I’m laying on the floor of the quiet yoga studio, accompanied by mats, books and a couple sleeping yogis. We just completed our first official Aquarian Sadhana and we’re taking a break before teacher training officially starts up for the second day.

Do I look tired? ‘Cause I feel tired!

I got up before 4am to make it here by 5 – not something I’ve never done in my life, but certainly not my usual. Per my self, I was up until almost midnight last night, partially because I had to write yesterday’s blog but mostly because it was nighttime and I always come alive at night. Needless to say, 4am came mighty early and there were at least a couple moments during our Sadhana shavasana and meditations that I felt myself waking, so I imagine I was drifting off to sleep despite myself.

Of course, now that I have an hour to rest, my coffee has fully kicked it! Alas, I am settling for a reclined position and getting ahead with this post (mostly so that when I get home later I can pass out without worrying about it lol). Seems like a good plan, albeit sleeping right now would be better.

What is a Sadhana?

“What is Sadhana? It’s a committed prayer. It is self-enrichment. It is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best.”

-Yogi Bhajan

In Kundalini yoga, we are encouraged to have a personal practice or Sadhana. Most often Sadhana’s happen in the morning before the start of the day. This is so that the entire day experiences the benefits of your practice, but it is possible to practice it at other times. The important thing is to have a disciplined daily practice in which you show up to meet with the divine and align with your highest (least dense/frustrated) self.

A Sadhana can be simple. I’ve heard from our trainer that we will be assigned a 3-minute daily practice for the weeks in between this training and the next 3-day weekend intensive in order to simply start making the habit for ourselves. However, traditional Sadhanas are 2 1/2 hours long and some, like the Aquarian Sadhana, follow a strict kriya and meditation schedule.

My First Taste of Tradition

I have been attempting to create my own Sadhana practice for months, if not over a year already. Throughout this period of time I have experience stints where my intentions have been very successful, yet there have been other breaking points that have proven more distracting and difficult for whatever reason (grandma’s health scares this summer and prepping for my showcase last month both come to mind). I am certainly excited to start trying again though, especially gradually and with the support of my trainer and the other students.

That being said, I think my longest personal Sadhana to date was probably just over an hour. This morning’s experienced easily doubled that and had me squirming (when I wasn’t falling asleep).

There were moments this morning (and yesterday, and during White Tantra last weekend…) when my ego was SCREAMING at me: “what do you think you’re doing? Whyyyyy? You hate this! STOP! Your back hurts, your hips hurt, your knees hurt… You can’t even stop fidgeting, you’ve already failed, just GIVE UP!” Yet, it can’t seem to understand that all its desperate pleadings and bullying only serve to convince me of my need for this practice even more.

Progress, not Perfection

The thing is, Kundalini is a personal practice. Most of the kriyas and meditations are done with your eyes closed, specifically to encourage deep internal personal reflection and growth. That means, no one is watching me and my ego squirm, they’re all dealing with there own devils – no, on this mat it’s just me, Spirit and my ego.

I see me squirm. I hear the voice of my mean and cruel ego trying to bully me. I experience the subtle and gentle encouragements of Spirit: “keep going, you’ve got this, YOU ARE SO STRONG! Rest if you must, this is for you.”

Sadhana, even the traditional Aquarian Sadhana, isn’t about obtaining perfection. There’s no right or wrong way to show up on your mat, the key is showing up. The daily discipline then contributes to progress.

There are few joys as rich and fulfilling as witnessing your own progress, personally, with only Spirit and your ego as witnesses. Small things, like bending a little deeper, filling your lungs a little more and holding a posture for even just a second longer than last time become milestones and PROOF that you truly can overcome all those nasty little things your ego wants to get on you about.

It is in the difficulties that we are given the opportunity to build true strength.

mayryanna

Alright, back to class. Love and blessings my dears!

Showing up for the Yin yoga class my sister teaches at our local wellness center last night, I was cheerfully greeted by one of my Kundalini teachers at the front desk. “Oh Mayry! I’m so glad you’re here, it’s so good to see you!” Her smile was so big her eyes scrunched together to make room.

Now, this isn’t uncommon for the vibes at Taspens, but last night was also special because I had just officially registered for the Kundalini teacher training course they will be offering in the fall. I beamed right back at her, filled with joy and excitement for being a part of this incredible local tribe.

I was a bit early for the Yin class and began some light conversation. The owner of Taspens and a woman I consider a personal guru of mine joined in as well. She also teaches Kundalini and was excited to let me know a few of my next steps.

“I’ll schedule a call with the teacher for you, to discuss a few things,” she said, and then went on to mention the mandatory Saturday Sadhana practices during the course and signing the code of conduct at the end to get our certification. I nodded along in agreement, smiling.

Suddenly, my attention shifted though, “the code is essentially a commitment to the yogic lifestyle. So, trying for a vegetarian diet, abstaining from drugs…” Right there, “uh oh,” I thought as I shifted uneasily on my feet.

Honoring My Truth

I have been leaning vegetarian for the last dozen years but, no drugs? Given that I just found my hag stone after my plant medicine retreat in June and, according to my own personal beliefs, have thus been officially called to the Shamanic path, I worried this might actually be a problem.

“So…” I started, interrupting the flow of chatter between the teachers, “if I were unable to sign the code because I’ve been called to the Shamanic path, would I still be able to take the course?” I asked, nervously.

Shamanism is a part of my path for sure, but I’ve also been called to Kundalini. Not being able to reconcile the too seemed completely wrong – Pachamama had come to me through Ayahuasca AND through Kundalini, how could they be opposed?

