8.22.2011

The Express Kundalini

I am so glad to be back in the swing of things again.  Saturday, I taught my first class in almost two weeks, and yesterday, I managed my first Ashtanga practice since the biopsy.  Because of the placement of the incisions and the consequent swelling, I have not been able to do any deep forward bends or backbends, so my practice has been an odd mix of side bends, wide-legged folds, and twists.  Yesterday, I finally felt ready to return to Ashtanga.

Primary felt just like home.  Mid-way through the standing sequence, I was happier than a hipster in an Apple store.  It might be a couple of weeks before I get my upper body strength back, but flexibility seems to have remained intact.  I managed all postures well with just a couple of modifications and floated through the vinyasas without crashing, but I really felt it in the shoulders after practice.  The only thing left out were the drop backs.  My right shoulder felt tweaked in Urdhva Dhanurasana, and while my body craves those dynamic backbends, I'd better not push it just yet.

After practice, I went downtown to teach a couple of classes.  It was so wonderful to see all those shining faces again and to feel the high-octane energy of that room.  After class, a couple of students were talking about the Kundalini classes we offer.  When I mentioned that I didn't know anything about it because I'd never done Kundalini, they heartily recommended that I give it a try.  And since the next class on the schedule was none other than Candle Kundalini, I did exactly that.

It was great!  No one could be more surprised than I at how much I enjoyed the Kundalini experience.  The class was a lovely mix of chanting, dynamic asana, and meditation.   While I was pleasantly surprised at the physical intensity of the practice, I particularly appreciated the opportunity to use my voice in a different way.  I don't often share this with people because there is a tendency to ask me to "sing something" on the spot, but since you, my darling readers, cannot do that, I'll share this with you:  I used to sing quite a lot -- took professional lessons for years, dabbled in musical theater and vocal performance, even went to school on a music scholarship for voice -- but for painful and complicated reasons, I don't often sing anymore.  For this reason, all the chanting and singing and unabashed OMing was very powerful and healing.  I felt again the strong vibrations of my own voice rattling my inner body and it felt very, very good.

It's definitely not a practice to replace the Ashtanga, but will I do it again?  You know, I think I just might.

4 comments:

  1. it's great to read that you're in such a good mood :-) woo-hoo to being back! and hope for you the last bit of healing goes smooth. I've never heard of kundalini yoga - kudos for trying something new ;-).

    I love the colours in the pic you've used, how did you find it?

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  2. Hell yeah, I did Kundalini-flavored hatha for a month when I started yoga, and then asked my teacher where I could find more and she said, "if you wanna sweat, there's an ashtanga class...."

    Yep I'll always be friendly to the Kundalini even though I haven't done any in years.

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  3. Congrats on feeling good on your way back to
    your asana practice...I appreciated you speaking about the voice aspect here. During my YTT it became painfully present how I had ignored my own voice--which I am continuing to work on, truly in my day to day life. Do you chant or Om in your classes or personal practice? It is very healing. Blessings!

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  4. Anne - I found the pic at a site called the British Library (www.bl.uk) with a google search for "Kundalini."

    Patrick - That's interesting. I never thought I'd like Kundalini, but I was really surprised at the intensity and the community of it.

    Not Emily - I do not chant in my practice or my classes. I think my aversion to it stems from my upbringing in protestant churches: the led prayers and call-and-response stuff really freaked me out because it never seemed as though people actually knew or cared what they were saying, just zombies mumbling words on a screen. So, no, I don't incorporate chanting, and I wouldn't unless I had the time to really discuss the translation and meaning with the class.

    I do let out an OM in my practice from time to time when I feel the urge bubbling up inside, but it's rare.

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