As you know I'm very passionate about mental health and yoga has become a large part of my self care routine. I began to delve much deeper into the topic this year in particular. In January, I embarked on a six month Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training course. I intended on blogging my entire experience but life got in the way towards the end. So, I'm sure you were all on the edge of your seat wondering how it all went!
In this post I want to summarize my experience and also talk a little bit about the basic reasons why I practice this type of yoga.
My teacher training experience was the most intense, challenging, and wonderful thing I've ever had the opportunity of taking part in. They say that if you don't want to change, don't do this yoga. And you know me, I'm constantly wanting to improve myself, inside and out. The trainings consisted of a four day weekend each month of learning about Kundalini yoga, practising, meditating, sharing, and connecting with the group. I was with 13 ladies and we now feel more like sisters. I got to know them on such a deep level. I couldn't tell you exactly where they work or how many siblings or kids they have, or what school they went to or where they're from. But I could tell you about their soul, their true essence. I could accurately describe their personality and tell you the most beautiful thing about their spirit.
And we all just thought that was SO COOL. It would normally take years for me to know these ladies as well as I do. It makes me wonder though, how much of the time are we really talking about anything that matters?
My last two training weekends were back to back (May and June). We had to practice teaching a class, do our exams, and learned about death according to the yogic tradition. Which actually made me less scared of death and view it differently.
The June weekend was our graduation weekend. It was so bittersweet but I knew that I would be connected to the group and the practice for long after my training. What was most incredible in our last sharing circle was to hear everyone's thoughts come full circle. We reflected on if anything had changed, how we had changed, and everyone was glowing.
I felt so proud of the ladies and myself for completing such a feat. To be so daring as to want to fix ourselves and become better people not just for ourselves but for everyone around us, was not easy. To face our fears and go inside ourselves to actually work on becoming who we were put on this earth to be – it's incredible.
At the start of the course, I didn't think I would actually want to teach Kundalini Yoga, mostly for fear of failure on my part. But by the end, I felt so compelled to teach. Simply because I want more people to feel what I feel. To feel connected to themselves and their truth. They say teachers aren't here to tell you the truth but to remind you of yours. We all have so much capability to do amazing things but we forget and we lose confidence and hope. This practice helps me remember my strength and the power within me.
Being a Virgo (despite sometimes denying it), I have to also share the straight up practical reasons why I practice. Three years ago when I was having panic attacks and suicidal thoughts, I felt like I had tried everything to feel better (or to get
some any relief). I was blessed to have a Kundalini Yoga teacher in my life (hi Christine!) who encouraged me to come to class long before the anxiety began. I didn't really listen until I was desperate to try anything. I started going to her class once a week and slowly started to feel better. I felt worse before things got better, though. Class was really hard for me and I would often feel tired and have headaches after class, but I felt my mind start to heal. And over time, the physical side effects wore off and my anxiety subsided. I haven't had a suicidal thought in almost two years and haven't had a panic attack in a long long time. I actually I feel better than I've ever felt.
It takes work though. I practice a little bit every morning and still go to Christine's class every week (SUNDAY RITUAL). This yoga isn't easy and it isn't for pansies. It's for impatient people like me who like practical solutions to navigating this world. Stress exists and it always will. Shit will happen that will make you question humanity. People can be awful. But this yoga helps me see the good, feel alive, and feel connected to what truly matters. I am less yelly, as quoted by my sister. I feel like I have more patience and tolerance. I am in control of my anxiety because I am in control of my breath. I cherish moments more and I feel connected to my body. All of my relationships have improved (with my mom, sister, friends). And friends and family have told me that I'm waaaay better and I look radiant. Which is all too kind and pretty awesome, amiright???
It has been said: Kundalini Yoga produces results 16 times faster than ordinary yoga and is the original and most powerful of the twenty two schools of yoga, all of which are beneficial. The Yoga Sutras say that what you can achieve in 12 years of Hatha Yoga, plus 6 years of Raj Yoga, plus 3 years of Mantra Yoga, plus 1 year of Laya Yoga can be accomplished in a single year of perfectly practiced Kundalini Yoga. It is therefore known as the fastest form of Yoga practice and personal development. (source) If you want to learn more about Kundalini Yoga, read this.
And now for some exciting news.
Starting tomorrow, I will be teaching a Kundalini Yoga class every Friday from 7:30-8:30 pm at Shunnya Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. If you live in the area, I hope to see you there! And for those who have enjoyed my Wellness Warriors collaboration, I am hoping to whip up a new video soon.