Let me tell you what this lady, Krishna Kaur did.
She broke through to me. I hadn’t felt this way since the honeymoon phase of my Kundalini Yoga practice. (To those of you who know what I am talking about, the honeymoon phase that I am referring to is Saram Pad and Karam Pad. I have been in Shakti Pad for a while now; a phase equivalent to that of a rebellious teenager who thinks she is invincible).
Krishna Kaur, in her fabulous workshop called, Breaking Through To You, started us with a lot of breath work.
Then right into stretch pose & the energizer series.
Teachers talk about the importance of starting each day with the stretch pose, but it wasn’t until Krishna Kaur delivered it that I really got it: that I need to do this every day. For 3 minutes. (Yes, build it to 3).
All of the 72,000 nerve endings in our body meet at the navel center (which is what the stretch pose works), and when you do this daily, the “right” way (only 6 inches off the floor, eyes focused at the toes, both legs up), you will strengthen your nerves such that NO ONE will get on your nerves (test it before you knock it). And, you will show up in this world from your core.
I don’t even think it’s what she said, but how she said it that made me get it at a deeper level. She vibrated it from her core in a solid, adi shakti, no excuses manner infused with so much authentic love for all of us. Her command is delivered with so much love and kindness, you can’t help but listen. She said, “I’m not here for love. I’m here for power- to see it in you!” as her voice and entire body contracted tall (yes, seems oxymoronish), using the bicep curl, to demonstrate power.
We continued on with leg lifts. I was pretty sure I was going to hate this day. She talked to us about how to achieve excellence: obey, serve, love and excel (or, obey + serve + love = excel). Since the obey part is difficult for us Westerners to get, what we are talking about is letting go of our resistance and listening to the voice of our true nature, our inner source of fulfillment, rather than letting the ego control us with the “you can’t tell me what to do.” It’s learning how to obey our integrity, also known as becoming a life student, that will help develop inner discipline and strength to do what we need to do in our lives without drifting (getting lost in the ego). We agree to obey our external spiritual teachers, at least until we are able to listen to and obey our true nature and filter our “questions” through a more expanded context.
We did the spine flex as we suspended our breath at the top of the inhale for as long as we could, then paused as we exhaled, repeating this for 11 minutes I think (exercise set for the lungs & bloodstream). Do this long enough, and it blows something open inside of you. You end up with more space, more energy reserve and more vitality. But you’ve got to get beyond the comfort zone. She talked about how teachers today tend to say to their students, “do it if you’re comfortable,” a relatively new age approach which not only carries a risk of making us too comfortable (compliments of the ego), it asks the question: how comfortable are we as teachers and what we stand for? She reminds us that Yogi Bhajan never said, “do it if you’re comfortable.”
We did the Aura Set. This is a short & powerful kriya that strengthens the magnetic field, protects us from negativity and helps project our true nature.
Speaking of which, there are two mantras we must do: Rakhe Rakhanahar, which, like a sword, cuts through, and protects us from, the negativity that comes from both our external world as well as from our thoughts & feelings. We can chant this daily, and anytime we catch negativity, which for many, could be as often as conventional wisdom says men think about sex. The other mantra is the Long Ek Ong Kar. It opens up all of the chakras and aligns us with the Divine.
We did another kriya that begins with leg lifts, followed by a downward-dog-to-upward-dog movement on repeat (but in Kundalini Yoga, we call these triangle and cobra pose, respectively). Then we did a kriya with tons of frogs, body drops and spine flexes. Then another kriya that made you feel like your arms were going to fall of– but let me tell you, as soon as she told us to put them both down, I felt a high that I hadn’t felt since the beginning of my kundalini yoga days. It was good.
Then the meditation to remove fear & split personality. Evidentally, we each have 16 different personalities. The mantra is aadays tisay aadays, aad aaneel anaad anaahat, jug jug ayko vays. Sitting in rock pose (on your heels), arms are in front of you with palms facing down, and you alternate from horizontal to 60 degrees with each word. Try this for 22 minutes.
Speaking of split personalities, there are 81 facets to who we are.
