I moved to London just a bit over a month ago. The past few years I have spent in the Netherlands, in a teeny tiny fairy-tale-like town called Leiden. For being just a small town, Leiden has a lot of yoga to offer, and it does have a lovely little Kundalini Sangat (community), but there’s only so much that happens in little places like this.
In comparison, my first month in London has been just crazy.
There is an abundance of classes, workshops, coaching, meet ups, events, … it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by it. For someone who has a hard time making decisions, it’s a challenge. If you had the time and the money and the magic, you could multiply into 10 people and all of them could easily be going to some class or event from dawn till dusk.
I was eager to jump in and explore what’s there, and only in the first week, I went to three different places, have tried four styles of yoga and met five different teachers. I had a gong bath and received a hug from Amma. And I only saw such a tiny fraction of what’s going on.
One day, I got up early to do my Sadhana (practice) and have a light breakfast at home just on time before I got on the bus at 8 to make it to a morning class at 9. On my way home after class, sitting up on the top of the double-decker bus, I felt on a complete high. I was being driven through this city full of people, of lives, of constant movement. Sometimes, these bus drives can be quite hard: all these impressions and all these energies flowing at you, swirling you up. But today, I did not get sucked in.
For a moment this day, there was perfect stillness and peace in my body. There was a sense of victory and complete confidence. – A feeling I have created during the postures and meditation in class. I’m so grateful for Kundalini Yoga, and I am so grateful for these days of exploring.
However, not all classes let you come out on a high. And while Kundalini Yoga certainly feels a bit like a drug to me and has given me some real highs and incredible experiences, it’s important to remember that all form of spiritual endeavour is not about piling up experiences. If you only hunt for the next great shot of an amazing experience, it will actually be a bit like an addiction: you will be disappointed if you don’t get “that” feeling, don’t feel as blissful as you felt that other time. And, worse, you might feel a bit empty if you don’t get it.
Like in life, you will make all kind of different experiences in yoga classes. Sometimes you get a high of happiness and bliss. Sometimes you will cry. Sometimes you get annoyed, and sometimes you will be bored. All of these experiences teach you something different.
During my first week-exploration, I experienced this clearly: in some classes I felt uncomfortable, some approaches to yoga felt completely different to the one I have through my kundalini-education and irritated me, some teachers I couldn’t connect with at all but I could see what they had to offer to other students, and some teachers touched my heart and lifted me up, some left me inspired. Every single experience was a lesson and helped me to widen my point of view, to understand more about me, to grow.
So I relaxed a bit, and slowed down. I allowed myself to let the experiences I have gained work in me, asked myself how they affect my life, and how they change me.
London is huge and it’s easy to get overwhelmed and a bit lost in it – even in the yoga scene. So I think it’s important to stay centred and not get hooked on highs. I am still looking for a place where I can go regularly. And I will still enjoy the abundance London has to offer and hopefully be able to make the most out of it. Having a regular practice is important, and so is trying something new! But don’t pile up experiences. Honour each moment.
If you only jump from high to high, you’ll miss half of life – all those beautiful important things that happen deep down in the valley, even in the abyss, and everywhere in between. Honour each moment – that’s what yoga is teaching me.