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Lila – Encountering Kundalini Yoga

People magazine
KUNDALINI YOGA ISRAEL
Encountering Kundalini Yoga
by
Lila (Lea Silberg)

There are moments in your life when you take a turn and a path opens up before you. You know so deep in your heart that you have been presented with a gift. The gift is a key which you will use to unlock yourself from a self-imposed prison that has been your comfort zone for too long.
I had no prior experience or knowledge about the Kundalini technology, the lifestyle or about Yogi Bhajan. I knew that something unknown was being revealed to me and when I took the key I just dove in. I was welcomed in to totally unknown territory and like Alice in Wonderland I dropped down the rabbit hole and found myself in a weird, daunting and exciting new world with people dressed in white, music and chanting in a language that was so strange and yet so familiar. On the first day we read from the manual.

“Energy is not created or destroyed, it merely changes from one form to another”-Einstein.
I had learnt this when I was 10. I was thrilled by this knowledge and knew then, on that day that this is the Truth but as a child I had no idea how it applied to my life. So when, on the first day of the teacher training, I read it in the manual of Kundalini Yoga I realized that I had been given the sign that this is the Path for me. I was exhilarated and full of excitement but I did not know how to contain this Joy. I tried to stay calm and follow the Kriyas and meditations. As an Ashtanga and Vinyasa teacher I was in excellent physical shape. Yet during the classes I found myself incapable of holding my arms up for longer than 30 seconds before I was shaking and crying. I just could not ignore how the feelings were rising so fast and I could not control them. I had lost the ground under me and I followed in blind faith because something in me said this is it. Within this turmoil of emotions I could only recognize the alternating feelings of terror and elation.

Moving from a comfort zone (no matter how bad it is) to the unknown is terrifying. I perpetually felt uneasy, overwhelmed, ashamed to be seen and afraid not to be seen. I was afraid to speak. I felt worthless and incapable. So much hidden pain began to rise out of me and I felt as if I was choking, I was dying and all I wanted to do was run. The panic overtook me and I had to get out of there. Once the weekend was over I was happy but as the following weekend approached I felt dread.
Every weekend it was the same. I asked myself what is going on. Everyone was so kind, open, relaxed, at ease and well adjusted. I just felt totally lost, but I kept coming back until I could take it no more. It took all my courage to say that I must leave.

After 6 months I left the teacher training and I returned to teach Classic Yoga in many centers in Tel Aviv. I loved it. I got my voice back again. I felt comfortable. I was back to business, calm, in control, happy I thought. So I taught and continued my studies, self-enquiry and continued my travels to India as I had done before. But within a year it soon became perfectly clear that something was missing. I had come to a complete stand still. No matter how deep I delved or how much I studied, taught and practiced, I knew that there was something in the Kundalini practice that I wanted to experience. It was stronger than anything I had ever felt. I accepted that there is no way one can deny one’s soul the opportunity to bare itself and to shine.
I was prepared to die again to go through every hardship. I had had a glimpse of Home and I wanted to get there, no matter what.

I was welcomed back with open arms and I delved in. I took it step by step, cried buckets, used up countless boxes of tissues and the pain just kept coming up. I wanted to know when it would stop and yet I stayed faithfully committed. There were breakthroughs, breakdowns and moments of pure Bliss. By the time I completed the teacher training and knew that I had more to experience, more to learn and tears kept coming.

Flash forward.

Level 2 Mind and Meditation: We had spent the first 3 days studying with Shiv before Guru Dharam came to complete the course. We went to bed and were told to stay silent till the next day. After breakfast we started doing a series of long challenging meditations, one after the other. In the late afternoon the next simple meditation was demonstrated.

The mantra:-AadaysTisaiAadaysAadAneelAnaadAnaahat Jug JugAykoVays-
On each line that we chanted we had to raise(or lower) our arms together.

“Begin” said Guru Dharam.

The pain starts a few minutes into the meditation but the chanting keeps you going. The mind however starts to speed up and I heard, “you can’t do this…it is insane” and then the voice says “you can and you will”. “It’s impossible” I hear and then the voice says “who said that? Was it your mother? No, I can do it. I shall do this” …”come on “, I hear “you have never been able to do this, you have made others believe you can but you really cannot”.

I continue chanting. I have no idea how long we have to go. I am trying to ignore the voices in my head and I am screaming the mantra over and over and moving my arms in unison with the group “AadaystisaiaadaysAadAneelAnaadAnaahat Jug JugAykoVays-” and suddenly in my heart I hear “I shall never give up – I can do it, I can do it, I shall do it for every time in my life that I heard I cannot”. I continue. “One step at a time. Up, down, up, down” and the voices “this cannot go on forever, just lift your arms up and bring them down, You can do it”. I look at Ronit next to me and I feel the bond, “you are not alone, you are a powerful being, nothing will stop you”, AadaystisaiaadaysAadAneelAnaadAnaahat Jug JugAykoVays-

I hear Guru Dharam say 10 minutes left, We were shouting the mantra, no, we are all screaming the mantra and there are moments that it feels as if our arms are being lifted in unison effortlessly. The pain returns and we chant over and over again. We are supporting each other. We are one and we keep going. “AadaystisaiaadaysAadAneelAnaadAnaahat Jug JugAykoVays-

“Inhale”, I hear, and it’s over. We start laughing and my arms drop and I cannot lift them. I am in disbelief but in Bliss. Hadass comes over and I say “I cannot feel my arms. I am telling them to lift but they do not hear”…she massages my muscles and they reconnect to my body.

The incessant crying stopped that day. It was like someone just switched off the tap. Although I have cried many times since it is a different experience. It was on that day the great mass of sadness left me. My life had taken a turn.
This experience was worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears. I would do it again. The reward is priceless.

There is a moment when you do the impossible. You break out of jail and you are free to be yourself.
“Happiness is your birthright”- Yogi Bhajan
And it is.

As a teacher I want to inspire as I have been inspired. I want to support as I have been supported. I want my students to soar like a bird and experience the perfection that they are. I want them to present themselves as the gift they are to the world. Sat Nam.

Footnote:
(Translation of Mantra-All honor to the One, Hail the Primal Being whose attributes cannot be described, Who is without beginning, the Unstruck Sound, and whose form is One through every Age.
This mantra is believed to instill the entire knowledge of the Universe without ever reading a book. It is the yogi’s humble bowing to the infinite.

From Yogi Bhajan’s Lecture on Self Reverence 02/26/1996

“In this Slok, he totally completes the human anatomy, excellence, process, projection in the clearest words which one can understand. He says it with absolute clarity, sparing nothing.
Guru Nanak salutes God as a yogi, by using the yogi’s salute: Aadays. Aadays means, “I salute Thou.”)

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