was going to continue, and that the voice was certainly welcome to vacate the premises should it so desire.
So, that’s pretty much it. My back got a little tight after that, which also tempted me to slack off, but I decided that it was a pranic thing, and that by being mindful of the way that the energy wanted to move through my body, and practicing in a way that would support it would be the best thing to do. I think it worked. Class ended, and I was aware of it ending.
So, class was good. I liked it. I doubt I’m going to go full turban or anything, but I think I’ll work it into my regimen a little more often.
I know that its standard mindfulness jargon to discuss how we are not our thoughts. Its not uncommon for meditators to have a thought that they identify with, and then through practice have the insight that the thought is not them, and certainly not aligned with their highest aspirations. Its not even new for me. But, Its a good thing to remember, especially because thoughts can also come wrapped up nice and tight with a collection of unpleasant emotions. Thought have one way of convincing us, and emotions, another. Just like the book title suggests, getting enough space to see them for what they are is nothing short of a miracle.
The brat was endearing, in its way, and it certainly felt good to relate to him with a bemused attitude and a firm hand. Brats need discipline. And I’m super fond of my new mantra, “So What?” I think I’m going to get a lot of milage out of that one. Today wasn’t the first day that I was confronted by a bratty voice shouting opinions that are both urgent and irrelevant, and I can’t imagine it will be the last. I’m glad I’ve got a response, and I am aware that I am glad.

Pin It on Pinterest