The Magic Of Kundalini Yoga

I fell into kundalini yoga quite by accident earlier this year, when I decided to sign up for a class at a local yoga studio which was listed on ClassPass. From the first class, I was deeply moved, intrigued, and interested in continuing the practice. I hadn’t been aware of the fact that kundalini yoga is considered to be the most powerful and spiritual form of yoga, but I am grateful that it is now a part of my life. Kundalini yoga also complements my daily meditation practice.

How is kundalini yoga different from other forms of yoga? While it can be VERY physical, kundalini yoga is incredibly spiritual and meditative. You will spend a decent amount of time in “easy pose”, which is a standard pose for meditation. Kundalini yoga consists of chants, repetitive movements, and coordinated breathing techniques which are all designed to increase consciousness and activate the body’s energy centers. Because this type of yoga targets energy blockages, sessions can be emotional, intense, sacred, and filled with a sense of connectedness to everyone.

An article by James McCrae states that the objective of kundalini yoga is “decentralized and selfless – help people actualize their Higher Self”. The practice of kundalini yoga has been around since approximately 1,000 B.C. – 500 B.C. during the time in which the Upanishads were written. Kundalini, or “coiled snake”, refers to the energy of creation which sits at the base of the spine, and which can be activated and made to move up the spine and throughout the entire body. It was brought to the western world in the late 1960’s by Yogi Bhajan.

Kundalini yoga can be regarded as the fast track to spiritual enlightenment, and can bring about immense positive changes to one’s life. It increases awareness, brings a sense of well-being, and also creates a stillness and calmness which help to deflect the stresses of the modern world.

Eulogy For Rob Willhite

FEW CROSS OVER THE RIVER.
MOST ARE STRANDED ON THIS SIDE.
ON THE RIVERBANK THEY RUN UP AND DOWN.
BUT THE WISE MAN, FOLLOWING THE WAY,
CROSSES OVER, BEYOND THE REACH OF DEATH.
– Buddha

One day eight years ago I met Rob and was immediately struck by his elegant stature and his calm and kind demeanor. What was most striking, though, was a spirit presence, something ethereal that I couldn’t define, and it was that presence that put me in awe of him. He kindly invited me to join his meditation group, and I gladly obliged. And so began my journey into more structured meditation, a connection to the cosmos, and a deep friendship.

I remember being somewhat intimidated by Rob, and I realize that this was my own little grasshopper mind coupled with egoic limitations that were causing me to experience that feeling of intimidation. Rob’s “Robisms” reminded me to ponder in more enlightened ways, and I took great comfort in hearing him utter one of his typical sage sayings and following it with either a grin or a chuckle, and a twinkle in the eye that revealed the little boy that still wanted to laugh and play.

Then when Rob was diagnosed last Fall and I heard of all the trials and tribulations he was enduring, I realized that everything this remarkable man had experienced in his life was coming to a head and that the ultimate test was yet to come. I drove to Rancho Los Amigos a couple of days after his surgery to see him, not sure what I would encounter. Yet as I laid my eyes upon Rob, a great surge of joy washed through me, and this joy continued as we talked and joked around, laughed and smiled. He was in such great spirits that even though I was devastated to hear of his diagnosis, it didn’t seem to matter, because we were truly in the moment, friends enjoying each other’s company. Rob’s wonderful dry wit was still very much intact and he used it to say things that had me chuckling at his bedside.

1016444_696074497089656_1678297_nShortly after Rob was discharged to Bess’s home this past December, I made regular scheduled visits to help out, and continued to do so through most of March. Every single one of those days I spent with Rob was an absolute treasure. Our conversations ran the gamut of profound, funny, tragic, and philosophical. Most days we would go for a walk or visit the neighbor dogs for a bit, and on some days he and I would meditate. Our jaunts to the L.A. Zoo were also very special and I feel so fortunate to have gone with Rob there. He missed his animal friends so very much and was able to have two wonderful reunions with them. The first time we visited, Leadbottom, the Andean Condor, was being a butthead and refused to come to the fence to greet Rob, but during our second visit, Leadbottom finally relented, and I witnessed the friendship and bond which they shared. It was truly a magical moment.

