Late last year I met some lovely ladies in Bali who were interested to practice Kundalini yoga but felt alienated by the image we can sometimes portray of living in a constant light-filled state of positivity and elation. I was quick to reassure them that was not the case and that Kundalini yoga teachings encourage yogi’s to acknowledge, explore, accept and even love their shadow.
Yes, Kundalini yoga gets us in touch with that beautiful space beyond our judgements and attachments and moves us from a finite sense of self to the infinite Self – expansiveness, truth, transformation!!! But it can also take us trawling through our ‘stuff’ – a process often not so love and light-filled. The fact is, transformation can sometimes be joyful and sometimes truly painful.
In my own personal experience, practicing this yoga can be truly harrowing at times. We get to face our neurosis, our fears, our insecurities, the darkness. Because when we dig deep, we don’t always find things we like about ourselves. Living an authentic, present life involves acknowledging this, staying centred and moving through one lesson to the next. If we turn away from, or bury these parts, we deny an essential truth of what it is to be human; Yogi Bhajan encouraged us to recognise ourselves fully – the good, the bad and the downright ugly, as this is the path to truth. He said “the only difference between you and me is that I love my shadow.”
It’s on this journey of delving deep, learning and transforming that we develop huge amounts of compassion and understanding towards ourselves – and in turn the world around us. The reason we love yoga is because we come up close and personal with all our challenges, accept them and move through them, from darkness to light. Just remember, where there is dark there must be light, so just as there is crap to work through, there is untold beauty to be experienced.