I met a woman at a party last summer through a mutual friend. She introduced herself as a yoga teacher. Full of enthusiasm, I told her that I started a teacher training to become a yoga teacher too. She asked me what kind of yoga I am going to teach. And I proudly said that I am becoming a Kundalini yoga teacher. She took another sip of her beer and said: “Oh? Okay. Kundalini? So you guys just breathe, right?” And I answered: “Yeah! You’re right. We Breathe!”
I have to thank her for that flippantly delivered commentary on the nature of kundalini yoga because unbeknownst to both of us she had planted a seed. What better way to describe the path of a yogi. She had planted a seed and WeBreathe has finally sprouted. So what can I tell you about us, Kundalini yogi’s? Yes WeBreathe. We Kundalini Yogi’s Breathe a lot! Like,you know, everyone else does. Don’t you breathe? We all do. Even if you are not yogi, you breathe. The only difference is – we breathe consciously. We train ourselves to be aware of every breath we inhale. Of every breath we hold…. & then exhale. We train ourselves to be aware even of the moments in between.
We try to incorporate this awareness in all other areas of our life. Cause when you become aware of your breath, you become aware of all the miracles of life. You become aware of your body. Of it’s strength and limitations. Of it’s ability to learn and to change. You become aware of your feelings. Of your impulsiveness. Of your actions and reactions. And you become aware of what a crazy game your brain plays on you. You become aware of your thoughts. How they shape your everyday life. How you are depending on them. How you mistake them for reality. How they control you. How they become you and shape your ego. You become aware how you identify with your thoughts. Or with someone else’s thoughts. How you have this deep need to identify with something or someone. And that this identification is not what and who you really are. So you start asking yourself: Who am I than truly? And this, this is the most interesting part.
After a while your yogic breath becomes a part of you. You realize – you master it. After you become a master of your own breath, you learn how to become a master of your body. With asana’s (postures) we learn how to control and train our body. We teach our body to heal itself. We give the body exercises which challenge it sometimes. Sometimes the challenge is very obvious. It’s very physical. You sweat and groan. But sometimes the challenge happens on a very subtle level. You don’t even notice it. While we train our body, we train our mind too.
Sometimes you realize it’s not the body that has difficulties doing things. It’s the mind that tells you that you can’t keep up. That something is too boring. Or too heavy. Or takes too long. Or that you are too weak. The mind tells you a lot of stories. The most important thing is – you shouldn’t be listening to it! So with the exercises we don’t only challenge our bodies but we also challenge our minds. The same we do with meditation. That’s sometimes the most difficult part of all. With time, mantra and focus will transform the brain. This part requires patience and commitment. Because our mind doesn’t like to be reshaped, controlled or quieted. Our mind is used to be busy and quirky. To create stories and to destroy them. That’s what the mind does. And that’s why it’s so wonderful. But sometimes it feels so right to quiet it down. To take control over it and to tell it to shut up. After some practice you will notice that it becomes more quiet. It starts to be more patient. But not only during your yoga class. If you train it long enough you can feel the difference on all levels. If you want to go to sleep and the mind is busy, you do your breathing and meditation, and you quiet it down. If you are going to give an important presentation and the mind tells you that you will suck at it, you go back to your breath and tell him to shut up. If you are angry with the whole entire world, you just go back to your practice, you go back to your breath and you are in peace with all. Soon you will be in control of your feelings and your habits. And you can consciously choose to be happy and healthy.
And the pièce de résistance of the whole practice is: you start to realize who or what you really are. During your practice you will find a moment of a deep connection with your own True Self (Sat Nam) and that is the most wonderful thing of all.