Though I had known Rob for several years, it was only this year that I learned that Rob was a man who had never felt, as he stated, like he belonged on this earth. I knew what he meant. He was so evolved spiritually that being locked in the physical realm was challenging at best with him. We spoke at length about countless other subjects during my regular visits, and he revealed more of his life experiences and upbringing to me, making him more endearing and real, and dissolving the silly intimidation I had once felt so long ago. He expressed gratitude towards me many times for helping out during the course of his illness, but the countless spiritual gifts he had bestowed upon me during that time were staggering in comparison.

There was one thing Rob said to me when he was still at Rancho which struck me. He had said, “I’ll meet you on the other side for sake.” To which I replied, “Not just yet, Rob, not for either of us. But I absolutely will meet you for that sake at some point.” Eventually, we will share that bottle of sake on the other side. I look forward to it.

I Love My Freedom

woman-with-arms-outstretchedI am a relationship minded person, I live in one place for many years at a time, and am a planner. Yet I recognize the fierce need for freedom which pervades all areas of my life. I cannot stand being held back, tied down, or told I cannot do something. I am notorious for tackling all kinds of projects, even if I have had no prior experience and risk failure. I like being the boss, but it is more important for me to be in control of my own life, navigating through it the way I prefer. I am also a bit of a loner and prefer to chart my own course instead of following the pack. The past few years have given me wonderful opportunities to express myself in the way that I want to, and I am grateful for the ability to run around and frolic through life, enjoying all that it has to offer.

I am sure that the countless threats to my freedom which I have had to deal with throughout my life have only made me stronger. When I think of how fiercely I have fought for autonomy and a voice, I realize how much of a warrior I am. If someone doubts my abilities, I want to prove them wrong, NOT because I have a chip on my shoulder, but because the “can do” mindset is so deeply etched in my personality. Nothing that I do is on the beaten path. I look different, behave differently, navigate through life differently, and could never be described as being a “typical” anything. And you know what? I like it that way!

What I have learned throughout my life is that if you want freedom of movement, you can have it as long as you realize that you manifest whatever it is that your subconscious mind harbors. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. If you believe that something or someone has control over you, then you have given up the battle and you will manifest situations which will truly make you feel trapped, shackled, and stripped of your personal freedom. If you believe that you can shape your life the way that you want without mowing others down in an effort to reach your goals, then you will empower yourself. Everything we hold onto should be done with an open hand, allowing energy and opportunity to move organically. When we grasp, grab, twist and otherwise restrain the energy, it can often turn on us and create conflict, throw up obstacles and threaten to rob us of our freedom. This is a lesson that I am FINALLY beginning to understand after all my time on this planet.

What Are Chakras?

Chakra ChainWhile many of you may know have heard of chakras, many of you may not know what they refer to. Basically, chakras are energy centers which are located in our bodies and which often serve as focus points during yoga and meditation. It is strongly believed that blocked energy in these centers results in illness, so those who practice yoga and meditation seek a free flow of energy through the chakras to prevent illness and promote well-being and a connection to the energy of the Universe. There are seven main chakras, listed below.

The-Chakra-Wheel
1. Root Chakra – This chakra keeps us rooted to the earth and represents our foundation.
Location: Base of spine in tailbone.
Emotional issues: Financial security, food.

2. Sacral Chakra – This chakra represents our sense of connection to others.
Location: Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel and 2 inches deep.
Emotional issues: Abundance, well-being, pleasure, sexuality.

3. Solar Plexus Chakra – This chakra represents our sense of self.
Location: Upper abdomen near stomach.
Emotional issues: Self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem.
More on Solar Plexus Chakra healing

4. Heart Chakra – This represents our interpersonal relationships with loved ones and our ability to love.
Location: Chest near the heart.
Emotional issues: Love, joy, inner peace.

5. Throat Chakra – This chakra represents our ability to communicate.
Location: Throat.
Emotional issues: Communication, self-expression, the truth.

6. Third Eye Chakra – This chakra represents our intuition and wisdom.
Location: Forehead between the eyes.
Emotional issues: Imagination, vision, ability to think and make decisions.

7. Crown Chakra – The highest Chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually.
Location: The very top of the head.
Emotional issues: Enlightenment, our connection to spirituality, pure bliss.