Saturday, August 11, 2018

"Holy Shit. What Just Happened?" A Sat Nam Fest Re-Cap.

What's Sat Nam Fest? you ask. It's a Kundalini yoga and music festival in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. Now you know. So here's the re-cap:

It started innocently enough.

Morning sadhana Jap-ji
Morning sadhana at 4:30am. Jap-ji, asana practice, Aquarian chants. The usual. Lovely experience with the cool early morning air sweeping in below the big tent’s walls and the shift of the sky from dark to daybreak. I felt good. Fresh. A clean energizing start to a new day. I was ready for whatever lay ahead. Or so I thought.

Outdoor breakfast under an open tent was fantastic. The chai tea hit the spot. Then a little time before the first workshop/class to do a little shopping. Long Time Sun had a vendor tent set up and I picked up a few things to add to my whites. I can’t wait to wear them! And then it was off to the first session with Mahan Rishi Singh Khalsa, one of my teachers. We did a meditation with this crazy mudra that had our arms up at heart level for 22 minutes! It was a challenge, to say the least. Both physically and mentally (I was fighting with my ego, trying to tell it to shut up and stop complaining. Haha!). In the end, I made it through.

The next session was where things got serious. I mean, really serious.

Yogi Amandeep led us through Sufi kriyas, meditations, and chants. His voice was commanding: loud and powerful. You couldn’t help but do as he said. But it was also loving. He challenged us to break past our self-imposed limitations (Example: “I can’t” we often tell ourselves before even trying.). Here’s where things got real for me: while we were all doing some crazy chanting and arm swings and blinking our eyes and contracting our sitz bones (did you know you could do that? And that it’s different from the mulabhanda?) –and I’m thinking: what the heckis this?? – he’s talking about merging with the cosmos, about when we hold the breath, we hold the universe. He was talking the whole time, guiding our minds as our bodies went through the physical practice. And the things he was saying were pulling me in deeper. And then they lifted me higher. Go deep within yourself in order to elevate.

And then he said something that was like an arrow shot straight through my heart. Like he knew me. Like he knew my story. Like he knew something about me that I had yet to uncover. Of course, he wasn’t directly addressing me but it was as if he were. And then I just lost it.  The tears just ran like rivers. Good thing it was towards the end of the session because I don’t think I would’ve been able to continue. I just stayed in child’s pose, weeping.

My friend rubbed my lower back for comfort. After a few minutes, I gathered myself together. The big tent had mostly emptied out. I sat up and saw Yogi Amandeep through the curtain backstage. I went to him and expressed my gratitude. For what? I don’t know. I can’t name it. I know something was released. Something big. So, I just told him that something shifted within me and I was grateful for him. He smiled back, like he knew what he had done, like he knew what he had started within me.

Yogi Amandeep & me
And that was just the morning.

After lunch, my friend and I went to this 4-hour workshop experience with Gurmukh and her daughter, Wah called the Radiant Power of Women. It started out like yoga boot camp (Leg lifts. 108. Go. Slowly. Feel your body.) and shifted to small support groups (hold each other up in meditation). Then to a big dance party of joy to a drop-on-a-dime cry-fest on forgiveness to a closing circle that created a big badass chain of strong women. Holy shit. I’ll tell ya: by the end, we were indeed radiant.

I met so many wonderful and kind people. I’d never been to any kind of yoga festival before, so I don’t know if this is true of other communities, but I’ll say that there’s something magical about the Kundalini yoga community. The love and kindness that exuded from the collective energy was really palpable.

And that Kundalini yoga is magic. You’d think I’d be dead tired with an aching body from the rigor of yesterday, but nope! I feel amazing. My body feels rejuvenated. I will say that I could probably use a nap later, but on the whole? I feel strong. Real strong. Mind, body and spirit. Yeah!

This is just a tiny glimpse of what it feels like to be transformed from the inside out.