Kundalini yoga and I met for the first time in September 2014.
This type of yoga is based on the philosophy that we exist with a primal energy that lays coiled at the base of our spine. The energy can be thought of as either a goddess or a serpent and remains dormant until awakened. It was a very different experience to me…spiritually and emotionally. My intention and focus fell completely away from the actual yoga poses themselves and I felt this heaviness peeling away from me each of the 6 mornings I did it. I felt renewed, clearer, solid and calm. The goddess had been invoked. Yep…she had woken up and was full speed ahead with new intentions, and plans and an unshakeable steadiness that made life seem completely straightforward.
The yoga sessions were a part of a larger certification I was taking to be qualified to teach meditation. At the end of my certification course, all of my experiences from the week amalgamated into one gigantic ball of creative and peaceful energy. I returned home afterwards feeling as though I had left 20 pounds of garbage on the beach in California. It was heavenly! I was light…I felt like a different Amanda. I remember saying to someone that I felt like I was a child again-where the constraints and weight of adult life had not touched my soul yet. It was one of the most beautiful feelings I have ever had.
And I latched onto it like grim death.
I gripped it so tightly believing that this was a new permanent feeling. I was clear now and would never become mired down in the gunk of life again. I would float through my days from now on. No more struggling. No more confusion. No more worry or hurt. There would be no way I would let this go.
And then about a month after I returned home, my youngest daughter (a toddler at the time) came close to dying from an undiagnosed metabolic issue. I found her unresponsive in her crib.
And then a few other things happened. Fairly serious…life changing relationship type things. Things that happen every day to a million different people.
I went from the Rock of Gibraltar to an angry little mess quite quickly. And I remained that way for a long time. At one point I even uttered the notion that I felt like the Universe let me finally have a taste of goodness and then just ripped it away from me again.
Fear is at the base of anger. I have come to discover that. Slowly. Over years of living.
There’s always a tipping point though. Some describe it as rock bottom, seeing the light, the turning point-many different names for the same concept. The resignation that you don’t want to do that mess anymore.
Mine came through yoga again. A year after my first encounter with Kundalini, I found myself on the beach, in another workshop with the same yoga teacher in a Kundalini session.
Only I was feeling the effects of a full year of piss-offed-ness by this point. Even before the session began I found myself stewing…
“Look at her sitting there in those flowy white clothes…so perfect. I bet her life is perfect. Sitting here on the beach trying to teach all of us to be vessels and open our hearts and all of that BS”
While that narrative played in my head on repeat, I also became increasingly irritated by every single person in the session with me. They were too close to my mat, their breathing was too loud and the chanting needed to stop.
That lasted until the annoyance inside me grew until I couldn’t even bear to stay in one spot on that beach.
I collected my mat and power walked up the stairs and headed straight to get a coffee and breakfast at a nearby cafe. I became angrier as I walked. I remember the feeling of being squeezed. Like I was suffocating.
In my fury crossing the street I ran into (almost literally) my meditation teacher who was facilitating the workshop. He laughed when he saw me.
“Why aren’t you at yoga?” he asked
“I can’t handle it. Not in the mood right now” was my curt reply.
And then he asked me what was wrong.
The dam broke.
The things that had brought me such connection and peace a year ago were intolerable experiences to me in this moment. I couldn’t sit still long enough to even try.
He said something I had heard before but wasn’t ready to hear until that moment.
In every moment we get to choose. Fear or love. What are you choosing Amanda?
Serpent or goddess.
Past or present.
I had not understood that the peaceful, beautiful experiences I have enjoyed in my life were just as fleeting as the confusing, painful times I have experienced. I was choosing to frantically hang on to the “good” ones thinking I had “found” it and now couldn’t let it go. I was pushing away every other moment of life that I didn’t deem acceptable.
The struggle was real. Oh man, it was real.
But I got it in that moment. And in that moment, some lightness seeped back in again. I realized that it will be forevermore a swing from beauty to pain, dark to light. Knowing to unknowing.
I simply try to be aware now when my knuckles are starting to hurt from squeezing too hard.
**my daughter is a happy healthy thriving being
**my life is still messy at times. So is yours. It will be like that forever
**I managed to complete a full Kundalini class again on the same beach a few weeks ago and did not throw anyone into a headlock on their mat because of my stress level. Below is proof that I am able to sit peacefully with others again 🙂