I once worked with a macrobiotic chef whose clients were cancer patients. His main job was to alkalize their bodies, he said, for disease cannot live in an alkaline body. Still, he said that if his clients’ first meal from him was an alkalizing meal in its most ideal form for a cancer patient, most would probably spit it out on the first bite and show him the door. Not that his food was bad or lacked flavor, but a “toxic” tongue can experience a mild flavor like spinach as quite bitter.
To achieve some success with his clients, he drew from his French culinary training to meet their palates where they were and made slow adjustments appropriate to each client so that the experiential difference wasn’t so shocking and unpalatable.
One could say he was not following them because he wasn’t making more alkaline meals. One could say he’s catering to his clients at the expense of staying true to what he was taught, that he ought to hold the integrity of his training as macrobiotic chef and serve them what he was trained and hired to create-- the more ideal, alkaline meal.
I’m not sure how many clients he would have successfully served, but he would have been following rules.
The danger with the most enthusiastic of teachers and practitioners (of whatever discipline) is that, in their attempts to deliver “the right experience” to another human being, they sometimes lose sight of the other human being. The end result is a let down for both sides.
For Kundalini Yoga practitioners, kundalini yoga is the discipline. The “French culinary training” would be the life experience that is unique to each of us that brings to our yoga instruction the special ingredient that makes our own practice unique.* Each of us have it, and once we know what it is and can teach or practice from that place, the easier it becomes to fully own and radiate it. (*To be clear, it’s not the crap in our life that we bring to our yoga that makes us unique; it’s the crap we’ve worked through through our practice that is our magic.)
The ultimate goal of yoga is to find Love. Attention. Connection. Joy. Alignment. It is not to have followed the rules and done it right.
If a person is finding that connection at the very moment that another person might say, “you’re doing it wrong”...
...is it wrong?
Will we discount her experience because she didn't tune in?
Meet the practice where you are. Challenge yourself to move from there to somewhere slightly outside your comfort zone to increase capacity for more; you know best where that place is when you are being honest with yourself. Be careful not to take the teachings too literally. Teachings are guides- gifts from the heavens to give us infrastructure around which we may dance. Sometimes we need to color outside the lines. Sometimes we know to stay inside the lines because we know the lines are taking good care of us. Sometimes we need to turn the page over, visit the other side of the coin, and create something else from it. We can decide that this is “blasphemy”. Or we can celebrate the different points in each of our paths and trust in Grace.
The key components of getting the most out of yoga:
A totally different experience from following our reactionary minds that attempt to protect us from fear and lack (rather than harnessing it). When we stop over-protecting and open ourselves to this sort of sacred play, rules are guaranteed to be broken somewhere, and people will get mad, but you will not disappoint yourself.
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