by Savitree Kaur
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Not to step on the Summer buzz, but it is a short one in Chicago. The cooling weather and winds of Fall, and the challenges of Winter come before we know it. As light gets shorter, we are slowly asked to turn inward and tap into our inner light, our inner Sun, and find our strength and sense of wellness from inside.
Easier to do when we have built up the reserves to do so. Else we feel tired, slave to seasonal affective disorder, and a challenged immune system. Aside from the picnics, outdoor runs and bike rides, summer is also a time when the farmers get busy. And squirrels squirrel away acorns. The more they cultivate and store away, the easier the winter months. Same with yoga.
Kundalini Yoga will deepen those reserves for you. They strengthen the nervous system, balance the glandular system, and they develop the mind and body in a way that better serves you. When the cold weather comes, it takes much less work to tap into the Sun energy that now radiates powerfully inside of us.
We challenge you to continue to practice regularly, even for just a couple of times a week. And what's amazing is that this intentional practice keeps everything else more mindful. Like eating. Summer can be a crazy time for that with the ice creams and barbecues. Enjoy what summer brings! And take advantage of the space that summer has to offer that prepares us for the next season.
For this reason, it is that much more important to use that class to do what yoga asks us to do: go inward and connect with our breath and our body.
Learn to love yourself.
Step one: understand that what you pay attention to is what you love. Pay full attention to yourself while you are on the mat. It can be difficult, yes, but as Yogi Bhajan said, fake it 'til you make it.
This means connect with your breath and body. Either the breath will follow mind and body (which is autonomic), or the mind and body will follow the breath (which requires attention). Develop the latter, making the breath full, expansive and complete.
Step two: understand that the instructor is there to show you the ideal (and sometimes his or her ideal) and that there is the real, which refers to your current capacities and limitations.
Your real is what you want to pay attention to with loving kindness. These limitations can be physical or mental, and they can change from day to day. The goal is not to perfectly mimic the instructor or the student next to you but to pay attention to your own real.
Challenge yourself towards the ideal, where you will find yourself slightly outside your comfort zone. At the same time, honor yourself to know how far beyond that point you can go. Overwhelm invites injury. Often, this line between challenge and honor can be invisible to the instructor and can take you too far if you let her.
Step three: be totally okay with where you are today. Move at the pace that is right for your body. Only you will truly know what that pace is. The instructor is there to challenge and encourage you to go further. This does not mean she knows your story.
Step four: know that yoga is a continuous practice in delving deeper. Continue to find that evolving line between challenging yourself and honoring where you are. Cultivate self-awareness through the breath, and in time, it will become stronger and more instinctual, and the communication lines between the body, mind and spirit more spontaneous and aligned.
In the end, while the instructor serves to guide and inspire, it is up to you to gain ready access to your inner teacher.
May the Pure Light within you guide your way on. Sat Nam.
You can only give what you have inside of you. And, it’s how you can be with others without risk of getting lost.
Date Yourself First
Looking for someone to make you whole? That’s quite a responsibility to put on someone else. Can you imagine if you were encumbered with that same task?
Imagine two whole individuals coming together. No more co-dependence.
What would that sort of interdependent play look like?
Date yourself first. See how you can make yourself happy. If you can’t do that, how could you expect others to make you happy?
Find a way.
And when you finally do, expectations melt as healthy boundaries emerge. Attachments soften as commitments strengthen. And you begin to see the light in others— one that is constant. Because you’ve seen the light in you.
Below is a fantastic mantra meditation to chant to: Beautiful Am I by Aykanna.
Beautiful Am I, Bountiful Am I, Blissful Am I.... Wahe Guru!
Kundalini Yoga Quotes:
“I’d never felt anything like it; it was just an opening of energy and a feeling of such liberation.” -Marika Bethel, owner, Glowing House
“Within the first ten minutes, I thought, ‘[kundalini yoga] is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,’” -Gabrielle Bernstein
"Kundalini Yoga is the crack cocaine of yoga; if Hatha is a mild weed high, Iyengar is a deep hash glow and Ashtanga is amphetamine, Kundalini Yoga blows the fucking doors off." -Russell Brand