“A person who has the patience to allow the mind to go through its antics while remaining firmly planted, will experience something. That “something” is different for each individual, but it will be, in some way or another, a reawakening of the self. With this new awareness comes inner change, then outer change.” ~Shakti Parwha Kaur
All of us need a release of accumulated stress
Our modern world is filled with a lot of information, both helpful and not, and it comes at us hard and fast, starting the instant that we’re born. Our beautiful brains are wired to constantly filter, process, and digest staggering amounts of data (perhaps just not at the level we’re currently asking them to, but that’s a separate blog post!)
I think most agree that the biology we’re born with plus our external environment shape our personalities from day 1 and these personalities eventually come to represent us in the world, showcasing our beliefs and governing our choices. Some humans come into the world with a hearty sense of inner self that stays intact as the external world shapes their outer personalities. Some humans arrive with a more malleable and sensitive inner self that is very porous to outside influence, making them susceptible to morphing into whatever the environment needs, like chameleons*. When there becomes a disconnect between what the world sees in a human (personality or ego) and what’s on the inside of that human (soul or essence) discontent usually follows. Regardless, for every single human, chameleon or not, when the stressors of the external world create too high of a trash heap of unprocessed stress inside of the body, discontent also follows (and many would argue disease follows, too.)
Many of us need to realign our inner and outer worlds and all of us need to release of accumulated stress in the body in order for us all to move through life feeling healthy and fulfilled. Every human’s overall health can benefit from a practice that brings their ego and soul into alignment, strengthens their nerves, and takes out the subconscious trash. You can be your own healer for free, anytime and anywhere. Enter Kundalini Yoga (KY), an ancient tradition with cures for modern life.
*A side note for chameleons: Chameleons are anyone who shape shifts as a coping strategy, whether consciously or subconsciously. I consider chameleons to include highly sensitive people, empaths, people pleasers, and trauma survivors (and more.) I find that if you stray far enough and for long enough from your true self you will eventually start to feel like something is off in your everyday life. This “offness” could feel like a low hum of anxiety or an undercurrent of dissatisfaction or sadness with a life that may even seem quite nice on paper. Or it could be a full blown mental health crisis. And often this “offness” is not something that you can pinpoint easily so don’t be hard on yourself if it snuck up on you and you feel a little or a lot off-track. The good news is that if this is the case for you, everything you need to get back to yourself is already right inside of you. It’s hard work, but you CAN unearth and dust off your intuition and start living from a place of truth, meaning you make everyday and life decisions more from your soul than your “shoulds”. You can be your own healer.
I am a chameleon. On the positive side, I am adaptable and can relate to anyone. On the flip side, I can morph into anything and easily lose myself. When I started practicing KY five plus years ago I became aware of unhealthy coping strategies that had put my intuition on ice and I started to tap into who I am, what I desire, and what I need. I continue to practice most mornings and am now a Certified Kundalini Yoga teacher.
I am sticking with the trash metaphor. Like many healing modalities, KY is energy work. It’s basically a weird trash service. Through breathwork, meditation, movement (minimal, not like vinyasa yoga), mudra (hand placement), and mantra (chanting, but don’t let that deter you), KY excavates the subconscious trash that is stuck inside of us, releases it, and transforms it into positive energy. You may assume you need a complicated solution to your complex problems and may also assume someone else (a coach, teacher, doctor, therapist) has to give you the answers. Sometimes that is the case but no matter what you can be your own healer.
What I like about KY
- It’s a practice to get out of your head & into your body. The breathwork makes meditation possible, it’s the gateway. There’s very little stillness without a specific breathwork technique to keep the mind focused.
- You don’t have to cognitively process or relive each thing you release. Many times you just feel lighter afterwards. That said there can be heavy and hard emotions that pass through during KY or any energy work in order for healing to occur so anyone who has deep-seated trauma or other mental health concerns should do this work under the supervision of a doctor or therapist.
- KY is simple and free and very convenient. You can zap an irritable mood with a few minutes of vigorous breathwork. Get high on your own supply as they say.
KY is known as the yoga of awareness. This awareness can occur while practicing and/or outside of the practice. What kind of awareness?
- Physical awareness – bodily sensations that allow for feeling grounded in the present moment or noticing where we feel stress in the body.
- Mental and emotional awareness – what are our habits, blocks, and patterns that keep us stuck or work in our favor.
- Spiritual awareness – aligning our soul (or intuition) with our ego (or everyday personality that the world sees) so that the inside matches the outside.
KY is a nerve strengthener. It heals past trauma that lives in the nervous system, it soothes frayed nerves in the present, and fortifies nerves for future stress. We currently have more digital and in person demands on us and receive more sensory input than we have capacity for. KY is the antidote to overwhelm and translates into huge benefits for modern living:
- More patience, calm, and kindness. Sometimes I notice very little benefit while practicing but later realize I didn’t totally lose it on my kids when they fought like cats and dogs before school.
- More energy. A few minutes of vigorous breathwork equal an extra cup of coffee.
- Time opens up. To-do’s that seemed urgent don’t anymore, we’re more efficient with what is urgent and even let go of some things because of greater perspective.
- Auto-pilot shifts off. We’re able to be more present and make conscious choices. Priceless.
The Bottom Line
I do not pretend it’s easy to commit to energy work. Like drinking more water or sleeping more, energy work is so simple it’s hard because it requires consistent effort. One day of breathwork, one night of good sleep, or one day drinking a gallon of water doesn’t cut it so we look for more complicated fixes because they have that magic bullet allure. The mind resists effort. It likes to be lazy and in charge so that it can conserve energy and keep us safe. The mind LOVES to be bouncing around untamed, with no rules, running the show (it’s kind of like a toddler or teenager.) When the mind senses it’s about to get put in it’s place it tells you that breathwork and meditation aren’t really that helpful and that you don’t have time. The mind also has lots of accumulated beliefs about what you “should” do with your time. This game happens to me almost every day, but I’m fully aware of my mind’s antics and can now mostly override them. And some days I can’t and I have to practice self-compassion.
The preference of the mind to take the easy route and be on high alert help to explain why when we’re stuck in a cycle of quick fixes to numb our discontent (scrolling, shopping, substances, etc) we find we can’t do what we KNOW is best for us (resting, eating well, practicing breathwork & meditation, getting outside, moving our bodies, and connecting in person.)
The bottom line is: know better, do better as regularly as possible, and when you can’t do better remember why it’s hard and love yourself. Find some healthy coping strategies that resonate with you. Maybe it’s KY, maybe it’s another healing modality, but get crystal clear on what ultimately makes you feel best AFTER you do it and what only helps WHILE you do it and do the sustainable practices as regularly as possible because they promote the feelings that last and have the greatest positive impact on your overall well-being.
Remember, the WAY you live your life will drown out everything you say so be your own healer and take out the damn trash 🙂
About the Author
We are grateful to our Guest Blogger, Sarah Justice from Om for Mamas for sharing her brilliance & light with our community! Sarah is a mom of three school-age kids and a certified Breathwork/Life Purpose Coach. A recovering extra of many things (perfectionism, people-pleasing, partying, and productivity to name a few), the creation of Om for Mamas was sparked by both personal struggle in motherhood and a passion for coaching other moms on how to nurture themselves for the benefit of everyone. Connect with Sarah on Instagram at @omformamas Thank you Sarah … we honor you! xoxo