A Personal Journey – Sara Pitcher
I have worked on writing why I love Kundalini multiple times. And each time I tear the page out of my notebook, crumple it up, and aim a throw towards my garbage. If it is something that I love so much, then why would it be so hard to write about it? For a while, I wanted to write something beautiful and meaningful and inspirational. After a while I realized that these words were not for me, but for others who may read this. I wanted to explain my journey and how I stumbled upon joining Sacred Space and going through Transformational Journeys and Teacher Trainings. Which, yes, is all inclusive in why I love Kundalini; however there is something more than all I have learned through my journey which I have learned to love. Most importantly, Kundalini yoga has taught me to love myself. We have a tendency to love the best part of ourselves. We allow our ego to praise our accomplishments, all that we have done. It keeps our darkness in the shadow so when it comes to surface we become angry at ourselves our disappointed in others in how they could bring out the worst in ourselves. What this technology has taught me and what I now accept is to love all of me. I love myself for getting angry or jealous or irrational. And I love myself for allowing my existence to face ALL experiences of being a human. The thing is that we so often want to connect to an emotion and we allow it to overcome our entire existence, forcing us to miss out on the evolving world around us. When I feel an emotion, be it positive or negative, I have learned to love it and work through it. Then let it go. Kundalini Yoga has given me a piece of mind and an option of stability in this world that has me spinning in circles. Before practicing Kundalini, I taught myself how to be conscious and aware. I had gone through deep spiritual awakenings with the help of hallucinogenics and with the help of a deep spiritual practice. Little did I know, I was expanding my awareness. During these experiences, it felt amazing; leaving me with more love and light. Through the practice of Kundalini I have been able to realize the significance of these experiences and how they have shaped me into the woman I have come today. Through this technology I have come to the understanding of what it means to be connected with all beings and see how my projection affects others. I would love to say that I have a pure sense of stability and calmness due to this practice. I would love to say that I am patient and compassionate in all moments of life. However, I am still human. I still have emotions. And that is a beautiful thing to love and experience. If you are interested, I invite you to allow yourself to experience the totality of yourself.
There have been intense moments of Kundalini Yoga where, at times, I thought I was in over my head. Committing to the Transformational Journey led by my teacher and friend, Allison Hutchins, was one of the first big time commitments I had made to myself. My doctor and friend, Paul, told me that I was going to commit before I even knew that I would. The first weekend I was in a meditation which sent me through time and space. At the time, I am not sure where I went or how I got there. But the experience was real. I felt the salty air on my face and the warm water on my feet as I stood on a rocky beach. I told this to Allison and her response (which I cannot specifically recall) allowed me to feel safe and visionary. This was my second vision I have had but not so specific. Six months later I found myself on the magical island of Dominica, on a rocky beach, feeling the salty air on my face, feeling like I have been there before. It was a moment of surrender towards that when we see something and feel something we should not ignore it. Without the practice of Kundalini, I would not have found myself on the island having the most transformative week of my life. I have envisioned, through dreams, moments of my past lives. Which to me always sounded like a waste of time. But through these dreams, I began to understand the real meaning of karmic energy. Being a good person, is well simply put, just a good thing to do. I began to understand that my karmic energy is the unresolved business of my past lives. It led me to finding my path to helping others, specifically veterans with PTSD. It is leading me to my destiny of incorporating this technology as a means of healing those who may need it most.
During a emotionally trying time of my life I was unsure of my place in this world. I had not found my path and I was uncertain of my identity. It caused me to be physically ill. I went to the hospital one evening unable to breathe. The doctors said the cartilage between my ribcages was inflamed; possibly due to skiing multiple days in a row with much use of a face mask. This was logical. But something told me there was something else going on, but I couldn’t explain it. One week later, there was a transformational journey weekend at Sacred Space. I swore up and down that I would not go. My boyfriend, who has been extremely supportive of my yoga journey, convinced me to go. I felt that I would hold the group back by having a non-uplifting energy. Allison organized a tantric healing circle. I was ashamed to be a part of it. I could not sing the mantra, I had no breathe to support it. I was overwhelmed by the healing and loving energy that surged through me as I sat next to my boyfriend, Mike, and life-coach Kate. When we were finished, Allison played the gong, which I was sitting in front of. The tears would not stop pouring from my eyes and I understood the meaning of an energetic illness. It was the first time that I understood that our emotions and our thoughts can be just as toxic to our bodies as chemicals, substances, germs, and the elements.
