Tag Archives: kundalini

The knotted serpent

During my yoga class tonight, we were going through a series of twists. I was again contemplating the lack of range that my body has, especially when dealing with my core. After three years plus of yoga (of which a good 18 months could be considered consistent and persistent), I am still very far from half lotus, from eagle arms, etc. I’ve worked at tackling specific issues, like my hips or my shoulders, but that does not seem to make a difference, except when measured against months of time.

While I was trying to relaxing into the poses, I thought about doing something drastic, like taking a day or week off and work on nothing but my hips, or using sandbags (weights, my wife’s body) to push me past my limits, or hiring a personal trainer to whip me into form or a private yoga instructor to show me whatever I am missing to get through these obstacles.

In yoga, kundalini is the female energy that lies coiled at the base of the yogic body, a sacred power that rises out of the loins, coils around the spin and rises upwards towards the crown; the goal is to enable the free flow of kundalini, Well, my kundalini seems to be firmly knotted around my hips and wound tightly around my spin.

Then, I thought that perhaps it’s not the physical side that is holding me back. There must be something non-physical inside me that is tightly bound and thoroughly even entangled. I like to pretend that yoga and meditation has made me mellow and grounded, but I am just deluding myself: hidden underneath the surface is a small boy who’s afraid of moving or even fidgeting and freezes his muscles to the bone. When the musculature has been locked in position for nearly 50 years, it’s excruciatingly difficult to ply it loose.

Yoga — or rather life — gets messy

Rodney Yee used to have a blog at Yahoo Health. I checked it out a couple of times a while back, and then forgot about it. Yee has moved up in the online world. His new on-line home is at Lime.com’s Yoga section [MLS: Lime.com has apparently gone bust and disappeared from the web, and Yee moved on to Gaiam Yoga Club]. He has a TV show, as part of Lime’s ambitious project to bring healthy living to the big time, and has been doing short video blogs [no longer available].

Of course, Yee has been in the news a lot recently because of his marriage to NYC yoga studio owner, Colleen Saidman, which got covered in the NY Times (sorry, but the story has already been archived). But you can get a bitchier version of it at New York Magazine. Souljerky has another take on the mess. Yee divorced his wife of 24 years. A few years ago, he had an affair with a student, which became an example of how to betray the student-teacher relationship.

I bought Yee’s most recent book, Moving Toward Balance: 8 Weeks of Yoga, because it’s beautifully illustrated and laid out. And I still take classes at Thrive Yoga.

Studio politics

In my own home yoga studio, Thrive Yoga, we’ve gone through a stretch that calls into question of incarnating the yogic ideal : the two owners of Thrive Yoga have parted ways. Kim Groark was the more advanced teacher while Susan Bowen had the good business mind. Over the past two years, they lost their shared vision of what they wanted to make of the studio. I don’t know any of the details, just that at the end the tension hung like incense in the air of the studio. Susan bought out Kim’s share of the business, and Kim “decided to leave Thrive Yoga to pursue a different path,” as the announcement stated. More experienced yoga entrepreneurs have told me that studio partnerships rarely work out. Yoga teachers who strike out on their own, setting up their own shops, want to have full control over their business and practice so there’s going to be an innate contradiction in a joint venture.

I felt disconcerted by the whole shift: I had gone to Kim’s classes more frequently because I was drawn to her flair for teaching (influences of Kundalini, Shiva Rea) and the classes fit my schedule in the evenings. I was also concerned about the long-term viability of the studio because I get classes (2-5 times a week) at no charge, in exchange for hosting, maintaining and updating the website. I would find it had to pay for a year unlimited pass, which is what I would need for the same privilege. The split took me out of my comfort zone on the mat.

Yoga DVD of the Month Club

[monthlyyogadvd.com] is an interesting commercial venture to allow you to subscribe to a service that sends you a DVD a month. The first teacher is Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, the co-founder and director of Golden Bridge Nite Moon, Los Angeles and a leading Kundalini teacher. [MLS: the site is down. could this commercial venture been another victim of the Big Recession.]

Personally, I don’t know if I could consume one yoga DVD a month. I have one DVD that I bought three years ago and really have not worked my way through the whole thing.