I attended Gurmukh’s “A New Light on Abundance” workshop at Yoga Tree two months ago and I’ve been trying to figure out how to write about it ever since.
What is difficult about writing about this workshop is that it was largely experiential: the majority of the five hours was spent doing Kundalini kriyas. So other than a brief introduction and the Q&A at the end, all I can write about is my personal experience – and if you’ve ever done any work with a master teacher you know that what happens is very deep, very personal, and often hard to understand what it means even for yourself.
I chose to attend this workshop because my theme for the year is abundance: overflowing fullness. For me, abundance is about being so full in my life that I can give from my overflow, and I’ve devoted this year learning how to achieve that. When I saw this offering at Yoga Tree I knew I had to attend as part of my education on abundance.
Gurmukh’s discussion of abundance at the beginning was very much in line with my own. She explained abundance as “my cup brimmeth over”: if you are lacking you will always be thinking about yourself; abundance is about being so full that you can give to others. Abundance isn’t just about prosperity, but being full in all areas of your life: health, vibrancy, healing, money, time, loving relationships, self-love.
Kundalini kriyas, which utilize mantra, mudra, and pranayama (vs asana alone), alter the chemistry of your body, producing chemical shifts in the right proportions to force a perceptual shift. During the kriya practice, I felt several of these energetic shifts and releases. People say that a lot about their experience in yoga, but what does that really mean?
In my limited experience of Kundalni, after continuing with a kriya (often a repetitive motion with the breath) past the point of discomfort where I would normally pull back, I feel some sort of sensation in my body (a burning, a lightening, a relaxation/release) and sometimes have some sort of mental vision. I will feel, rather than think, some sort of change – a rewriting of a story, a reprogramming of a pattern, almost always some sort of letting go of the old (perhaps that’s why many call it a release). It often is accompanied by a feeling of letting go of some sort of tension I didn’t even know I was holding.
In terms of abundance, I felt old familial ties, beliefs and patterns inherited from my family and taken as true for my whole life, loosen their hold and begin to unravel. Letting go, clearing space for something else to come in.
Vague, I know. But as I said, it’s hard to explain experiences that don’t involve your intellect.
At the end of the workshop, Gurmukh said, “Repeat a pattern and you become the pattern. Yoga gives us a way to break the pattern.” Without understanding how or why, some pattern – maybe one I wasn’t even aware of – may have shifted during that workshop. Only time, and continued practice so that my pattern becomes my yoga, not my unconscious defaults, will what that change is.
But at the end of the day, do we really need to know? What’s more important – being aware of the shift, or that the shift happened? I’m ok with feeling that something is different and not knowing what it is.
Gurmukh and Gurushabd return to Yoga Tree August 22-24. In the mean time, I’m really excited for Shiva Rea’s 30-hour Chakra Vinyasa and Movement Alchemy training on April 2-6.