I am also a certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher. The process taught me more about myself than I could ever imagine that I would have known. It was time of realization, of hope, of questioning, of understanding. What Kundalini Yoga does is give you the exact experience that you need. I can fairly say that sometimes it simply sucks. You want to scream, you want to cry. The most important part of the practice is that it makes you just want to BE. It brings you to a place of self awareness that it makes you understand that the world is a crazy place but there is always something that you can count on, which is yourself; if you can only give yourself the opportunity for the experience. It is not about being able to do every pose or exercise as well as everyone else. It is not even about being able to do anything at all. What I have learned is that, in any moment of life, is that you grant yourself permission to have an experience. Nothing guarantees that it will be good or bad, but it can be guaranteed that you can learn and grow from every moment of life. Kundalini Yoga allows you to open the doors to have that direct experience with yourself. I think that after almost two years of practicing, I can love deeper. I have more to offer for myself which allows me to spread that knowledge, wisdom, and awareness to others. And without an agenda of transforming others to love Kundalini, but just to love themselves. And this is why I love the practice. I love those I practice with. And now I can honestly say that I love myself.
A Personal Journey – Alli Hutchins
My love of yoga began as a child. I loved to watch Lilias, the Public TV Yogi get into interesting positions after Sesame Street was over. I was four years old. My mother, thinking that I could not have been interested would turn off the TV, which would only make me more curious. Although I had no experience of yoga other than those brief images on the television set, the memory and the feelings they produced imprinted my young psyche.
A decade and a half later, and into my early twenties, I found myself searching for center in almost every aspect of my life. Confused, angry, resentful for whatever I found was not working in my daily existence, I sought out the anesthesia that would ease my discomfort. I found that I could disappear into my relationships, into drugs, into the stories I would tell myself, had been told and learned to believe. I moved from one thing or another at a desperate speed. The thought of being Still frightened me and even though I have a natural enthusiasm, something about the way I moved was uneasy. I was not totally aware of this at the time. I did not consciously realize how afraid I was of myself. I was in a lot of pain.
I got sick. For years the abuse of my body, my childhood sensitivities to chemicals, the air, animals, and nature had separated me from most everything that most people find great enjoyment from. A cancer scare and exhaustion had taken a toll on me. I retreated from people I loved and who deeply cared for me. I sought solace in strangers and moved away from family. My father died when I was seven months pregnant and then, at 25 I had a baby, a beautiful baby girl who changed my life. Through her eyes, I began to see myself, slowly. I ended some bad relationships and some good ones. I crawled my way, practically learning how to become a self I could like. I fumbled but some sort of path was being paved before me.
I got sick again. A large Pituitary tumor that threatened my sight, my brain and my life. The questions and the search for understanding began in earnest. Time became a commodity I suddenly acknowledged. I tried to surrender. I sat with it. I read, researched, studied. I got married, added a baby boy and was now the mother of two. We bought a house and I took responsibility of my life as an adult. A fire and determination had been ignited in me and I felt a courage and strength I had never before allowed to guide me. I began to meditate and study the great masters and teachers of spiritual wisdom. I attended workshops and healing symposiums. I got a tarot deck, studied astrology, received healings and insights into the emotional roots of disease. I worked with Native American Shamans, Medical Doctors, renowned Teachers and Healers. I became a vegetarian. I developed a daily practice and a health conscious discipline. I found Hatha yoga, got certified as a teacher and I decided there was a God. I did everything I could, looked under every rock, around every corner that I could see in order to deal with my situation. I was dogmatic and looking back, somewhat rigid in my quest.
