In my crisis about 1 ½ years ago, which I have described in previous articles (Part 1 Update und Part 2 Unique Self Symphonies and other "projects") , I have found learning and applying some methods and practices to be particularly helpful in my healing, transformation, and evolution.
I have been particularly supported by:
the loving guidance of my teacher Dr. Marc Gafni (more about him soon), who gave me the freedom to surrender fully to my healing, and my colleagues and friends at the Center for Integral Wisdom, who readily took on my responsibilities
my time at the treatment center Heiligenfeld in Bad Kissingen (where I particularly learned how to better set boundaries for myself),
my 1-year advanced training in trauma therapy (here, especially the methods of self-regulation, Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, and also the approaches of Polyvagal Theory have supported me in day-to-day life, as well as in setting healthy boundaries out of a sense of empowerment),
reading and implementing the methods of the book Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg,
just recently getting into the ketogenic diet, which is doing me a lot of good (and which I'll write more about soon)
and finally - and perhaps especially - the practice of Kundalini Yoga.
I had done Yoga before - Hatha Yoga, which focuses primarily on the body (here especially Iyengar Yoga in its Ashtanga Yoga form (Power Yoga) with its precise postures and strenuous transitions). While I had enjoyed this, it was also super physically demanding and, at the same time, merely a preparation for the Pranayama and meditation that would come later. Yoga, in this form, was probably originally meant for monks and ascetics who withdraw from the world and spend their lives in contemplation and meditation. There, one can easily spend a few years in preparation.
And so, at some point, I had given up yoga. Instead, I had been exploring energetic methods of meditation and transformation, and eventually landed on my path studying World Spirituality and Integral Wisdom as taught by Dr. Marc Gafni (in collaboration with Ken Wilber and Dr. Zachary Stein).
In my studies with Marc, practices were prominent, some of which developed or evolved by him - mostly with origins in the Hebrew wisdom teachings, such as writing Outrageous Love Letters (or Outrageous Love Notes), Sacred Text Study, chanting, prayer (to the Infinity of Intimacy), confessing one’s greatness, various practices for realizing one’s Unique Self, the various Faces and Tastes of Eros, etc..
What was missing for me in those practices, although I deeply love them, was a practice that focused specifically on the body, the breathing, and working with (and clearing) the subtle energy systems.
Also, to be honest, I was not always able to maintain a regular practice. I made excuses by telling myself that my work - in which I was constantly dealing with texts and contents (and recently even more so) that are part of this new (and ancient) World Spirituality Lineage - is itself already a practice. But it was clear to me, at the latest with the beginning of my crisis, that I had been fooling myself. I was quite out of balance....
Sometime in early 2021, I became aware of the Life-Force Academy with Jai Dev Singh. I took two free classes, signed up for a trial month, and started my first 40-Day Challenge right away. I have now been a member since March 2021 and have fallen more and more in love with the practice.
Since September 2021, I am even attending the 1-year Kundalini Yoga teacher training at Prana Jio (in Schweinfurt). This weekend, the 9th and final training weekend is taking place. At the end of September until the beginning of October, there will be an intensive week, which will conclude level 1 (to be an instructor). [I will most likely start level 2 right after that, even though I want to start teaching as early as September.]
From practice to practice - as well as from weekend to weekend - I am in an overall process towards more and more clarity, more healthy self-discipline (which is the beginning of self-love and includes various daily routines (such as cold showers in the morning)), and a greater capability to keep myself, my work, and my entire daily life (with all its distractions, stresses, etc.) in a healthy balance.
Here is a brief list of all the qualities of Kundalini Yoga practice that I have fallen in love with:
Each class session contains the essential elements:
physical exercises (to open all the channels and strengthen the body)
a short Dharma talk
breathing exercises (pranayama)
mantras and chants (from different Sacred Texts - some with beautiful, inspiring music)
work with the different dimensions of the mind and the subconscious
The whole practice is in some sense a kind of Best of Yoga & Meditation practice.
The practice can be done by anyone and does not require any special fitness or flexibility. At the same time, it plays with our personal limits. In some longer practice or meditation, it takes discernment as to what kind of self-love is called for:
Is there a sharp pain that forces me to give up or pause, and is it about embracing myself within my limits?
Or is it about expanding my boundaries, observing my mind in the process, and staying with the exercise?
The practices (and the teachings associated with it) come primarily from the Sikh tradition - with no requirement to join that tradition. At the same time, one connects to what is called the golden chain of teachers (what we call the lineage), which begins with Guru Nanak in the 15th century. The sacred texts of these teachers are a treasure trove of wisdom with a very special vibration. Reciting them (both in the original Gurmukhi or in German or English) is a practice in itself that I have come to appreciate. At the same time, these texts - similar to the sacred texts of Judaism, which I fell in love with through Marc - are constantly being reinterpreted and expanded, which means that they (can) in some way evolve.
Already Guru Nanak did not come from the Brahmin caste, but was a merchant. Therefore, the practice was developed especially for the so-called householders. It leads directly into everyday life - into the living of your Dharma. The term Dharma, as it is used here, in contradistinction to our usage of the term at the Center, may well be considered synonymous with what we call Unique Self. Alternatively, we can translate the idiom from Karma to Dharma as from Fate to Destiny.
One can start with small commitments (e.g. a 3 minute meditation) to a daily 2 ½ hour practice (sadhana) - the tenth of the day. I have now reached a daily practice of 1 ½ - 2 ½ hours.
All of this is available in online offerings now, so there’s really nothing in the way of getting started.
The deeper I dive in and the more I read about it, the more fascinated I am by it all.
In September, I will start regular Kundalini Yoga classes (in German) in Gerolzhofen and online (in hybrid format) - probably Tuesdays 18:30-20:00.
If you are interested, please contact me.
The location will be provided upon registration.