I promised to share with you lessons from Bali when I attended the Enter the Heart retreat, and this is not going to be easy for me since some of this is very personal.
I almost walked out of the retreat on Day 2. Let me back up and set the stage for you…On Day 1, I learned we would be practicing yoga each day, twice a day (morning and night), starting with Day 2. The style of yoga would be Kundalini. Upon hearing that, I immediately felt a little panic in my chest. I took a Kundalini class once before in Chicago. It stirred up a lot of emotion for me, and I wasn’t prepared to handle it. In my mind, I said, “Don’t think I’ll be doing that style of yoga for a while.” That was fear talking. It was fear that didn’t want to process the emotions just yet. And now I’d have to face Kundalini yoga, and whatever emotions came up, each morning and night.
On the morning of Day 2, we awoke for our first Kundalini class. Our teacher was Sat Siri, an angel on Earth. She started the class, and she encouraged us to allow ourselves to feel our feelings and whatever might come up during the class.
About halfway through, I had a horrifying vision. I saw my own death, and it was by plane crash (one of my biggest fears). Not only did I see it, but I felt it. I was in a moment of complete torture having to face my own death. It was too much for me. I started to panic. I started to cry.
The vision was extremely morbid, and as I was freaking out about it, I also asked myself “What does this mean? Is this why I’m here? Just to see my own death? This isn’t what I wanted from this retreat!” I was so uncomfortable that I started to plot my exit. I opened my eyes and looked around the room. Everyone else had their eyes closed, except Sat Siri, and they were focused on the pose. If I timed it just right, I could wait until the class moved into the next yoga pose and closed their eyes. Then, I would leave, and only Sat Siri would see me, and she’s just one person so I could live with that. I had no clue where I was going, but I needed to get away from the vision. Maybe the retreat was just not for me. This was too much.
As I was concocting this exit plan, I realized that the next yoga pose was still a few minutes away. I needed to kill time. I heard Sat Siri say, “Stay with the breath.” So I went back to the Kundalini breathing, but only with the intention to kill time. That’s when things changed for me. When I went back to the breathing, I had a revelation that what I saw was actually the death of my old ways, patterns and beliefs. I had to face that vision in order to be open to letting go of certain things so that I could grow from this retreat.
When I realized this, the panic quickly left, and I came to a state of peace and openness. I couldn’t believe that this all happened in a matter of minutes. Sat Siri lead the class into the next pose, and I decided to stay. I decided to face my fears. I decided to be open to the entire retreat, yoga and all. The retreat instilled a love for Kundalini yoga, which I still practice regularly. (You’ll be hearing more about this throughout the blog series.)
So my first lesson was to not give up when faced with an uncomfortable situation. And by doing so, Day 1 had already changed my world.
If you’ve ever had a revelation doing Kundalini yoga, or any other kind of yoga, I’d love to hear about it! Please leave a comment below.
*This post is part of a 30-day series called “Getting Unstuck” in which I’m trying to figure out my next professional step by getting out of my comfort zone and taking on various challenges. Follow along by subscribing to my weekly email list here.