I’ve now completed seven full weekends of Kundalini Yoga Teacher training and sixteen of my twenty required yoga classes. I’m about halfway through my take-home essay exam, hoping to do one question a day to finish before the May 24 deadline. In addition, I still need to create two yoga course curricula. One is for beginners, and I think I’ll do a pregnancy yoga curriculum for the other. I got the Conscious Pregnancy Yoga Manual last week, so it should be really helpful!
Between teacher training weekends, on May 2, I was able to attend a gong workshop with Sevak Singh. In Kundalini Yoga, we use the gong quite a lot. It is said that the sound of the gong is like the sound of creation. The gong will always neutralize the mind and force it to a place a stillness. For this reason it is a very powerful tool for deep relaxation. During the workshop we were able to play five different symphonic gongs of varying sizes. And… now I want one. A big one. :-) Gong can kind of be an acquired taste. I wasn’t sure I liked it the first time I heard a gong, but now I love it. If you’ve never heard a gong played well, Don Conreaux has some good recordings. And Khushbir’s video is good too. Also, the gong sounds a lot like the planet Jupiter. Do you know what Jupiter means? Dyeu-peter=“god the father.” Interesting, no?
On Saturday at teacher training we had four students present their practicums. So that basically translated to four complete yoga classes in one day. Whew! It was kind of exhausting, but I love seeing my classmates teach. It’s a joy. We also talked about teaching specialized groups… corporate settings, pregnant women, children, teenagers, addiction recovery groups, elderly, etc. And we discussed some ethical considerations and the various Kundalini and yoga organizations: IKYTA, 3HO, KRI, Library of Teachings, Yoga Alliance, etc.
Sangeet Kaur was our teacher on Sunday. We talked about challenges in class (like what to do if someone comes to class drunk, etc.) and difficult questions students may ask us. We had a great discussion about how most people live from a place of fear, and how that fear manifests in different ways for different people… anger, doubt, shame, being reactive, etc. When someone confronts you, usually what they are really asking for is assurance and security that they are OK and safe. When we listen with neutrality, choose not to react, and let them know that their thoughts and questions are valuable, recognizing that fear is likely at the root of their concerns, we can diffuse a lot of difficult situations. Some notes from our discussion:
- They’re not afraid of you, they’re afraid of themselves.
- Love= acceptance, non-judgment, neutrality, listening.
- Help others find their own answers.
- Put them at ease.
- Teacher= a living library of experience.
- People want to be heard!
- Use “And” (no Buts)
- “And have you ever thought?”
- “And what do you think of this?”
- You are your own laboratory. Come and experience it for yourself.
- Experience is the oldest form of empirical learning/research.
- Ego= container
One of the possible “difficult questions” addressed in our text book and talked about last Saturday was this:
“I am a Christian and I feel that mantras like ‘God and me, me and God are one’ go against my beliefs. Do I have to do them?”
I had to chuckle when I saw that in the book. I’m a Christian, and that is one of my favorite mantras! It’s not great grammar, but it is an awesome mantra. As the class talked about this question on Sunday, I couldn’t not comment. I let my class know that I was happy to help them “translate” Kundalini Yoga terminology into terms that would be familiar to Christians. I told them that Christians want what everyone wants when they attend a yoga class… to feel included and like there is a place for them there. I shared my own love of mantra, assuring them that not all Christians will be opposed to the mantras. And I explained that I can find scriptures from the Bible to support most of the frequently-used Kundalini Yoga mantras. God and me, me and God are one? Absolutely. The mantra is practically straight out of the mouth of Jesus…
- “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (John 10:34).
- “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High” (Psalms 82:6).
- “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:22).
- “For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
- “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).
- “Ye are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:9).
- “For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:17).
Jesus Christ’s entire life, death, and resurrection were about At-One-Ment… becoming one with God and enabling us to do the same. So… yeah. One of my favorite mantras. And here’s one of my favorite paintings… which looks suspiciously like Jesus teaching his disciples Kundalini Yoga. ;-)
Kundalini Yoga is not a religion, but it is spiritual. Yoga means “union,” specifically union with God. I like what our text book says: “People generally report a deepening of their spiritual experience in whatever tradition is their base as the mind clears, energy rises and emotions become more refined” (p. 301, Aquarian Teacher). Bring whatever spiritual roots you already possess and let Kundalini Yoga help you to dig deeper into that foundation of faith.
Just a few more weeks until our graduation from Level 1 Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training! And I’m already making plans for the following months. I will be spending a chunk of the summer visiting Utah, so I have three workshops in the works.
- June 17, 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in Springville, UT, “Kundalini Yoga and Meditation for Mental Health Challenges.”
Kundalini Yoga was an important part of my recovery from severe anxiety and depression. At this event I will share more information about how Kundalini Yoga can be helpful for mental health challenges, research and case studies supporting it, and specific meditations, breathing exercises, and kriyas for anxiety, depression, bipolar, PTSD, OCD, etc. Space is limited, so register early to save your spot! Cost is $30 or $50 for two tickets. Email me to register. RSVP here.
- July 11, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Sri Sri Rada Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, UT, “Of One Heart and One Mind [One-day Kundalini Yoga and Meditation Workshop].”
“We should be of one heart and of one mind, and not permit anything of a temporal or spiritual nature to separate us from the love of God and man.” -Wilford Woodruff
Join Lani Axman, Nam Joti Kaur, Andy Rasmussen, Janice Madsen, Michelle Larsen and other Mormon Kundalini Yoga instructors and students as we reach for unity of heart and mind. Come for half of the day or all of the day.
- July 18, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in Springville, UT, “Kundalini Yoga and Meditation for Pregnancy and Birth.”
Join Lani Axman, author of The Gift of Giving Life and Kundalini Yoga Instructor for this three-hour pregnancy yoga workshop! In this workshop we will discuss how Kundalini Yoga and Meditation can benefit pregnant mothers and their babies, simple Kundalini Yoga tools for birth workers to share with their clients for more peaceful birthing, and of course we will have hands-on experience with many of these exercises and meditations. Space is limited to 25, so register early to save your spot! Cost is $30 or $50 for two tickets. Send me an email to register. RSVP here.
- October 24, Mesa, AZ, “Kundalini Yoga and Meditation for Pregnancy and Birth.”
Stay tuned for details.