I’ve always been drawn to this mysterious practice – before I even knew what it was.
Maybe it was the intriguing hocus pocus about the kundalini serpent. Maybe it was the huge, green Kundalini Yoga building that stood mystically in Kloof Street, Gardens. Or maybe it was more – maybe this strange pull is essentially a calling…or maybe not. Either way, I have been led to it, and thus far, it has definitely changed my life.
These are the events that followed trying something new.
Yogi Bhajan, the spiritual teacher who brought Kundalini Yoga to the West, describes Kundalini:
“These are infinite teachings. Kundalini Yoga is for everybody. Kundalini Yoga can do its own public relations: give the person the experience and he will never forget it.”
So let’s aptly start with my experience with Kundalini leading up to my first studio class.
~ The story before the story ~
I’ve read a lot about yoga over the years, and some of the teachings would briefly mention Kundalini Yoga. Randomly, I started delving deeper into Kundalini by reading more about it, and then finally by practicing it, after seriously wanting to for a good few months.
It came at an important time in my life.
In the space of 2 years, one of my best friends suddenly passed away, my parents got divorced, and I had just decided to leave the corporate world, uncertain of what was next, but certain that life is just too short.
I developed a morning ritual of yoga and journaling – 2 things that I simply adored but had put off for too long. I incorporated a few kundalini kriyas*, such as the Sat Nam kriya (Sanskrit for ‘I am Truth’), Breath of Fire (a foundational breathing technique of Kundalini) and alternate nostril breathing, into this daily practice.
* Side note on Kriyas:
Kriyas involve physical yoga poses, breathing techniques and chanting of mantras. Each kriya is aimed at a specific outcome. Kriyas are said to unlock energy channels in the body, and enable subtle and direct changes in the body and mind. Kriyas are usually practiced daily for 40 days or longer, in order to form a habit and set the stage for an internal shift.
After a mere 2 weeks of practicing, I wrote a journal entry detailing the notable changes I was experiencing.
~ I found purpose (when I gave up looking) ~
Looking back now, I realise that I found a sense of purpose through practicing Kundalini everyday. Not your typical ‘life purpose’ but purposeful action – with no attachment to the outcome of the action. I didn’t even know it then, but I could feel it. Its energy was undeniable.
I immediately felt more energized on the daily, revitalised with new life force energy. Kundalini brought a new-found sense of being to my life, and I described it in my journal as “creative, intent, intuitive energy”.
Kundalini, and all other forms of yoga, is said to clear your emotional, mental, spiritual or physical blocks, and so setting an intention is important because you need to know where you want to direct this new energy. An intention could simply be, for example, for guidance through intuition.
To some extent, what I was feeling is the same sort of oomph that any new, consistent good habit brings – focus and drive. But at the same time, it was distinctly different. Radiance, creativity, intuition and a mighty zest for life.
Side note: This is why I love writing – it puts previously unexplainable feelings into words and brings major insight and clarity.
Through writing this article, what I’ve come to realise is that the most amazing thing about this flow of new energy, is that it was actually creating a self-fulfilling loop within and of itself.
In my journal, I wrote “I feel increased awareness of breath and an alignment of my spiritual and physical dimensions”.
What I was feeling was the alignment of my thoughts and desires with my actions, creating harmony. I naturally began to feel more at peace. Because I was more at ease with life, I was more aware throughout my day, constantly checking in with myself so that I knew what I needed, and would set the next day’s intention based on that.
And then the beautiful cycle restarts the very next day.
I’ve only met a handful of Kundalini practitioners but I feel like it has a profound, somewhat unexplainable effect on its practitioners. The people that I’ve met speak of it with this same excitement.
~ Here goes: An experience I will remember forever <3 ~
I had never experienced a kundalini class before. I was super excited when Alice, a friend I studied yoga with in India, said that she was going to try a Kundalini Yoga Class at Yoga Barn in Bali. The night before, I was so excited I couldn’t sleep. Thoughts raced through my mind like F1,
What will the class be like? – Will there be normal asanas (yoga poses)? – Would I be able to follow easily? – Will I enjoy it? – Will it be weird? –
The next morning, I strolled to Yoga Barn, a short 5 min walk from my homestay. Upon arrival, I met a woman named Maya, from the UK, and we headed off to find the class together. I immediately felt that it was no chance meeting. She happened to be a Kundalini teacher, teaching for a number of years, as well as a Kids Yoga Teacher, both areas I would absolutely love to pursue. We excitedly exchanged our path with yoga, and she beamed about my first kundalini class, saying I’m absolutely going to love it!
And, boy, was she right.
I walked into the spacious, wooden-floored studio (Yoga Barn <3), surprised at how full it was (Duh, YOGA BARN). I found a spot near the front, almost directly opposite the teacher, Greg Kaps. Long glass windows lined the walls of the studio, boasting lush Indonesian greenery outside.
The class was amazing. It was a beautiful blend of the different elements of yoga – asanas (poses), pranayama (breath work), kriyas and chanting of mantras. This powerful blend created a beautifully cleansing and super energizing class.
I enjoyed how we practiced with our eyes closed, mostly, and moved at our own pace, creating an inward focus.
We ended the class with a mantra, with us chanting “Wahe Guru” (an exclamation of wonder and admiration for the Divine Teacher) for what could have been 5 minutes. I’ve grown to absolutely love chanting, because of its heartwarming power, so this was just ecstasy for me. It was beautiful stuff, and the magic of Bhakti yoga (the yoga of devotion) reverberated off the walls of the room.
I left the class feeling energized, with a relaxed mind producing nothing but self-loving thoughts. I was aware of each step and grateful to be alive.
What I’ve learnt through this experience and my journey with Kundalini thus far is that it is so important to honour our feelings by trying new things.
Without trying that new thing that’s been on your mind forever, you’ll never know where that road may take you. Listen to the soft – and seemingly random and illogical! – whispers of your heart. Because it’s those nudges that ultimately shift you unto the path of the heart.
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river of joy within” – Rumi
Life is too short for regrets.
For more juicy info on Kundalini yoga:
- Shityouregosays.com – Sat Nam: The Secret History of Kundalini Yoga
- Yogapedia.com – Kriyas and Kundalini: What Beginners Need to Know About These Ancient Yoga Techniques
- 3ho.org – Kundalini Yoga
- 3ho.org – What is Kundalini Yoga