Trauma: My experience with Kundalini Yoga and Healing.

I want to preface this by saying that I don’t think that Kundalini Yoga has been the only cure-all for my life. I have gone to therapy. I attend 12 step group meetings and I believe that these were all involved in some of the deep healing I’ve experienced in the last year. That said, I’d like to focus on the Kundalini here, as that is the topic of this post :)

I am a trauma survivor and have experienced PTSD my whole adult life. I can be triggered in surprising ways and then poof, I’m gonzo and game over. It might be during intimacy, which is uncomfortable for everyone, and embarassing. It can be if I get cold, at all, particularly if I take a bath and the hot water runs out, and I end up cold and can’t warm up. Gonzo. But lots of little things over the years have triggered me and I’ve learned to live with it, and felt like it was part of me, period.

As I started the journey of Kundalini, I first noticed that I felt like I was floating out of class. The instructor would say that we can heal our own bodies and that this heals us, and I was focused at the time on Sciatica, because I had thrown out my back (I now think that was a result of emotions being stuffed and not dealt with). When we would do certain Kriyas that were difficult because of my Sciatica and back pain, I would experience huge emotional outpourings. I’d get really angry or start bawling or both. Not every class, but it was not uncommon for me to cry. I always cried at the closing song, Long Time Sun.

The first healing I noticed was physical. The back pain went away and the Sciatica went away. MInd you, I did physical therapy as well, so I’m not trying to say it was solely Kundalini, but I appreciated how much the work was based in the spine, how we did so much movement in the spine that was slow and undulating, so it wasn’t tweaking or twisting but was almost an internal massage. The classes all had mantra and meditation, so I started to notice that I’d get to class and feel numb, or normal, I guess, and then a few minutes into class, the mindfulness had pulled out the numbness and put all the reality right in front of me, and I’d cry or just feel the feelings, and by the end of class, I’d feel better. Not just in a “runner’s high” kind of way, but in a real way.

I noticed I was starting to feel more like myself. I was starting to really feel confidant, and not just showy confidence, that I’m good at, but its only surface confidence. I was feeling like I was really valuable. The physical pain was gone, and that wasn’t where the healing stopped. The more I learn about Kundalini, and what is actually happening when we do a Kriya, the more I begin to understand that this healing is happening in ways we can’t even fathom, and we don’t need to. Trauma imprints itself into our bodies, and into our souls in ways that talk therapy can’t always get rid of. We carry the DNA of traumas that have happened generations before we were even here. We have no idea why we even carry some of the hurt that is inside of us, but at least for me, it had become accepted as a part of me that would never go away. It was as much me as my smile, or my sense of humor.

And I don’t really know how, or even when the healing happened, and I’m sure it hasn’t finished, but to me its like a miracle I can’t even believe, but it did. Somehow in my own personal at home Sadhana, or in my classes, I’ve healed.

One thing big in Kundalini that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do was the Hydrotherapy (cold shower) because I have a trigger of being cold. It seriously would never be able to happen. I’d lose it. But I’m doing it!! Not every day yet, and I’m not forcing it, or pushing anything, but there it is. This trauma that I’ve dealt with since age 19 is gone. I am opening up to the idea that the trauma isn’t part of “who I am”. It doesn’t make me “me”, I don’t need it and I don’t have to keep it. I’ve also learned that with Kundalini Yoga, I don’t have to do anything to get rid of it. I just do my practice. I do the kriya. I say the mantra. I repeat the syllables for 11 minutes, or 31 minutes, or whatever it is we are doing. I just do it. The healing happens on a subconscious and cellular level. It happens within my energy field, and not in my cognitive mind. But then, after only a year and a half, I look back and everything is different.

I’m not saying I’ll never have a trigger again, I very well may. I’m just saying that things that used to get to me, don’t. They just don’t have the power. I’m so grateful that I get to share this gift with other people. This wild and weird style of yoga that asks us to do the most unusual things and pulls us out of our comfort zones, by dancing around, or singing mantras while holding some strange pose, works. This is a technology that works, and I’m so grateful I get to keep learning more, keep growing more and keep teaching it to others. Wahe Guru.

photo by Andy Richter

photo by Andy Richter