I sit, legs crossed, in a Kundalini yoga class. A dear friend recently started teaching this type of spiritual yoga, and I am there to support her. As the class begins, I try to ignore the discomfort in my solar plexus. It is a knot of fear right in the center of my gut.
The knot moved in at the end of my decade-long marriage. For good reason: I had a four-year-old, a two year-old and a one-year-old. I felt paralyzed in all areas of my life and was terrified to say the least. On this particular night, I am dreading a phone called that is scheduled for after the class with my (newly) ex-husband. This is a conversation I don't want to have, am scared to have, and would rather never have. In fact, I don't think I can have it. I was silenced so many times before. Just the thought of making this call makes me feel scared and hopeless. I've become accustomed to these feelings as well as the knot in my stomach.
The class begins with breath work. Breathe in one nostril, out the other, for three minutes. As I begin breathing, I decide to go beyond just being there for my friend. I make a choice to try my best to be present for the class, not to worry about the phone call, and to commit to this practice for 90 minutes.
Kundalini yoga, which emphasizes the connection between body, mind and spirit, includes a kriya in each class. A kriya is a set of exercises designed to yield a particular effect. I like to call it a prescription. Tonight's kriya, the teacher announces, will be for releasing fear. The universe knows exactly what I need? The teacher knows exactly what I need? I smile and revisit the choice I made during the breath work: to commit myself to this time and this lesson. As the class progresses, I sink deeper and deeper into my decision. I meet up with a lightness that I had not encountered in a long time. My soul calls out: Yes! Yes! You've found it. We are home. I believe then that I have discovered something special and sacred. I feel connected, connected to Source and my Highest Self.
Before this class, I stood exposed, lost and at a crossroads. I could either choose one path that consisted of lots of shame, guilt, fear, alcohol abuse, binge eating, weak boundaries, negative relationships. You know the story. Or, I could choose a different one. I just wasn't clear what this "different" path looked like, or how to walk it. While I was still standing there, debating with myself, the "different" path chose me. This is the path that includes a commitment to Kundalini yoga.
After class, I drive to a greenway nearby and find a bench. I take a few deep breaths, then call my ex. Our conversation isn't necessarily any different than it has been in the past. And yet, everything seems different. I am grounded, calm, empowered, non-reactive. I am able to separate my "stuff" from his. This is new. This is HUGE!
When our conversation ends, I hang up and cry. I cry tears of deep, deep gratitude. I feel my solar plexus unwind, and for the first time in years, I feel safe, empowered, supported, hopeful and free from being manipulated. This moment changes my life. I know I am on the right path. Something clicks. I now have tools to deal with anything and everything that comes my way. This is the power and the strength of Kundalini yoga.
Since that night, I have continued to build my relationship with Kundalini yoga. It is now my constant friend. It disconnects me from fear and ego; it connects me with my Self. It has been described as weird, different, "out there." So be it. That's partly what drew me to it. For me, Kundalini yoga is uplifting, a natural high, elevating, and oh-so life-changing. During the first class, I was introduced to an ancient set of tools, tools that continue to help me change my life. I am grateful that the breathing, poses, meditations and mantra remind me over and over that God consciousness is what I am already, it is not something I am seeking. This technology gives me personal meaning. Even better, it is durable, reliable and always there.
Kundalini yoga reminds me that I have choices. Its teachings provide with me limitless tools to help me make good choices -- the kind of choices that ground me firmly to Mother Earth and connect me to the Infinite. What could a single mother of three possibly be more grateful for?