I used to be into yoga. Really into yoga. Kundalini Yoga, specifically. Then, I found some pretty disturbing articles about Yogi Bhajan, the man who brought Kundalini Yoga to the U.S., and it creeped me out – so I stopped. I was too afraid to talk about it with my teachers, but I couldn’t bring myself to practice anymore.
A few months later when my anxiety increased, I decided that just because there was a chance Yogi Bhajan wasn’t the man his followers thought he was, didn’t mean his teachings were bad. But I never quite got back on track. After four years of an almost daily, “sadhana” or practice, I thought, “Maybe I don’t need this after all. Maybe I can handle life on my own.”
Ha! I remember my favorite teacher saying, “Never stop practicing.” I thought he was being dramatic, or basing this advice on his many acid-trip (or worse) days during his sabbatical from yoga. I didn’t see drug addiction as a possibility for m, so I didn’t think I had too much to worry about. I thought I was in the clear. Besides, I heard a lot of similar comments from fellow yoga practitioners. I was 17 years old when I graduated from Kundalini Teacher Training, the day after my high school graduation. Everyone said things like, “I wish I had started yoga when I was your age! You’re so lucky!”
On my 18th birthday, I used birthday money to get “Sat Nam” – Truth Is My Name – tattooed on my chest. It’s basically the Kundlini version of Namaste and is stated at the end of every class. I was fairly certain I’d found my spiritual life path.
Since then, a lot has happened. I had a blissful year in Hungary, followed by one life change after another. Some were bad, some were good, but they were all life changes. As you read in this post:
I need a foundation, something to believe, something to come back to, something that assures me that I’m always ok, no matter what, even when I’m not. Was I just naive? Is this possible?
So, who can I blame for this mess I’m in? Change can be so gradual. Early in high school, my thoughts were basically a constant prayer to God. I spent the vast majority of my time either at church, choir, or my Christian rock band. This constant dialogue with God was extremely positive, extremely comforting. I knew no matter what happened, I’d be taken care of.
Then, I started getting interested in things that weren’t necessarily Christian – aka, sex out of wedlock with my super hott choir boyfriend/first love! – and I couldn’t stand the thought of being a hypocrite. Yoga was my replacement. The philosophy really clicked with me, and I felt so peaceful after classes, so grounded. I felt something that I had always thought was underemphasized at church – the God within. Or, in Christian terms, the Holy Spirit.
It was so empowering to know that God is in everything. Everyone. And therefore must be a part of me. In order to feel peace and contentment, all I needed was to get closer to the aspect of God residing in myself.
So, somewhere between stopping my sadhana, the human Ellie has taken control. I’ve let go of my God within, forgotten that I’m perfect, forgotten that I’m taken care of no matter what, and started to believe that the pressure is on me to act right, be right, think right. In this environment, anxiety is welcome, not peace. And depression and anxiety are good friends. Where one sets up camp, the other usually follows.
My “Points” goals are a little unreachable at this point. Everything still feels overwhelming. So this week, these are my only daily goals:
- Yoga – 5 points
- Journal – 3 points
- Plan my lessons – 5 points