I need to talk about my yoga experience last night. It was quite unique to any other I’ve ever had and being that I was introducing a new style into my practice, I expected it to be. I’d done a little research on Kundalini yoga after I’d already signed up for the workshop. I needed something to get my foot back in the door of yoga after having not practiced for about two months. In reading the description for the class, I came across words like “chakra”, “emotional blockage”, “meditation”, and “igniting” which are all things I am desperately trying to work on. Then I started reading more about Kundalini and I realized I’d stumbled across a blessing in disguise. Lululemon offers a great description of Kundalini here.
Waking up on a Wednesday morning used to be particularly exciting for me. A few months ago, I’d found a teacher that I really liked at a studio in Rittenhouse. I wasn’t clear on my feelings of the studio as a whole, but I found one particular teacher’s classes challenging. She had a really good energy about her as well. So Wednesday mornings, I’d pack my mat and yoga clothes and after work I’d sit in the park, have tea, and then go to class. It was a routine I’d come to love, but as I dug deeper into my rut, my depression, it became harder for me to enjoy that experience. So I stopped.
Preparing for the Kundalini workshop yesterday brought back that anticipation. I spent the rest of my day mentally preparing myself for something new. After work was going to be a different commute, a new section of the city, a new studio, and a new practice.
The workshop began with the teacher giving an introduction to Kundalini. She went into it’s history, her history with the practice, what she’s gotten out of it, and what we should prepare ourselves to get out of it. She did an excellent job further explaining chakras and how the practice contributes to connecting and balancing within our bodies. Then we hit the mat.
My impression of Kundalini yoga is that it’s about releasing control. When you release control, you are free. When you are free, you can be authentic with yourself about your wants and needs in all aspects of your life. When you release that judgment of yourself and others, along with your expectations, you will be free. The entire practice was done with our eyes closed. With every movement we were told to trust our bodies, follow the flow, and let go. At one point I stopped to think of how ridiculous I probably looked wailing my arms around but I didn’t care. I felt amazing and really connected to my body. I couldn’t have stopped if I tried. I just kept telling myself to surrender. Follow my breathe and surrender.
I recall this one difficult moment during the class where I had to hold my arms over my head for a long period of time. I honestly can’t even recall the purpose now, only the pain. I fought so hard with myself. I was so damn uncomfortable and I just wanted the pain to stop. Sweat was pouring from the top of my head and stinging my eyes. I wanted to scream. I held it. I didn’t let go because I knew the end result would produce something powerful. When you really want something, you see it through. The Universe is going to test you and you’re going to have to prove you want it by welcoming situations and feelings that aren’t comfortable. If it’s worth it, you do whatever it takes. Last night, my experience was certainly worth it.