I have categorized my life into two main chapters: before kundalini and after kundalini. Of course, there are many sub chapters and wordy interludes, but to say that kundalini has changed my life is not an exaggeration.
Exactly one year before I found kundalini, I had a traumatic wake up call after witnessing and assisting in an accident in which a pedestrian was fatally struck by a car right outside my bedroom window. I was the second person at the scene, and I remember everything. I remember holding the weeping woman who hit the young man, carrying her across the street as she was passing out from shock. We held hands as she lay in my lap. I remember the young man fighting through his last breath in his mangled body, and I remember experiencing the beautiful irony of the polarity of life and death (is it death?), though not yet understanding the grace and beauty of it all.
Along with the traumatic visuals of the accident, all of the emotions that I had suppressed for my 23 years in this lifetime came rushing to the surface at once. I spent the next year inquiring into my beliefs, and looking at how I was choosing to structure my own reality.
I noticed all of the ways that I was operating from a place of avoidance, fear, and lack of self love and respect. I saw that my early morning half-marathon runs and weekend 75+ mile bike rides through the Malibu mountains were not coming from a place of kindness towards myself. I was trying to prove to myself that I was worthy and lovable by beating up my body, running from my worst fears of not being enough, and pushing my body to places and things that it didn’t want to do. I had spent so much of my life running from my own self until right now, when I had no other choice but to stop so that we could meet each other again.
After the accident, I was bouncing between euphoria and sadness. When I recognized my own totality in the vastness of life, I was euphoric, and would feel merged with my surroundings in complete bliss. Still, old subconscious thought forms and unresolved childhood traumas were bubbling to the surface, and would bring on heavy sadness.
My nervous system was incredibly weak, and I felt so raw and sensitive that it was hard to go out in public. There was a constant base-operating state of fear and anxiety, and I did not know how to move these stuck emotions out that had structured my reality thus far. I tried many different avenues, but still felt that there was overthinking and victimizing behavior that was involved in those methods. I was calling in the sheer willpower that I had used during my long training days to find the strength to move forward, open up, and allow in something new.
I turned to music, my stable master at the time, and upon discovering the glory of mantra music, I started to break patterns and bloom. Soon after this, I heard that there was an entire practice that utilized the sound currents of mantras to strengthen, deepen, and expand consciousness. I was intrigued to hear of this apparently mysterious “kundalini” yoga. I procrastinated my practice until I started having dreams about kundalini, and finally found myself sitting in class with a teacher I had never heard of called Guru Jagat.
After that class, there was no going back. I had never experienced anything other than the ocean that had such powerful grace, and still, I saw the ocean as outside of myself. But this, kundalini, was awakening something inside of myself that I had not yet touched. There was no name yet for what was lighting up my body and my own entire universe.
I felt the magic of the cohesive energetic grid created in class, and could feel the sparkling of energy rise up my spine through strange postures. I tried to judge the postures and the strangeness of holding my hands above my head with one finger pointed up towards the sky while chanting “Sat Nam”, but before any judgement could make its way into my experience, it dissolved in the profoundly high vibrational energy that was rushing through my body. I had no choice but to surrender to the bliss of what was carrying me through. It felt as if my desert-dry reality was being drenched in a beautiful shower of rain. Sat Kriya has been a part of my practice ever since.
The more that I practiced, the more I was shedding skin and opening up. All of the protective barriers that I had put up were crumbling, and I noticed that I didn’t have to operate in the world from fear that something bad was going to happen to me – it is ok to let the light shine through. I had this realization during my third kundalini class, about 25 minutes into an extremely uncomfortable meditation which felt like my shoulders were going to snap off. Tears that I would have normally hid from the public streamed down my face as I began to feel safe in this body, safe in this world, safe in this universe. I’ve got me now.
I never even had the language to understand what was going on inside my body – that the fear and anxiety was partially due to my weakened nervous system, and my exhausted adrenals were also at play, as was the sheer lack of prana in my body. I grew in confidence just knowing that there was something that I could do to reduce my discomforts and subconscious thought forms. It was a feeling of what may be referred to as hope.
Finally, all of my athletic drive could be used to fuel my body with so much prana, so much love. I used to think that the concept of self love was incredibly cliché, until I actually opened to it. Until I actually surrendered to the expression of life as love that was swirling through my body waiting to touch the physical world, did I understand the beauty of it.
I began to forget about being a victim. Prana and strange postures were far more interesting. I noticed that it was an addictive mindset to continue operating my life as a victim, and there was a portal of grace opening up to show me the way. One micro-inch at a time, my body and mind surrendered until the practice shoved me in – I became completely immersed.
The opening continues still with no indication of any particular destination. Of course there are times during my practice that I experience the pieces of myself that I am less comfortable confronting, but by choosing to sit with them, I have only ever opened to a greater, deeper reality of myself. This reality of myself is what I spent so much time running from and looking externally for – the reality that I am actually the one that I have been waiting for. It is my own love that would light up my soul.
I still have no idea what I’m learning most of the time that I’m sitting and standing in strangely magical positions, but with a little bit of breath and pure surrender, I let the masters and teachers guide me into grace, into myself. There is no end to this practice – there is only deeper. All I know right now is that I am here to experience some great force of my own infinite capacity, and so are you. Sat Nam.
— Marta Ulbricht, Writer
To read more of Marta’s writing, visit: martaleigh.com/blog/