The space in between

I like to take my students through their breath before we tune in with Adi mantra, to the teacher before, with and within us.

We inhale trust, exhale fear. We inhale flow, exhale letting go of holding on. We exhale layers and layers of what does not serve us. We lengthen and lighten, root deeper and deeper.

The space in between, the yogis name it kumbhaka, is that precious pause between inhalation and exhalation.

It is the space of becoming. Everything that is yet to be. It is the space I inhabit at this very moment.

It is pregnant with possibilities, yet full of nothingness.

In the very present moment, I am witnessing the ebbing and flowing of my breath above my lips, observing the unfolding, and patterns and rhythms of months gone by.

The older I get, the more I value slow, conscious living. You know, pause, breathe deeply, and soften and ground. And taking time. Lots of time to connect to my inner stillness. As the months pass, the more I see the virtue in having the courage to leave behind safety and denial, to follow what lights me up, to love what I love.

This Super Full Moon in Libra and the beginning of an astrological year in Aries, both at zero degrees signifying a major reset, I ponder everything I let go off. I bow deeply to the many deaths that brought me to the fertile ground I am standing today. The seeds I have been planting are beginning to sprout.

The younger me thought being fiercely independent, resilient and strong willed was strength. As I am inching my way to 50, I realize strength is rooting more and more into myself, that I live deep and true, to the wind with certainties and niceties.

With this strength, I can begin again and again. I am alive. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Happy Super Full Moon and Spring Equinox!

Develop Your Hidden Greatness

 

Doing sadhana doesn’t make challenges disappear, it helps us to clarify, refine, and build the strength of the nervous system to welcome the challenges and see them as supportive aids in our health, happiness and prosperity. – Simrit Kaur

Day 90 of Develop Your Hidden Greatness Kriya

These words from Simrit Kaur sum up why I practice. Why I wake every damn morning at ungodly, or rather Godly hour to move and sit on the mat. This is one meditation that saw me through so much change.

Disillusions, rage, heartbreaks, illnesses, all the negativity life had to throw at me and one hell of an eclipse and retrogade season.

This is one meditation that saw me through breakthroughs, recalibrated my stories, and gifted me so much faith, insights and tenacity in the face of a sense of calamity.

The T mudra cutting through blocks. The Saturn finger imparting patience. The breath, long, deep and clarifying. The mantra fortifying like no other.

I practice every damn day not to be superhuman. Surrendering is a process. Letting go is a practice. Deep listening is a subtle art.

I practice to be more human, more humane. I practice to see the light in the cracks. Rain or shine, through sickness and health. Because life is just too darn hard if I don’t.

Pavan guru

I have been immersing myself in the woods. Extraordinarily long walks in the jungle interspersed with pranayam breaks.

Long deep conscious breath, feeling into a quiet song only the forest knows how to sing.

Sitting through and with this pause invokes a tenderness that is part understanding and part allowing. Practicing yoga with the breath, off the mat, is a reminder of transience and transitions.

Night falls. Light will come again.

Simply inviting the next breath as I draw the last.

In the present, there is ease and steadiness.

No resistance.

No past and future.

Just here and now.

 

What do you do when it feels so dark?

The last two weeks, I was in Bali, deepening my Kundalini yoga practice. There was something so enchanting about practicing to a view and sounds of verdant nature and witnessing the skies lighting up from pre-dawn hours.

I could wax lyrical about the incredible grace I experienced.

The truth is, I was also tending to the shadows that unceremonially surfaced from crevices tucked away from plain sight.

To say the least, January was a month of finding my feet after the end of a monumental year that just passed. Soulful questions led to uncomfortable, heartfelt answers.

I shed tears I never thought I had. I slept too much. My heart felt tender and raw. I was struggling to keep my head above stormy waters.

In the end, what saw me through the dark seas was yoga. A hell lot of Kundalini yoga.

During those weeks where I felt absolutely shattered, I poured myself into kriyas, or a themed set of exercises, to unearth and release pent-up emotions buried so deep within. I dug deep to strengthen and ground my entire being.

The Kundalini yoga technology of simultaneously using asana, pranayama, mantra and mudra to direct prana to where it should go very swiftly centered and empowered me.

I could neither rush time nor my healing, but the yoga practice that both fortifies and nourishes me, and fills my belly with fire, allows me to see the silver lining in the gray clouds.

The sense of renewal was so palpable I showed up for my mat, and ultimately for myself, despite the aches that were gnawing away at every part of me.

My dedicated [Kundalini] yoga practice gave me concrete tools to sit with the disquiet, to make peace with uncertainties.

If change is the only constant, then embracing the unknown is other surety.

In that vastness, I trusted that all that didn’t serve my highest good was being shown out of my life.

As I pick up the fragments and reshape the new me, I am aware hailstones and debilitating storms are mere reflections of the seasons and cycles of life.

Buds will always blossom and bloom again.

How we navigate wintry weather to welcome spring makes all the difference.

The gift of breath

Humee hum tumee toom wahe guru

I am thine in mine myself wahe guru

Teaching this meditation in a Kundalini Yoga class last week, as part of an introspective yearend set, I too was stricken by how my yoga practice has connected me to my own infinity.

Because the practice of yoga is less about asana and more about what transpires outside the mat, how you show up for the practice is a reflection of how you show up for life.

Are you moving through breathlessly and relentlessly? Are you taking a few moments to pause before transiting into the next exercise?

My practice – and life – changed the moment I took more than a pause between asanas.

Taking time to consciously breathe through each nostril, to feel my entire torso filling up with breath, the breath that sustains us, is almost cathartic.

Soul-cleansing cathartic.

Most significantly, Pranayama, one of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, has shown me the virtues of breathing space into everything.

Breathing when I am chewing my food. Breathing when I am walking to catch a bus. Breathing when my heart aches.

It’s as if breathing through every core of my being has allowed me to viscerally and gently embrace all the unknowns and what-ifs that are unfolding before me.

The insecurity that comes with anticipating the disasters ahead dissolves when there’s space to step back, and you know, breathe cool breaths into a raging storm that always threatens to tear me up.

The moment I realized the sense of vastness in me mirrors the infinity offered by the universe, doors crack open. I receive people, places and little bounties that serve my highest good.

I have trusted the stream of consciousness offered by my breath will steadily and gracefully guide my every step.

This breath nourishes me as it fills my heart with a deep sense of gratitude.

It is with gratitude – and lungs and belly full of breaths – I am starting 2018, knowing the gift of breath will open me to the vast oceans in and outside of me.

Truly, everything is inside of me.

I am thine in mine myself.

Wahe guru!