“Yes,” both teachers exclaimed, looking at me and then each other, then back at me. They started, “and it’s just about trying your best, we understand some people have to eat meat for medical reasons… Maybe just try it for 40 days, you might be surprised…”

I cut in again, “I have no problem with the diet, it’s just that… I am called to the utilization of ‘drugs’ on a ceremonial basis for medicinal and religious purposes.” They seemed to finally understand what I meant now, their eyes widening to fully ingest what I was saying. “Oh, no, well – he just wants to get everything out in the open up front so there are no suprises when it’s time to sign the code… But, you will talk to him so you can mention that. If at the end you don’t sign, that will always be your choice to make.” My guru finished, half-smiling.

The big smile returned to my face and both teachers responded with large smiles blooming across theirs as well. “Okay awesome,” I sighed, relieved.

Embracing the Unknown

Now, some may wonder, “what’s the point of taking Kundalini teacher training if you know you won’t be able to get certified?!” And honestly, I don’t blame them.

In this world of achievement laden “value,” it would seem I am setting out to rob myself. After all, the certification is the reason for undergoing any professional training, is it not? Well, I suppose it’s not for me.

Some might say I should just lie, or withhold the truth, sign the code anyway. Others might tell me I need to really consider the code and whether I truly feel called to both of these seemingly “contradictory” paths, or even something to the tune of “perhaps your plant medicine experiences are behind you and this is the next step in your development?” To be sure, I’ve thought all these things for myself already too.

But, I cannot lie. Fundamentally, my commitment to authenticity and truth is what has aligned me with my path, and subsequently both of these paths too. And undoubtedly, I feel beyond called to both of them, I am already connected and intertwined with them spiritually. Finally, given the parts that plant medicine has played in my past, I cannot in good consciousness banish all plant medicines from my life in the future – regardless of how well meaning my intention is in doing so.

No, the mental gymnastics to be done here are not to rectify me to the norm – it’s the opposite. I will be a Kundalini Shaman and I will learn to walk this line with grace and appreciation.

Letting Mayryanna Bloom

Somehow it all seems better suited anyway… I’m not just a guru, I’m a Rockstar Guru. I’m not just a yogi, I’m a Rebel Yogi. I’m not just a Shaman, I’m an Modern Eclectic Pagan Medicine Woman who researches and utilizes a variety of ancient spiritual healing modalities to live my authentically powerful life to the fullest – all without shame, malice or discontentment.

I don’t need a certificate. I will proudly slap “Unofficial” to the front of my teacher title and gratefully explain my why to everyone who cares.

This “inconvenient truth” will not detract from me at all, no. This will only empower me more. By allowing myself unpopular distinctions, I will emerge unparalleled.

By allowing myself unpopular distinctions, I will emerge unparalleled.

So, after some careful reflections and considerations, I’m even more excited to study Kundalini now! Certification shmertification – nothing compares to a soul that fully embraces its fate, inconveniences and all (shout out to Nietzsche for his concept of Amor Fati). I am simply grateful for the opportunity to learn, to grow and to further become this gloriously inglorious woman: Mayryanna.

I am opening myself completely to the transformative power of spirit

Today was a glorious day. I slept well for the first time in over a week, I’m feeling healthy again, I woke up and did my Sadhana before taking a long shower and then headed out to my local healing center.

I started my rejuvenating outing with a Kundalini class, we did a kriya focused on the solar plexus chakra and core. Very suitable for the Scorpio full moon and all its transformative power and personal truth vibes.

I then enjoyed an Ion Foot Detox, which was brown/orange (blood/joints) this month. Last month’s was black (liver/heavy metal).

Ion Detox time!

Finally, my day at Taspens concluded with Community Acupuncture, which far exceeded my expectations. I’ve had acupuncture before but this was combined with sound healing and it was an absolutely divine experience.

I selected the “spiritual opening” placement for my needles and my mantra for the experience was “I am opening myself completely to the transformative power of spirit.” I had a blissful meditation with many visuals and am still vibrating from the experience…

All in all – ahhhhh… I love my chosen path, I live being a student of connection and mindfulness. I love living my life. I am so blessed and so grateful – definitely feeling the renewal I was hoping for!

So, I’ve been having some trouble with my dieta… Ot perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that my dieta is having some trouble with me.

Being sick and perpetually building upon my sleep debt all week has left me with less than peak self-control levels. Though I haven’t necessarily made any big mistakes, I’ve relaxed into a bit of apathy here and there and haven’t been as sure of my clean eating… and I’ve even skipped some of my Sadhanas this week.

Rather than get upset with myself though, I’m applying one of the skills I’ve been thought in Kundalini by releasing my guilt and being grateful for myself just as I am. I’m extending compassion to the imperfect parts of my being and holding myself in grace.

That being said, I’ll be applying another Kundalini principle as well and recommitting myself to my dieta and my Sadhana. I’m feeling much better, my sickness is all but healed, and starting tomorrow I will be beginning anew. No threads of disappointment or disciplinary action will accompany me and rather, I will rejuvenate my devotion with self-care and celebration.

Appropriately, tomorrow is also the Scorpio full moon. This is a time of deep passions and getting to the core of our truth. I’m excited to observe this and my renewal at my local healing center with 5 hours of yoga, mantra, meditation, detox, acupuncture and a sound bath.

I am so blessed to have this incredible local center and to be connected with a community that nourishes, supports and builds my best self up time and time again. I feel it is only more appropriate to recommit from this place of encouragement and connection as I prepare to join my global tribe for yet more healing at my upcoming retreat.