Lessons from my first Kundalini Yoga Festival experience
I heard much about the European Yoga Festival during my teacher training. The common consensus was “extraordinary”, “fabulous”, “incredible”, and “awesome”, to name just a few superlatives that were regularly stated with my colleague’s accounts. The participation at the White Tantra group meditation is in fact a compulsory component of my teacher training, and so where better to experience “what it’s all about” than here?
Yes, you say, as did I, just let them talk and retell their stories – I have to experience it for myself! To take the ending first: every bit is as true as it is worthy. But let’s start at the beginning.
Our colleague Sandra Maringer – Karam Prem Kaur – already has some festival experience, so we, Patricia – Krishan Atma Kaur, and myself, were entering our first participation not completely uninformed because she gave us a great feedback whilst travelling to Mur de Sologne. Unfortunately, we arrived a wee bit too late to secure ourselves a nice camping spot in the woods, but luckily found one which was to our delight by the lake, which had sufficient space for the four of us, as Penka – Harcharanjot Kaur and her husband, were arriving later during the day:
Lesson 1 – Be on time.
My first impression is that it takes some time to settle in, arrive, and feel like being part of the community. Don’t be afraid to think the unthinkable, like “I don’t belong here”, “OMG what am I doing here?”, and so on… especially when the musicians wake you up at 4:00 AM for Sadhana, and at that moment you realise (“oh my, why am I so crazy?”) that your friends will be enjoying their vacation time by the poolside instead.
It’s okay to think like that. Settling into the festival takes its time:
Lesson 2 – Be patient.
There are more things to adjust to than just these feelings of “do I belong here anyway?”. For one, dwelling in a tent for a week, having cold showers to wash, and using the poop holes in the woods. The special diet is the other, consisting of soup and fruit in the morning, and kitcheree (a traditional Indian dish made from split mung beans, basmati rice and digestive spices) with beet roots and carrots in the evening (only 2 meals a day, no buffet 😉). Except on White Tantra days where you get a burger at noon (yey, 3 meals). The essential idea is to cleanse your body as you are cleansing your soul and subconscious too:
Lesson 3 – Commit.
However, once that you really have arrived and start participating in the life of the festival, and feel the strength and support of the family (the Sangat) – life becomes good. In fact, life becomes excellent in this little yogic cocoon. Sure, outsiders need some time to understand what the Sangat is about. If you’ve never done Kundalini Yoga before, and you discover it for the first time ever here, you may have mixed feelings. I understand. The European Yoga Festival is like a village of approximately 3.000 Kundalini Yogis (from all over the world) who find each other because they are like-minded, because we know the power of this technology, because we are not just yogis, but Kundalini Yogis:
Lesson 4 – The strength of the Sangat is all-pervading.
Yes, we have spiritual names (hence I put them in my blog). Our spiritual names are our soul identity. They challenge us to live in high consciousness. A spiritual name is a step toward connecting more deeply with our infinite self. It is a vibration and a tool that helps to elevate our energy through the power of the nadh (inner sound current), and meaning.
Yes, we wear turbans; yes, we chant and meditate. Yes, we love singing, yes, we experience pain in the Kriyas (the yoga exercises). No, we are not a sect. Some of us decided to become Sikh, and we talk a lot about God, we read holy scriptures in the ancient language of Gurmukhi, we pray, we refer a lot to Yogi Bhajan and Guru Ram Das. We honour Yogi Bhajan because he gave us the teachings, and we are grateful for it. It doesn’t mean that we deify or venerate a spiritual leader. Kundalini Yoga is about finding the supreme Consciousness GOD in yourself:
Lesson 5 – Be you.
The theme of this year was the 5th sutra of the Aquarian Age “Vibrate the Cosmos. The Cosmos shall clear the path”. There are so many workshops you can attend, so many things you can see, hear, feel, experience that the choice makes it hard to narrow it down to a couple of workshops a day. You can basically meditate and yoga from 4:30 AM until the evening concerts with internationally renowned artist like Jai Jagdeesh. The teachers come from near and far, as do the accompanying musicians and artists who perform live. There is so much going on all day that you may even feel dizzy from doing too much:
Lesson 6 – Simplicity. Don’t overdo it.
If none of the workshops have brought any changes in your system yet, then the White Tantra is the supreme experience. This is what it looks like from the outside (and may I add, very unremarkable for what it actually does inside of you): straight lines of thousands of yogis dressed in white, wearing a turban, sitting opposite of each other, singing or mediating with eyes open or closed.
That’s all you ask? As I said, looks can be deceiving.
The power of White Tantric Yoga is such that it works on clearing out the deepest corridors of the subconscious mind. Read an extract from the official description by the 3HO foundation below:
“Each day consists of six to eight kriyas, each one 31 or 62 minutes long, with short breaks or lunch in between. Each White Tantric Yoga® experience is unique. The kriya may be done silently or chanting aloud, eyes may be open, looking at the partner or closed, and each uses a variety of mudras and asanas.
The power of the subconscious clearing works on all, and the group consciousness supports and uplifts each participant. Each person’s experience of White Tantric Yoga® is different. Each gets what he or she needs at that point in their journey along the path.”
It is very hard to describe what three days of white tantric meditation does to you because some things are simply beyond words. Just know that you will feel different, you will be different, you are new.
There is a lot of peace – peace of mind, peace of the heart, peace of the body. There is a changed energy current running through your entire system. You face the daily life in a different manner. You face your day calmer, more uplifted, clearer.
I cannot tell you what has changed, I just know that I have changed.
Lesson 7 – Kundalini Yoga works.
As if you didn’t know 😉 However, experience the festival, and you experience an entire new person inside of yourself. Prevailing with love and compassion, projecting your radiance, feeling your soul vibration.
The lesson is clear: let’s do that again!
Nam Hari Kaur