Kundalini comes in different shapes and sizes but most teachers stick to a basic game plan.
There’s a formula, a ritualistic order that the class can follow. It usually starts with what is known as ‘tuning in’. You repeat a mantra, the Golden Chain mantra, to set the space and connect you.
Then you perform a very specific series of movements designed to regulate, change and enhance your physical and subtle body. These series are known as Kriyas. Just as important as the physical aspect of Kundalini, is the Shavasana, or relaxation period, to set the changes that you have worked so hard to achieve. Last, but not at all least, is the meditation. A direct dial, from your soul to the universe. A plea, a song, an intention turned into action.
Well, as you can imagine, even a formula Kundalini class can be full of surprises and not very predictable. It’s not a spin class. Or it is a spin class. If you combined it with theater and prayer then threw in a dash of psychic hygiene. And then sometimes, the classes can take you out of your senses. You visit other parts of yourself that you only glimpsed in dreams or altered states.
I found a class like that in Paris recently.
I just stumbled upon it. It’s not advertised or on any list of the top ten yoga studios in the world. As a matter of fact, the space is dirt ugly. It’s in the basement of a community center in Belleville, or the Parisian equivalent of Chinatown. There are no windows, no benevolent Buddhas smiling at you, just some grubby mats and annoying lighting. But Pascal doesn’t follow the formula, he follows his calling. He’s a bit of a Captain Kirk urging us to explore strange new interior worlds, to seek out new life, to boldly go where we never dared before.
My first class started with his asking us to pick our favorite star. Right off the bat he challenged me to have a favorite star. I had never had a favorite star before & chose the North Star as it’s the only one I really recognize. We were then urged to imagine that star sending light directly to our crown chakra. The light penetrated the top of our head and worked it’s way through all seven chakras, bringing light and energy to each one and removing any tension or blockages as it made it’s way through us. He moved that star light through us with incredible conviction, I never doubted for a second that the North Star wasn’t directly feeding me it’s life force. After the ray had worked through all the chakras and energized the 1st chakra, the root chakra, we were asked to plant it deep into the ground so it could form roots and energize the earth. We were all in a state of complete suspension as if we had left and returned to ourselves.
Without opening our eyes, he then asked us to call out our names with a one word characterization of what we liked about ourselves. He obviously has a pretty good grasp on human nature because he added if we couldn’t find anything we liked about ourselves, to imagine looking at ourselves through the eyes of a friend or lover.
I found it amusing that all the women used words like benevolent, open minded, kind, altruistic, emphasizing their giving nature and all the men used words like charismatic, creative, intelligent, emphasizing their ego based attributes. But at any rate, Pascal had taken us on a voyage and then he landed us very firmly in that basement in Belleville. He had completely set the space & I was very excited to be taking this class together with my fellow voyagers.
All this happened before we had even uttered Ong Namo, the tuning in mantra that opens the class.