For a while now, I have been feeling like I needed to be grounded. Not, punished by your parents, or in my case your littler, big sister, but in a feel your feet in the soil, feel your soul tied to the Earth, feel your spirit pulling you towards a finish line kind of way. In a way that can be expressed as a that primal feeling of needing security, safety, stability, and love of self that I feel everyone needs at the core of your soul.
After I left roller derby, that feeling got stronger. The roller derby rink was the only place in the world that I could feel everything and nothing in the world all at one time. I felt empowered, strong, special, part of a team, while also feeling weak, unimportant, and all alone at the same time. I also didn't feel the outside stress, pain, chaos of the world when I was on the rink. I was mostly focused on surviving because it was so physically demanding, that my brain couldn't think of anything else while I was out there.
While at the time I thought that blocking out the stress and pain was cathartic, having all of those feelings that I never really dealt with come rushing back, is overwhelming. I feel the need to process at least 6 years of feelings that I put on hold while I was on the track.
The more and more I have thought about it, I have realized that the problem is that my past patterns are not working for me. I lived the first 30 years of my life on full-tilt, type A personality, expecting nothing less than perfection from everyone around me, being prepared for (or at least expecting) the next tragedy, being the voice of calm in family crisis after family crisis. While this served me for the first 30 years, it is no longer working for me. I have realized that I have no plan. No plan for my future. No plan for my children's future. No plan for what I want my life to look like. I have simply been existing and dealing with life as it comes with no real focus on what I want that life to look like.
Over the past year, I have been truly focusing on how to solve this lack of grounding in my life. I feel like you have to be truly grounded before you can begin to think about what your path, plan and life will become. I believe that we are all spiritual beings that require connection to something to feel powerful enough to make a difference in the world around us. For some people, this is a connection to Mother Earth, for some people is is a connection to a traditional trinity, while others feel a pull towards the Divine (God, Buddha, Allah, however that translates for you). Regardless of what you call it, anyone with this deep longing can tell you it is very powerful feeling. And I truly believe that it is needed for everyone.
Some people are capable of surviving without this spiritual connection, but I would argue that they are not their highest selves and are not in tune with what their soul was put here to be. While I would argue that others that do not have this grounding stability use alcohol, drugs, food, sex, shopping or any other "addiction" to fill this need. At different points in my life I have used one or more of these "addictions" to fill this void in my soul. I would further hypothesize that even OCD tendencies comes from a place where your soul does not feel stable in your body or on this Earth and therefore manifests itself as obsessive/compulsive tendencies in order to provide stability and security (rituals that give you a false sense of control).
On my quest to find this stability for myself throughout my life, I have explored many religions, ways of life, paths, etc. Over the past year, I have come back time and time again to Kundalini Yoga. For those that are unfamiliar, Kundalini yoga is called the "yoga of awareness." Kundalini yoga is said to be the original yoga that all other forms of yoga originated. Kundalini yoga is comprised of the physical poses (asana) many have come to expect and enjoy in Western yoga coupled with meditation needed to clear your mind and spiritual awareness needed to soothe our souls. Kundalini has hundreds of kyrias (pattern of specific asanas) used for varying and specific reasons. Kundalini is also the source of sitting with your hands on your knees, first finger and thumb together (gyan mudra) that many mock when thinking of meditation. This mudra (hand placement) is so ancient that it has infiltrated Western culture. Kundalini has been practiced longer than any organized religion including Christianity, Buddhism or Hinduism. This sacred Indian yoga was reserved for the most elite as it was felt that most people were not able to handle the powerful nature of it. That was until Yogi Bhajan brought this teaching to California in 1969.
Now that you have a little background on Kundalini, I'm going to share my own practice. I have read everything I can get my hands on about Kundalini and followed along with many a youtube video Kundalini class. I have come to understand and focus on the seven chakras in our body and how the opening and blocking of these energy centers affect our lives. I am in no way and expert and understand that I have still have much to learn and experience.
On Saturday, I attended my first, live, in person Kundalini yoga class at the Sat Tirath Ashrum in Kansas City. I was very intimidated and scared prior to going. After talking to Troy about all of it at length, many times, he encouraged me to go. He assured me that everyone would be welcoming and no one would judge me. It finally hit home when he related it to derby. He said, remember how excited you were to share derby with the newbies and teach them everything you knew?! That's how they will feel and you will experience that. He was right, like usual.
I felt at ease and welcomed upon arrival. People greeted me, smiled at me, and introduced themselves. It was an amazingly comforting experience. In the past, I have been the new person many times (church, derby, jobs, etc.), but I have never felt that at ease, lacking self-conscience feelings, welcomed and home, like I did there. Kundalini is something that, in the grand scheme of things, I know very little about. I might know more than a friend, but I know a microscopic portion of the guru sitting at the charge of the class and an even smaller amount of the vast amount of information there is to know.
I have come to realize that the direction my soul has been pulling me is once again exactly where I need to be. The kryia we practiced was called the nabhi kriya. This kriya is composed of serval asanas to open the third (navel) chakra. This is a lot of abdominal exercises, leg lifts, pressure on the abdomen, etc. I'm not saying that I experienced anything profound, spiritually enlightening, etc., but I did feel comfort and ease and I faced my fear and did it anyway and now I am being rewarded.
Today I tried a kriya for my root chakra. I enjoyed the practice of it. I'm not sure I feel any different than I did yesterday. I don't suddenly feel grounded, or have all the answers, but I do feel like I'm on to something and I am starting down the right path. Believe me, it wasn't pretty. My postures are not perfect. My breath is not perfect. My mind is not completely focused. It's messy both in appearance and in feeling. But, I did it and that's what matters. I can thank roller derby for this ability to go through the motions until I get it right. Prior to roller derby, if I wasn't perfect at something the very first time I tried it, I would give up. I wanted to be successful at roller derby so badly that I kept on...failing, trying, skating, pushing. Now, I feel that way about kundalini and I don't think it would be possible to continue down this path of unknown circumstances without my derby experience.
And for these reasons, today begins 40 days of Kundalini practice of the same kriya. Kundalini practitioners believe that 40 days of practicing the same kriya will break any negative habits that block you from the expansion possible through that kriya. Therefore, my hope is to break the bad habits of my life in such a way that I am ready to focus on my future. I'm ready to make a plan for my future. I'm ready to visualize how I want that future to look and make plans to make it happen. I don't know what the next 40 days will look like or what they will bring, but I am excited to begin the next step in this journey. Here goes nothing...