Transforming the tough stuff

Here we are. Halfway through this month's practice: "removing obstacles". 

Our life's work is to get clear on who we truly are. To know our light, our dark. To feel our yes and our no in our own choices. And miraculously to change, to falter, to shift - to evolve. There are days when I feel nothing is in my way, not even my own habits or doubts. I practice kundalini because this has been the most direct means I have found to feel consistently able in the world.

This month's sequence is physically challenging, asking much of the shoulders, of the legs. And it is emotional as well; turning us upside down, making new gestures and efforts that are unfamiliar. Going into this uncharted territory is part of the provocation of kundalini. Our body is the ship that carries us through time. How can we grow or expand if we move the same way all the time, if we don't stretch our limbs and our horizons? 

Some obstacles are physical: the lid of the jar is stuck, the car is towed, the door is locked. In these cases strength, help, the right tool can be great blessings. But many of our obstacles are in the form of our own habits of mind:

  • Consistently putting too many things in your schedule so you feel chronically rushed
  • The habit of a negative filter when you reflect back on your performance, conversation, parking job, cooking, bank statement, etc.
  • Doubting your ability to accomplish something before it is begun
  • "I don't" statements such as "I don't eat peas." "I don't skip when I walk." "I don't laugh at dirty jokes." "I don't high five my mail carrier." "I don't smile at strangers." (What if you did? What else would be possible?)

These are obstacles. I have my own list, deeper and more personal, just as you do. But in the power of this month's practice, as I build physical stamina, as I laugh at hopping and crossing and folding, my head clears. My smile returns. My heart slows. I remember: I am a blessing. The day is up or down, but I am here, constant, creative, daring, evolving, and present. 

When we see and clear our obstacles we bless ourselves and our relations.

Practice beyond the mat :: try this for one week:

Each night make a list of 1. Obstacles, things that got in your way, places you felt stopped, things you wanted to believe in but couldn't.

2. Blessings, gratitudes, small wins, things that went well, unexpected smiles, things you gave away, kindnesses you offered.

Just start to see them, build an awareness of what could change and what could grow.

Bandhu Dava kriya At the top of this page is a four minute audio of the breathing technique we have used this month in class. Use it when you feel stuck, especially when you feel in conflict with another person with an aspect or a choice of your own that you wish was different. It is a practice for kindness, for kinship, for skillful relations.

Use the mudra (shape of the hands) from the photo at the top: heels of the hands touching, pads of the middle fingers, pinky fingers, thumbs touching, and first/fourth fingers drawn apart. Hands rest in front of the heart. Enjoy xx

Hope to see you in the studio! Much love, Martha

Next event is a new Kundalini By Candlelight May 13, 7-9 pm
Baltimore Yoga Villiage
sign up here

"stay soft. it looks beautiful on you."   from salt, by nayyirah waheed