During this transformational time, a Woman’s Hatha Yoga weekend at the Omega Institute in NY was being held in the Spring of 2006. I was there to practice with teachers I admired. My yoga practice was strong and I was dedicated to my hatha discipline. A woman in white came to the stage and her appearance in the midst of all the colorful clothing in the sweaty large room we were sardined in was a breath of fresh air. Her words were simple. She spoke of truth and courage in face of the modern challenges we are confronting. She spoke of commitment and character in a context that was compelling and relevant. She spoke of grief and healing. She talked about the journey we all must take to find our truth and that it is often and most likely paved with great challenge. She asked us to step into we truly are and stop blaming outside events or people for what we feel is missing. She said in the words of her teacher “Now is the time and the time is Now” I was glued to the floor. There was something about the way the words filled the air, a sense of calm urgency came over us. I felt she was talking directly to my heart and soul. Then we began to practice. She led us through what I felt was a crazy, vigorous, much too difficult set of exercises, postures, breath and song. It was so saturating that my head spun until it stopped. It stopped! My constant lists, worries and thoughts were calmed. With all the years of different exercise, running, walking, swimming and Hatha yoga, something about these movements and sequences created a recipe for an experience that was very profound, very powerful and it grounded me. It was physical, emotional, mental and even very spiritual. The physical experience stayed with me for over a week. The mental and emotional experience is still with me. The mantras that were played repeated in my head and I could not ignore the changes I was feeling. The set left me feeling strong, my breath was deeper. What was most notable was the sense of calm and opening that I experienced that could not be ignored. And so it began.
I added the meditation we were given to practice for 40 days and after researching sets called “kriyas”, I learned of the health benefits and the opportunities for balance in the body and mind. I was fascinated with its history and its declarations of creating greater joy and happiness in ones life. Now, I know that is the goal of many practices in one way or another, but I particularly loved how this practice integrated sound and movement and breath coupled with stillness and rest. I enjoyed how it created context for all the other practices I was doing and only enhanced the best parts of each. It was deeply personal. Kundalini Yoga felt very different from Hatha yoga because it focuses on moving energy in the body. That is in part why its effects are so powerful. Even western medicine recognizes our bodies are not really solid but are made up of electrons, protons, and neutrons. Magnetic resonance imaging is based on the magnetic resonance or electrical vibration of tissues. Instead of just teaching the biomechanical aspect of how our bodies work, kundalini teaches us how to balance and move the energy of the body similar to the theories of quantum physics.
I began to add specific kriyas and meditations to my classes and the results were even more validating. People started to respond in such a powerful way. Lives were changing. After about a year, my life changed dramatically as well and a chain of evolutionary events occurred in me. In fact I felt as if my world was being rearranged in order to be put back together in a completely different way, reflecting a greater part of myself. An MRI that year showed my tumor was gone. I do not attribute this to any one thing as I have no idea what combinations of practices or events or insights created what I see as a miracle. But I do think the awakening that occurred from the challenge itself and from what it manifested in me had created the changes necessary for healing. I do believe that the practice of Kundalini Yoga made me so much more aware of my habits and thoughts and reactions and relationships, that true change was inevitable and that the impossible became possible. I often say that what is IN our way IS our way. I am still learning to live that notion.
I have gone on to have another baby at 42, naturally at home which was an experience I never thought would happen for me. I am in a powerful partnership in life and in work with my husband Paul who supports my evolution and challenges me to live my truth. We created Metta Center for Conscious Living together in the desire to share the tools for transformation in a context and space that allows for community evolution. We have traveled and taught and been students at the feet of some great teachers. My three children have been added to my list of greatest teachers and throughout this process, I have stumbled and have had my courage tested and I have had amazing experiences that have brought me to my knees. I have faced myself and embraced myself in ways I did not think possible. The truth is within you and it is a process of becoming. I am dedicated to sharing this practice in the most authentic way I know. Helping people become who they already are, facing the dogmas of their own lives as we practice together. Seeking truth as we experience it and as it is revealed to each of us individually and collectively. Creating connection and not division is my greatest desire. It is not always easy to show up for ourselves. In fact I believe it to be the most challenging work there is. I am grateful for all the people and tools and teachers I have met on my path and will continue to move toward that center. Kundalini yoga has changed my life and in turn has helped me to help others in moving through their challenges. It has reminded me that Truth is our essence. Truth is our identity.