I fell in love with Kundalini Yoga instantaneously. As soon as I took my first class, I knew this was the practice I was looking for. I loved the physical challenge, the music, the sense of community, and I especially loved the way I felt after class.
So I signed up for a Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training and was able to develop the discipline to maintain a daily practice. Every morning, now, I roll out of bed and onto my yoga mat. Sometimes I do warm-up exercises or a kriya or even a series of sun salutations. But it all builds up to at least 31 minutes of meditation each morning, before I start my day.
As Yogi Bhajan taught us, I choose meditations and stick with them for 40 or 90 days, or sometimes even longer. Practicing for 40 days breaks negative habits, 90 days establishes new habits, and 120 days confirms that new habit and integrates it into our psyches. If you go for 1000 days, you master that habit and can always call on it to serve you. Of course if you skip day 39, the following day is day 1 again, so consistence is key!
Years have passed, and I continue to find new and interesting meditations that I adopt as my personal sadhana. If I’m ever at a loss of one to choose, I go back to one of my long-time favorites, such as the Laya Yoga Meditation or Har Haray Haree Wahe Guru, for prosperity or to remove blocks. Sometimes I pick up a book such as The Mind or Praana Praanee Pranayam and discover a new meditation that I can’t wait to try.
One day recently I woke up with a headache. I had gotten plenty of sleep the night before, so I knew it wasn’t tiredness. It was just a plain old headache, but it was annoying enough that I just wasn’t up to doing my meditation. Normally, I don’t think about it—I get up and do it. But for some reason, I just couldn’t bring myself to sit down and meditate on this morning.
So I went and made a cup of tea and got on with my day. But I felt off. Something was missing, something wasn’t right. I felt a bit out of balance. My phone started dinging with new texts and emails, people needing things from me. I took my dogs out and got ready for work. I reminded myself to do my meditation later, but for now, I needed to get moving.
As the day passed, I noticed this feeling of imbalance continued. Could this really be the effect of skipping my morning meditation? It seemed so extreme!
Later in the day, as I prepared to teach my Kundalini Yoga class, I decided I’d give it a test: I would invite anyone who wanted to stay after class to accompany me in my 31 minutes of meditation, and I’d see what happened.
So I taught my class and sure enough, one student wanted to stay and meditate with me after class was over. We sat together and chanted for 31 minutes. At the end of the practice, I was feeling back in balance and she was feeling as if she had received a tremendous gift: a new morning practice that she was going to commit to, starting the following day.
I learned on that day that the little things really do matter. After seeing how good I feel after I meditate—not just for the 2 or 3 minutes of bliss that follow a great meditation, but for much of the rest of the day!—I realize that this is a habit I need to continue to cultivate. And even more importantly, I was reminded that this technology is to be shared, and there are many people out there who are looking for ways to stay uplifted. We have the tools!
If you’re a teacher, offer your students the opportunity to go deeper. If you’re a student, don’t be shy about asking for suggestions for kriyas or meditations to practice on your own. Commit to a sadhana, and let us know how it changes your life.