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.

July begins Monday. How exciting! Not for any particular reason, but I do love beginning anew.

I’ve had the habit in the past of keeping up with monthly, weekly and daily planning. It always helped keep me on track much better than flying by the seat of my pants. Still, life is life and it gets away for you, so it’s been a few months since I’ve been able to thoroughly plan.

Not this July though. I’ve got plans.

First up: videos. I’ve been challenged to do a month of stream-of-consciousness videos by a friend and mentor of mine. I decided to wait out the turbulence of this past month with all it’s excitement and my subsequent struggles, but I’m excited to get to it. I’ve decided that posting them to the blog will be a great way of renewing my vitality here too, officially beginning the second half of the year of my commitment to daily blogging!

This upcoming month of videos will be very different from the videos I did for April. Those videos were undefined and the goal was simply to get a video out each day. I learned a lot doing that, but this will go a bit beyond that goal, as this time around I will be speaking from the heart straight into the camera… I anticipate many new lessons!

Secondly: I am going to be starting a workout challenge with my sister. I’m very excited about this as I always do better at challenges when I have accountability. It’ll be fun to be working from set workouts as well, as my self-inspired workouts can get a bit boring and repetitive after a while.

Thirdly: I will be carving out more time for my own studies, projects and collaborations. I’ve learned that I need to set aside specific time for these goals or they get pushed to the side again and again. I’m excited for the opportunities this will create but also know it will be difficult – yay for opportunities to grow!

Lastly: I’m beginning another 40-day Sadhana tomorrow that will run the entire course of July, finishing the 8th of August. My focus for this commitment will be strengthening and purifying my will. I will be utilizing the Nabhi kriya as well as the Mul Mantra in conjunction with personal Reiki to center, clarify and inspire my personal power.

To kick off the month, I have yoga and meditation scheduled at my local studio and healing center. Attending classes has also fallen by the wayside recently, so this will be a nice way of getting myself back in the door and setting a precedent for the coming month.

I’m telling all of you this because this blog and many of my readers have become invaluable source of accountability for me. I do not anticipate being perfect at all of these goals, but I’m excited to have them. I’m excited for a month of coming back to my practices and reinvigorating my commitments.

Cheers to July! It’s gonna be so hard, and so much fun!

So here I go – my first post based on a prompt from the app Paperblanks: “a time that I felt really strong was…”

Nothing simply sprang to mind, but I’ve thought about it for a little while and now I am trying to decide between a few instances.

Standing up to my father and denouncing his religion was the first to come to mind. Followed by the second time I stood up to him and subsequently estranged myself from his toxicity… But then I turned inward.

Image: Internet

I revisited memories from Apotheosis 1.0 and though percieved somewhat antithetical, I recalled my vulnerability with complete strangers and openness to deep healing as some of the strongest moments of my life…

Then I returned to more confrontational memories, particularly of resisting the manipulations of my ex-husband when he has reached out in the past couple years… Encouraged by both my forgiveness as well as my insistent and unmoving boundaries. Proud of myself for finding the balance between not having to use anger to protect myself and also not taking on his issues as a result of my love and consequently enabling him again…

Image: Internet

Finally, I rested on something much more recent and up until now, entirely private. A beautiful, powerful and transformative experience that happened just this past week, during my routine Sadhana practice.

I was doing my Sadhana in the evening, which happens usually when I haven’t yet gotten to my practice yet for the day. Still, this experience wasn’t something rushed in before bed, it was organic and expansive.

I started with dancing. I haven’t ever done that before, but I put on the Mool Mantra and was immediately saturated with primal sensuality. The mantra is played 11 times in the version I listen to, lasting just over 11 minutes – and I had hit repeat before I knew it. A deep, beautiful rhythmic sensation filled my whole body with expressions of joy and life. I was even belly dancing and laughing with complete abandon.

Once I finally made it to my mat, there was no cessation of the embodied inspiration. I extended my Sadhana again and again, feeling inexplicably whole and interconnected, I just didn’t ever want to stop.

I sweat as I moved in deliberate repetition through my chosen kriyas. I blead as my playful kitteh Sammi chased his tail next to me and caught my leg with a swipe of his paw – but I didn’t even notice how deep his nails had gone until I saw the blood on my mat. I cried, again and again, overcome with the serenity, bliss and gratitude of just being…

THIS. This experience not only made me feel strong, it opened me up to witness my strengths in brand new ways. I was reminded of my soul, my purpose and that inherently I am love.

Image: Internet

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!