The Functional Mind consists of the negative mind, positive mind, and neutral mind. None are good nor bad, and all are important functions. The negative mind is our protective mind, and it tells us what can go wrong. This keeps us from getting run over by a car, which is a good thing. It can also keep us from moving forward or taking risks, which can be a bad thing. The positive mind tells us what is possible. It’s pure optimism, which can be a good thing. But if this goes unchecked… well, let your negative mind tell you what can go wrong! The neutral mind considers the two sides and makes the decision that is needed at that given time. In real time, it’s can look spontaneous. Typically, the long thought out process is our ego making justifications to keep us in the comfort zone, and the other side trying to battle it out (this is me talking, not Krishna Kaur). We really want to make decisions from the neutral mind. How to strengthen the neutral mind? Meditate. Chant. and Breathe. Be consciously conscious of your consciousness. –Yogi Bhajan
The Basic Mind, or Chitta, consists of Manas, Ahangkar, and Buddhi. A person coming from Manas perceives the world through the five senses. That is a lion. A person coming from Buddhi perceives the world by its essence, and what it intuits. That lion is powerful and fast. A person coming from Ahangkar takes it personally. That lion is going to come after me!
The Gunas are similar to the ayurvedic doshas. While doshas relate to our basic nature, the gunas relate to our mind. It is said that the entire universe is made up of 5 elements, and the how much of each of these elements that comprise every matter that exists in the universe is what determines the matter. Those 5 elements are: air, ether, fire, water, earth. Earth & Water make Tamas (like Kapha). Fire and water make Rajas (like Pitta). Air and ether make Sattva (like Vata). The 3 Gunas are Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. Again, there is no good or bad, and all are necessary. And, as with the others under the Functional and Basic Mind, there can be positive and negative qualities of each.
At any given moment, any of the 3 possibilities under each category (Functional, Basic/ Chitta, and Gunas) play into how we show up in the world. One combination might emerge when we are with our parents, another when we are with our children, yet another with our lover, and another with our boss. Given all of the combinations that can happen, there are 81 possibilities, or facets, of who we are!
Having said that, we do tend to favor certain qualities as our unconscious “default”. We were given an exercise during Krishna Kaur’s workshop to bring this up to our consciousness. My thoughts tend to originate heavily from the Positive Mind, perceive things through the Buddhi mind (though I can access Ahangkar pretty quickly), and my thoughts are more Rajasic. I was more Sattva minded before I sunk into Shakti Pad (having fallen off the honeymoon phase) and before I added more rajasic-tamasic food to my diet. If I don’t practice pranayam and the more physically intensive kriyas, I run danger of slipping into tamas. Being more aware of where you might be at any given time helps you to know what is out of balance for you, and what to add to come more into balance.
A word about the words we speak. The suggestion is to take a breath or two before you speak, and ask yourself, what am I really trying to say? What is the intention behind what I am about to say? What is the result that I am looking for? Is what I am about to say supportive of the result that I am looking for? And if talking on and on is your thang, it may be a good idea to practice saying things in bytes of 11 words or less. Beyond the 11 words, we run into danger of losing sight of our purpose and falling into our ego self (hello me– yes, I confess).
Words, thoughts and feelings are all considered “words” in this context. Once you put them out there, you can’t get them back. That vibration keeps traveling. And like a boomerang, what you put out will come back at you (like attracts like). Not sure you believe this? Check out your life. How does what you experience in your life align with what you think, feel and say? Keep checking this out for a while. You may decide that the “I just need to put it out there and get it off my chest” does not serve you as well as you thought.
About Truth: we all lie about something. When this happens, the call to action is not necessarily to correct it at the moment. Rather, go back to it as soon as you can, and get to the bottom of it: Why did you lie? And who are you lying to (someone else or yourself)? Does it fall under a unique-to-you “things I lie about” category? How is it serving you? This is about being consciously conscious of your consciousness. This is different from a call to just stop lying.
Keep practicing stretch pose.
As for me, Krishna Kaur’s discussions about the facets of the mind and about the words we speak, folded into all of the intense yoga & meditations that we practiced boosted me up a notch. I am resolved to obey my higher consciousness and I, for now (can’t guarantee that I won’t slip), think of my morning practice in the same way that I think of brushing my teeth in the morning: I don’t think about it. I never consider not doing it.