My Experience with Kundalini Yoga, Reiki & The Spirit

January 2, 2014

This past year has been a wonderful year of discovery. I’ve had the opportunity to dig even deeper in my yoga practice and open my eyes to what yoga truly means (to me).

At the end of last year, if you had asked me if I practiced yoga daily I would have said NO. I “only” went to the studio 2-3x a week after teaching 10-15 classes. If you would ask me the same question today (with a currently reduced teaching schedule) I would give a resounding YES!!

So — what changed?

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I dug deeper, I explored, I took a more spiritual approach to the practice, I played, I READ (a lot…), and I opened my mind to all new possibilities. I discovered KUNDALINI, and I remembered that yoga is so much more than postures!

I have been trying to articulate my feelings on this style of yoga since my first class in January, and after almost a year in the classroom I believe I have finally come to terms with my relationship to this new to me practice. I am in love!

The very first class I felt like I had been transported right back to my very first yoga class. I was curious and confused. I was energized and wanted to do everything full throttle with my eyes open. I realized quickly that eyes open was not an option and when my peers began to grab blankets I knew I was outside of my comfort zone. Most heated yoga studios don’t even own blankets, let alone have their students grab them at the beginning of class!

I have been in the beginner’s shoes many times and tried all styles of yoga and many other adventures before but something about this was different. Something about this practice brought me right back into the newness, the true curiosity and discovery. For me it was the love and confusion you feel when you’re pretty sure you’ve found THE ONE {but you don’t want to say it too soon}. For 8 weeks I would call my mother or my husband and say: “I think I like it, but I’m just not sure.” Yet I would drive faithfully back every Tuesday evening and follow along, craving the kriyas during the week while I taught power yoga.

Kundalini is entirely different than power yoga. In one sense, it is much calmer and easier. Yet in another sense it is one of the most difficult styles of yoga I have ever practiced. It includes vigorous postures (kriyas) that are held or repeated for minutes at a time. {Minutes don’t sound long until you’ve held downward dog for a solid five minutes, or a forearm plank for three with “breath of fire.”} It awakens energy and helps you begin to open your chakras. In doing so, sometimes you feel extremely awake after class, and other times you could go straight to bed – it all depends on the energy you brought to class prior to starting!

My own personal relationship started with Kundalini when I had a yearning for something different. Having gone back to the corporate world last winter and not being in the studio quite as often I was feeling behind in my practice spiritually. I was missing something. I couldn’t find the perfect church on Cape Cod (although I tried many times, and many churches). I couldn’t find the deep rooted love and energy I needed in my home studios and my spirit was so crushed from working in an environment that never suited my needs that I was craving something outside my comfort zone.

Stepping onto my mat in the tiny studio where I took my first class, I could feel my spirit begin to rebuild. I have amazing friends in the hot yoga world and teaching there is my comfort zone. I love teaching, kicking asana and bringing in the sutras. I love combining the Western and Eastern twists on yoga to create something unique. But while I was slowly slipping into the darkness last winter I needed ancient practices and sutras. I needed Sanskrit and gongs. I needed to learn and to feel. I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone and open my heart. Last winter my body was not meant to be worked on as I gained 15 pounds while I was in corporate and not frequently on my mat in the power studio. My spirit was the piece of my body that needed the most attention.

Alongside new styles of yoga, I began a regimented daily meditation practice. Meditation is one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga and it began to help me open my eyes to the deeper portions of our yoga practice. (It also was a nice kick in the butt — close enough to the Cup’o’Jo I no longer crave).

The 8 Limbs of Yoga were my tipping point in the yoga practice this year. As a teacher, I have always realized this WAS yoga, but I relied heavily on the asanas (the physical postures). As I began to dig deeprs into my second 500 hour yoga teacher training, I re-read the yoga sutras and the radiant sutras. I re-explored The Heart of Yoga: Developing a Personal Practice
, I took a private chakra training with Jaqui Bonwell and began to explore energy. I signed up for a reiki training course and decided I wanted to be both a physically AND energetically aligned teacher.

These are just a few of my explorations and adventures in 2013 — and I cannot WAIT to see what 2014 has lined up for me: new styles of yoga, crystal healings, reiki training, yoga retreats, new clients ready and waiting for chakra meditations and so much more!

As with all styles of yoga, this is MY take on the practice. My hope is that you will try a new style of yoga this week! Get outside of your comfort zone. Go see another teacher (even if I am your teacher – go on an adventure). Try something new and surprise yourself. Yoga is so much more than asanas, poses and kriyas. It is heart, soul, body and mind. It is beautiful energy and lots of love.

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In the comments below, tell me about a time you tried a new style of yoga. Have you ever veered from your normal path? What is your favorite style of yoga to practice?

Get out there – do yoga & make life SPARKLE!

Namaste

Jenny

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