Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training Blog, By M.
First Training Weekend - Saturday & Sunday, October 12th-13th
Throughout this blog I’ll try to share with you my experience about the teacher training I decided to start at a very special place in Chicago, Spirit Rising Yoga. Humbly speaking, this is only going to be a testimony of my experience, so the reader should put it into perspective, add infinity, subtract karma, divide by individuality and multiply by 10 (which is the number of the amazing people that share with me the incredible experience of being a student of Kundalini Yoga at SRY) to get a more realistic idea of what this experience really is about.
So far, I can say that “I survived” the first intensive weekend training. And I say “survived” because this weekend was the first one, where meeting companions, teachers, assistants and modality of the classes happened. YES, all together. As a very sensitive person I consider myself to be (and it happens I’m not the only one in the fantastic group I’m now part of) I literally felt that at some point of the weekend I could explode. Explode of happiness, of laughter, of sadness, of gratitude… Of Life.
I came deep into my body and came out of it, chanted, laughed, cried (I’m such a crier! I confess), calmed down, burned up, breathed and held my breath. And this only happened in just the first weekend. What an experience already. I’m anxious for what’s to come and a little fearful too, I must accept. I can sense I’ll need “containment” (in the sense of a container, literally) sooner than I know. The good thing is, I feel it is there. I’ve met such incredible Teachers that can help me relax into nothing whenever I’m ready. That is a big relief.
During these two days my expectations met my experience and they combined to form a beautiful melody I started to enjoy since minute one… I would say a melody that’s been so far intense but soothing, comforting. A song that brings me to myself. That is for sure.
My husband and I live downtown (I’ll keep my personal story short, but just to give some context to what I’m sharing) and I just moved to Chicago a few weeks ago from Argentina (my husband is studying for his masters degree). Deciding to get into Teacher Training was a very important decision for me as it implied thinking about the right way of making the best out of a year, which I consider a beautiful Gift in my life. And receiving important Gifts makes me feel joyful and grateful with the Giver, but also puts me into a situation of commitment with myself and with how I use those Presents. I can certainly say, after this first weekend experience, I made a good choice, or maybe it wasn’t even me who chose (most probably). I’m a believer, always have been, it is just part of who I am and how I experience life. And this experience, I can tell, is one of those that reconfirm my basic beliefs and foundations.
So arriving to the training, felt definitely like arriving Home. After a few minutes on the CTA Brown Line train, I got to the Addison station and already met my first partner! I recognized her immediately, although we had never seen each other before (or maybe we had!): Yoga mat, white clothes, fast pace towards the train station’s exit (it was almost time). We talked as if we already knew each other, fluidly.
We entered the classroom to meet our group. Most of them were already there, ready with their “equipment” for the trip to somewhere: mats, water bottles, tea cups, books, journals, white clothing, bandanas, blankets. And a whole invisible (but real) suitcase full of dreams, fears, identities, questions and answers. Wow, the room felt packed at first sight, so much “stuff” I thought. I managed to find a “spot” which by the way, was my spot throughout the weekend. At least something “mine” to attach to besides my mat, journal, blanket, etc, etc. Finding my spot in that “not very big space” was kind of like finding my place inside a body in gestation. Although everything felt so tight, it was organic and quite fast, as if I already knew where to go. Once there, on my mat, I just breathed and everything started settling down, organizing itself, adjusting, just like any living cell in an organism.
And so came sound, a guitar and Shiva Singh’s voice… the Teacher’s voice to organically organize and set this newborn into the pulse of Life. We were already experiencing the miraculous process of Creation without even noticing it.
Ok, I’m getting a little too metaphorical here. But the thing is there are some experiences that can’t be transmitted without images, at least not for me. I’ll try not to go too far with them, I promise.
So we sang and our voices recognized each other, attuned into one single voice. Breath too. Pulse. Energy. Space readjusted in size and suddenly felt like “the perfect skin”.
We experienced some warming up exercises, kriyas and mantras, learned how to pronounce them (or a least tried to) correctly and explored some of their meanings. We experienced the gong’s sound, or should I say wave?, or light, or bath, or love, or body?…I’m not sure what that “being” really is. Because it is definitely a being to me, something with which I interact and which can influence on me VERY deeply. I could notice my arms being lifted a little, but couldn’t put them down. They were stiff yet relaxed as if someone was holding them. We definitely took off somewhere on our magic carpets yesterday morning. And that is a fact, I’m certain. And I’m a very logical and analytical person, though sometimes I may not sound like it. This is definitely science.
Once back in the room, we were invited by the Teachers to share something about ourselves with the group. Our stories, or anything we liked them to know about us. Of course, I couldn’t articulate a word. Well, I’m not going to be that hard on me. I could pronounce around 10 words in total and a lot of crying of course. I sometimes feel people will understand what I want to communicate just by looking into my eyes, or by feeling my heart, or by the color of my tears. And I guess some of them can. I hope so!! But it is sometimes hard for me to channel the intensity of what I’m feeling into phrases. So I sometimes try with simple drawings/sketches or other forms of art. (which in this case I did and I share below)
I love words though; I can feel their power and how their precision may cut doubt’s fog away whenever there is insecurity. They are natural healers to me. I love that. But I also know they can do a lot of harm. I respect them.
