I hate Yoga. It’s a fact.
But as we’ve heard previously I’m also a yes man. So when a girlfriend asked me to go to Kundalini Yoga with her, I said yes. I also had the reading and Lynette in my head saying I have to do Yoga, I have to give it another go, it’s meant to be part of my life.
We had both never tried Kundalini and neither of us had an idea of what to expect, though I was expecting to hate yet another version of it.
But I didn’t hate it. I liked it.
Kundalini is not your typical sun salute Yoga. It’s strange and has all the bits I usually hate about Yoga. Breathing, chanting, resting, spiritual guff. This one even had a gong bath*.
I used to say ‘why can’t there be a yoga that is just about a good old stretch?’ I had fleeting visions of creating my own type of Yoga – Woodward Yoga, A Good Ol Stretch (for runners, not yogis). Bikram created his own version, so why not?
The teacher was all in white, white muslin was draped from the walls, there were no mirrors and the lights were low. This was not a typical gym type yoga taught by a Bondi socialite. I was intrigued.
Kundalini has a long and interesting history, which I won’t go into here because there is a whole bunch of stuff out there on it – here are couple of links, if you’re interested.
There are some very strange movements in Kundalini and it’s all done with your eyes closed and intense breathing.
The breathing is fast and called the Breath of Fire. It’s simple to remember where you inhale and where you exhale. Despite being simple to remember how and when to do it, doesn’t mean it’s a simple task – it requires focus, which keeps you present. At the end of each activity, you’re also required to hold in your breath to a point longer than is comfortable. The release feels amazing.
Throughout, I felt spacey, high and perhaps strangely, to the left of my body – quite possibly from bouncing between too much oxygen and a lack of it. The resting parts were actually needed to rest and meditation was very easily slipped into – and mostly unintentionally.
I felt comfortable doing the chants where in other yogas I feel ridiculous. They had a purpose. They were to expel air at a more powerful rate or to regulate the flow of your breath. They weren’t to thank or acknowledge something or someone nobody believed in for the sake of the session. I’ve been in too many yoga classes in gyms where the spirituality bits feel false, forced and insincere. I’ve left those classes not feeling buoyant but unsettled.
In Kundalini, spirituality is everywhere except out of the mouth of the teacher. The teachers are frank, down to earth and surprisingly witty. They don’t need to expound spirituality because they are spiritual and one assumes you are, you’re there after all.
They’re not dressed in this season’s LuLuLemon outfits or sit on $300 organic, biodegradable, non-slip mats or sucking on straws from oversized Boost Juice cups. They’re in baggy white clothes with a strange white headdress sitting cross-legged in front of you on a shaggy fur mat.
There are no mirrors, there is no adjusting your postures, there is no wrong, no right and no ego. This is your 90minute experience, the teacher is just the guide.
It’s amazing to feel a room with no ego. It’s a room of love and acceptance.
Does Kundalini work? As I write this, I’m sitting awkwardly on a chair overlooking a beautiful lagoon delaying getting up to go to the bathroom. Why? Because I did a DVD session yesterday and I am hurting terribly today. I do love a good hurt, it helps me to know I absolutely did not waste 90 minutes yesterday doing that session.
It may look crazy and as my girlfriend stated – ‘a little Charles Manson cult’, but there is something special about it. And that feeling of a room with no ego was even translated through the DVD – I kept my eyes open for most of it because I wanted to be a part of the 300 strong participants. It would have been amazing to be actually be there.
And if you’re into it, you could be at the next one. This DVD was filmed at the Sat Nam Fest which is about to be held agin in Mexico and America, early 2014.
Kundalini feels holy. I feel like I’m honouring myself when I do it.
Big fan. Maybe Lynette was right about Yoga?
*The gong bath? At the end of the session, in deep relaxation/meditation, the teacher wanders around the room and beats a gong over you. Yes, it’s loud but the vibrations move down through every part of you and up through every part of you. The floor vibrates underneath you giving you a feeling of levitating and the wheat bag over your eyes vibrates giving you a sense of liberating your sight.