Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Losing My Mind in Mantra.

Ong Namo.

Guru Dev Namo.

I weakly, at first, repeat this mantra while holding a thigh-burning asana called "chair pose." Though the burn builds, the collective drone of our voices starts to soothe my mind into "off mode." I don't really think about what I'm doing as I become lost in the repetition of this brand-new-to-me yoga class. It's called kundalini yoga, and the Wikipedia definition is as follows:

Kundalini yoga (Sanskrit: कुण्डलिनी, kuṇḍalinī = '"coiled" + योग, yoga = "to yoke") is a physical, mental and spiritual discipline for developing strength, awareness, character, and consciousness. Practitioners call Kundalini Yoga the yoga of awareness because it focuses on the expansion of sensory awareness and intuition in order to raise individual consciousness and merge it with the Infinite consciousness of God. As a form of yoga and meditation, Kundalini's purpose is to cultivate the creative spiritual potential of a human to uphold values, speak truth, and focus on the compassion and consciousness needed to serve and heal others.

Kundalini is like no yoga I've experienced - and thank goodness I found it today, because it's exactly the awakening I needed. The chanting of meaningful mantras (the one above means "I call upon the divine creative consciousness//I call upon the divine wisdom within") and a repeated "bow-to" asana definitely pushed my comfort zone, but eventually, it melted away in surrender.

Your "chakras" can be nurtured through kundalini yoga.
Surrender became the theme of this experience.

At the end of the long-held five or six poses came deep relaxation. The volunteer guru (we're at the SLC Krishna Temple in a donation-based class) stood up and walked his barefeet toward a giant cymbal.

"We're going to do gong meditation," he soothed. "The gong emits the same sound as the cosmos. If you recorded the sound of space, this is what you would hear."

In the dark multi-purpose temple room, an ethereal ebb-and-flow of sound swallows me as I lay in savasana. I feel launched into the dark abyss of space as stars swirl and planets whiz past me. Thoughts of daily life try to reclaim my imagination, but the gong grows loud, and overpowers the thoughts. I feel so helpless to its command, that my mind can only muster, "I surrender." I internally begin to repeat the phrase as my mantra, as the supernatural, cosmic boom reverbs around my eardrums for the rest of meditation.


Mantras in yoga can seem religious - even tedious, but as they broke my thought process and seemingly shook the spirituality back into me, I realized they hold great benefit. After class, as I sipped the guru's homemade (cayenne pepper-filled) "yogi tea," I am in a surrendered state, wide-eyed and accepting of what's happening now

Sat Nam. (a greeting similar to 'namaste' meaning 'I honor your true identity,' or soul.)

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