Going back to the situation, the thing is that to me that space, that sacred space, was full of Teachers: visible, invisible, covered and uncovered. It was far too much for me to handle! And for many of my companions (already friends) too. We all did a great effort to articulate logical thinking, and most of them did a superb job! =)
From that moment onwards (which was around 4 hours, according to the room’s clock - I’m starting to feel a little confused about what time is and about a lot of other things I’ll tell you later) I can say we had lunch, we practiced some more exercises (Shabad Kaur and Shiva Singh were extremely patient with our mistakes, and let them be for the day-thank you!) and we even made a role play about the rules Yogi Bhajan suggests for the Aquarian Age. My partner and I had to explore about the following rule: “if you are not compassionate you will misunderstand the times”. This was a beautiful exercise. I feel so thankful whenever we are allowed to use some other way of expression rather than spoken word, especially when I’m “floating” around my body. =) Embodying the rules definitely expanded our understanding of them and made us comprehend them more fully through practical situations. It was perfect. Beautiful and besides, LOTS of fun!! =) (something which at that point of the day was very valuable, at least for me)
By the way, don’t even think the training was so far only about getting serious on profound things and experiencing expansion of our consciousness, learning techniques, blablabla (I may sometimes sound a little too serious, but that’s just me!). Oh no! I was amazingly surprised by the exquisite combination of seriousness, fun, creativity, lecturing and active participation I could enjoy already through this single session. And that is a word I would like to emphasize about my experience so far. Enjoy. It has been really about enjoying the process.
Saturday ended beautifully but I felt sooo tired! My body was almost numb, and coming out of our magic carpets into the real world seemed a challenge I wasn’t sure I could deal with. On the train home, I slept with my eyes open, rested trying to regenerate some energy and thought about what I would find once I got home.
My husband was so happy to see me! A whole Saturday apart! (hahaha, not that we are very dependent from each other, but he knew how much I’ve waited for this weekend to come.) He wanted to know everything about it (well really he was not into details, he wanted to know if this was what I was looking for. And luckily the answer was positive) So as soon as I opened the door with the little energy I felt I had left, he started singing a welcoming song…He was saying (although he is business man and his daily activity is far away from mantras and yoga postures) “my yogi master, my yogi master”, in a celebration chant. I found it so funny and at the same time so loving and embracing. So we danced and sang for a little while, just like kids. I was glad he was happy for me. His welcoming energy made it much easier for me to come into my end of the day duties, and finally (and gracefully) go to bed.
Sunday was difficult. My body felt tired and I had to wake up earlier. I woke up at 6am as I always need some time to “do my morning routines”. Luckily as soon as I got on the Brown Line, I saw the sunrise and enjoyed the changing colors throughout the way. That definitely energized me, I in-joy-ed it very much. I like waking up with the sun as I feel it is more organic and helps me feel more connected to nature’s cycles. To mine.
Again another friend on the train, so we walked together and I reintroduced myself as the day before I could barely express myself during circle time.
We went into “our sacred space”, shared and personal. Waited to tune in, connect to everybody.
I was thankful to find the day was a little less emotional or emotionally intense (a little more of the left brain work). Or maybe I was so tired I shut myself down a little for protection and regeneration (I do that once in a while).
Singing, meditation, mantras and kriyas, but this time from a more technical perspective. Shiva Singh and Shabad Kaur gently asked our egos for permission to be “adjusted” whenever our postures/mudras were not precise. I appreciated their softness and all of my friends’ kindness in offering their bodies and examples for our learning, which were so many today. Letting go of old habits and having the chance of relearning from the ones that received the Teachings directly from Yogi Bhajan is a blessing and an opportunity I know we are all thankful of.
It is getting more and more obvious that we are all connected, intimately, and that what happens to one, touches everybody else in some way.
The class ended with an introduction to the gong, and some of us even got a chance to play it!! =) That special and powerful being (both instrument and player as one)…I’m going to get closer to you someday…little by little. Whenever I’m ready. You tell me.
Ready is how I’m feeling right now. I’ve been for many years (though I’m only 30) postponing dreams, postponing goals, not really listening, justifying myself with things that most of the times didn’t even belong to me. But a couple of years ago I felt a shift inside, as if something was activated and my compass started pointing at myself. Since then I’ve been walking towards somewhere I don’t know (or maybe I do). But I don’t really care anymore. I don’t need questions. I see the arrow clearly pointing, and I walk. That’s all I need right now, and it is enough for my readiness.
I’ll end by saying today we had the chance of seeing and listening to Yogi Bhajan. His voice, intonation, the sound of his words, his intensity, etc, were very accurately (at least to me) communicated through a DVD. There was so much information in those words, in the quality of his words, movements and Presence I would need to watch it over and over a million times to get just an ounce. But I will just share one of the many messages I still have bouncing in my mind and heart: “You need to obey in order to command”.
For the time being I’ll keep looking at my arrow and walking forward.
I’ll keep up! I promise.