Over the past six months, I had the privilege of being a part of a unique and special group that organically facilitated growth, healing, and connection. I was able to challenge myself to go beyond my comfort zone and to do better while also still feeling safe, held, and seen.
Every person in this group at one point or another dared to open up about struggle and was met with support, solidarity, and genuine care. Because people were willing to be honest and vulnerable in this beautiful space of acceptance, safety, friendship, and love, I learned so much more than just the fundamentals of Kundalini yoga.
In my 33 years on this planet, until this point, I have never been a part of something like this, but if you read my blog regularly, you know I certainly have wanted it. It was soul healing and an answer to prayer.
This was my Kundalini yoga teacher training. I was all sorts of anxious going into it. I had so much self-doubt. I could sing in public all day long, but speaking publicly, in my own words, was a whole other story. It physically made my body shake and my brain turned into a puddle.
In college, I had to give a “how to” speech on literally anything we wanted. At that time, I loved braiding hair. I asked my cousin Abby to be my hair model. She commented on how insanely my hands were shaking, while braiding her hair, during the whole presentation.
A few years ago, I took an online yoga teacher training course. I read all the text books, completed hours and hours of writing essays, answering questions, doing projects etc. It got to the very last part where I needed to record myself teaching a class. I prepped a class, I read it over and over, and I kept trying to record myself doing it, but I kept getting in my own head and freaking myself out. My body kept shaking, and I kept stumbling over my words. I never was able to do it.
To keep myself focused and motivated during the process, I used “YogaTest” as my computer password to remind me to stay off Facebook or whatever else and to stay on task for the teacher training course. It worked. However, when I couldn’t record myself teaching, this became a huge point of shame for me. I felt like a loser and a failure who couldn’t complete what she started every single time I logged into my computer.
I had considered changing the password, but something in me told me to keep it. I knew there was a lesson in there. Shortly after actively having this thought, my yoga teacher and friend who has a special way of making me and others feel comfortable and seen, posted that she was starting not just any yoga teacher training program, but a Kundalini yoga teacher training. Since my first time attending her class somewhere around 2016 or 17, Kundalini stole my heart, and I knew Allison being the teacher would help to keep me grounded.
I knew God was leading me to this training. It just felt 100% right in my spirit. I had the feeling that this was going to be the full circle moment, but I was not prepared for just how healing, powerful, and beautiful this experience was.
I’ve been talking a lot in this blog about the discrepancies between what I see the Bible calling the church to be vs what it actually looks like. I had a head comprehension of how wonderful and restoring this would be put into practice, but I’ve never once experienced anything like this in a group setting until now.
After diving deep into the ins and outs of the practice, I learned that while I still adore Kundalini yoga, that wasn’t what stole my heart all those years ago. It was the safe, honest, open space to heal that my teacher Allison so gracefully wove into her classroom environment. This gifted woman did this seamlessly during our yoga teacher training program as well. She wasn’t up there trying to tell us how to live our lives. She just created a haven for all of us to figure it out on our own. She is truly a remarkably gifted teacher, leader, and healer.
As people began to feel safe, they began to open up about their struggles. In these moments, each person was met with genuine compassion, encouragement, and love from everyone else in the room. I felt zero judgment, there was no gossiping or other like ickyness that goes along with sharing vulnerabilities with the wrong people (sadly, often the wrong people in my life had been the members of the western church), or anyone acting better than because they didn’t struggle with the same things that another group member did. I felt no competition between the group members.
It was a place to exhale, be yourself, and be met with love.
People expressed fear. People talked about relationship struggles. People shared their journey with illness. People expressed unsteadiness. People expressed anger. Among a bunch of other things, I cried as I expressed a deep seeded self-belief of not being good enough and not feeling like I’ve accomplished what I am capable of in my life because my lack of self-belief gets in my way.
Everyone cried. Everyone laughed. Everyone had the opportunity to be seen and met with love and encouragement. No one felt judged. I think I can speak for the group when I say, no one wanted this to end.
This was church.
A bunch of openly imperfect people loving, encouraging, and accepting each other as they are and rooting for each other in their journey of growth. I saw God move in and through each and every single person in that group, and let me tell you, despite His name not being mentioned, God who is LOVE was at the center of this experience.
Saturday, for our final, I taught part of a yoga class in front of everyone. I did not have as much time as I would have liked to prepare due to injury and some random life crisis'. Last minute, I ended up having to adjust my teaching style all together when I reinjured my back and could barely walk let alone practice yoga.
I taught my section from a chair verbally without being able to demonstrate the poses. I did not shake. My voice did not waver. My brain did not turn to jelly, and I was able to think and stay relaxed. I felt safe and held. I believed I could do it, and I did. For many people, this may not be a big deal, but for me, it was visible and remarkable growth.
Sunday, I graduated. I am officially a certified Kundalini yoga instructor. I was so proud of myself for overcoming my fears and self-doubt that had been controlling me and getting in my way for so long. It was bitter-sweet. I was so proud of myself and everyone else, but super bummed for the ending of the regular gathering of this beautiful group of human beings.
I’ve been reflecting on this a lot today, and as I was driving in the car, the song Ablaze by Alanis Morissette came on. It always makes me emotional because my dad was the one who first told me to listen to it. He said it was his song to me and my brother. I really was vibing with it, and it instantly became my song to Eli when he was born, and now Ben. I’m just going to post the lyrics below, so everyone knows what I’m talking about.
First thing that you'll notice is some separation from each other. Yes, it's a lie, we've been believing since time in memorial. There was an apple, there was a snake, there was division. There was a split, there was a conflict in the fabric of life.
One became two, and then everyone was out for themselves. Everyone was pitted against each other, conflict ruled the realm. All our devotions and temperaments are pulled from different wells. We seem to easily forget we are made of the same cells.
To my boy, all that energy, so wild. Love your hues and your blues in equal measure. Your comings and your goings-away. My mission is to keep the light in your eyes ablaze.
Second thing you'll notice is that often we think that there's not enough. It might feel dark. It might feel lonely, and you'll wonder why you're here. You may be overcome with darkness and a sense of hopelessness, but it won't matter if you keep the core connected to the oneness.
To my girl, all your innocence and fire, when you reach out, I am here hell or high water. This nest is never going away. My mission is to keep the light in your eyes ablaze.
And this cord is unbreakable. This pilot light is there in your pocket, and this bond, beyond unshakeable. Even if we all forgot, all at the same time. If we forget at the same time.
To my boy, my precious, gentle warrior, to your sweetness and your strength in exploring, may this bond stay with you through all your days. My mission is to keep the light in your eyes ablaze.
To my girl, all your innocence and fire. When you reach out, I am here hell or high water. This nest is never going away. My mission is to keep the light in your eyes ablaze!
As I listened to this song on full blast, in my car, I realized, this is God’s song to all of us, and should be everyone’s song to everyone.
Loving you is loving me is loving God.
My little slice of connection heaven in this training may have come to a close, but I aim to be the church that God designed us to be and foster this with everyone in my life.
I hope to exude unconditional love, acceptance, safety, and encouragement of growth and self-discovery.
If you are reading this blog post, know that I am here holding space for you. I finally found words to wrap around my purpose in writing this blog which is and always was to “keep the light in your eyes ablaze.”
I witnessed the last six months of my training that the loving, accepting, encouraging, grace-filled community I have been rattling on about for the last year on this blog, is absolutely attainable. I am here to foster that community in anyway I can and to remind you that you are deeply loved and accepted by God and me.
Let love be the light that guides us to deeper levels of understanding ourselves and our fellow human beings.