26.5.19

I ADMIT IT, THE YOGA
I PRACTICE AND TEACH
IS SUPER WEIRD




From the second my new colleague (who would soon be the person who introduced me to Kundalini Yoga) stepped into her new office — which was beside mine, circa '2013 — with her jars, essential oils, beads, and soft light lamps, I knew something different had swooped into my world. And it never left. 




Her name is Christine and she is the reason I tried Kundalini Yoga and became a teacher. It's funny to think of a time not long ago when yoga was considered weird. It was only for hippies, spiritual gurus, or Californians. Today, it's commonplace to hear about good 'vibes', put crystals around your room, talk about spirituality or order a turmeric latte on the way to work. 




Weirdness is a sliding scale. Everyone seems to have their own custom weirdness scale that dictates what they'll tolerate wearing, doing, listening to, and even what kind of coffee they order. I think my weirdness scale has always been a bit wider than the average one. Nothing truly shocks me and I'm actually attracted to things that are different. This is exactly how I felt during my first ever Kundalini Yoga class.




Yoga has become not only accepted in the West but has cemented itself in the health and wellness smorgasbord of endless activities we should be doing to stay healthy. But even within the widely accepted world of yoga, lies a black sheep. She's called Kundalini


I've talked about this yoga a lot but if you're new here, Kundalini Yoga is the type I practice and teach, and the single most important tool I use to stay happy, healthy, and quite frankly, sane
I'll put it like this. If Jane Fonda uses yoga to stay young, Russell Brand uses Kundalini Yoga to stay sober. This is not to say you need to have addiction issues to benefit from practicing this yoga, but it gives credit to how transformational it is. 



My friends can all tell when I haven't been doing my daily meditation. I certainly feel a difference. And when I'm feeling low, anxious, or overwhelmed, meditation is the first thing I turn to. I've experimented for years with ways of keeping a daily meditation habit and I finally found that doing it first thing in the morning is best. That way it's simple and easy but also forces me to prioritize it above other important morning rituals like filling in my brows or picking which shoes to wear. I'd honestly rather be eyebrow-less than have a stuffy mind. Meditation is like cleansing my mind of all the built up and swirling thoughts of the day before. It's like a mind-shower. 



 

It took me a while to get comfortable with Kundalini Yoga. The weird mantras, the turban, everyone wearing white. I understand why all these elements work and why they make the practice so powerful. I believe in the strong lineage of teachings and it's a practice that's only made my life better. Yet, I am still scared to let my flatmates hear me meditating. I keep my opening mantra super quiet. I avoid loud breathing exercises. I avoid doing meditations with a lot of mantras. I take off my turban before I come home after teaching a class. Thursdays at 8 pm at Joy Yoga in East London, y'all! 


It's not them, it's me. My flatmates are the least judgemental people and are fully supportive of my practice. And yet, I still can't just do it. Maybe I haven't fully accepted the weirder aspects that come along with this type of yoga and it's blocking my ability to be inhibited about practicing properly. 




It also flows into my work life. Sometimes, I'd love to step away and do a meditation in my office space. I also would love to run a weekly class and teach the people I work with as I think it might really help some of them. I'm scared of opening myself up to judgment. Maybe I'm not giving my flatmates and workmates enough credit. I'm the one being judgmental.




For this photoshoot, I felt like I got a little closer to this uninhibited self I idolize. I wanted to do the shoot in the place I feel farthest away from the yogi in me. The calm, happy, and loving side of me supersedes the angry, irritated and impatient me that I become the second I land at the Oxford Circus x Regent St. crossway. And yet, dressed in my yogi garb, seated in the same meditative pose I perform in my room each morning, I felt free. There were hundreds of people walking the streets and driving in their cars. I remember taking a deep breathe, closing my eyes, and repeating a mantra — one that anyone can understand: 


"This is me and I don't care what you think." 


PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEANNE DIXON

I've talked about how London is my greatest teacher and how I've never relied on my spiritual practice more than I do living here. Now I just need to embrace this part of me that I so deeply believe in and let her shine, shamelessly. 

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