The Yoga of Doing Hard Shit

by Amy on December 17, 2014

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I just got back from a yoga retreat where I did some of the hardest yoga of my life.

Sure reverse triangle is a challenging pose…

But Kundalini Yoga is a whole different kind of hard.

It’s the oldest kind of yoga. The idea is to get energy lying around the base of your spine to spiral up to your crown. And it involves a lot of meditation, chanting and weird breath work. But most of all, it requires an insane amount of endurance.

(I’m sorry, but no human should have to hold their arms in the air for that amount of time.)

There’s this one Kriya that Tommy Rosen called something like “the Kundalini to achieve bliss.”

Going into it, I was pretty psyched. After all, I’ve wanted to achieve bliss for, like, forever…

What he didn’t mention was this Kriya consists of about nine minutes of flailing the arms about – up and down, back and forth, and in little concentric circles in front of the chest — without a second of rest while simultaneously breathing in and out at a pace teetering close to hyperventilation all while squeezing the ass cheeks together in the most excruciating Kegal of one’s existence. I liken it to childbirth.

I cried through the last 4 minutes.

But after it was all said and done, as I sat in quiet meditation with my eyes closed feeling all that Prana coursing through my body, I did feel pretty blissful (and I was also damn impressed with myself).

Not all Kundalini is THAT hard. But most of it (is this okay to say?) is pretty tedious, repetitive and weird.

Most of all, it tested my endurance in ways I could never have imagined.

But here’s what I learned after a week of this kind of yoga.

I can totally DO tedious, repetitive and even weird. AND I have more endurance then I EVER knew.

The first inkling of this was on the way home, waiting in line at the airport in Costa Rica. No air conditioning. No self-check in. An hour-long wait just to check in. Throngs of people standing around in a semi-annoyed state.

As I stood there waiting in line, I had an aha. THIS IS A KRIYA.

I can do this.

When I got home and the yoga buzz faded and my husband got really sick and it was all on me to take care of these 3 very cute but needy children I realized, THIS IS A KRIYA.

I can do this.

And when I woke up at 5:10 am to wipe the frost from the window of my car to join 9 other ladies for one of the hardest bootcamp style workouts of my life, I thought to myself:

THIS IS A KRIYA.

I can do this.

Since I returned from Costa Rica, I do Kundalini Yoga now no matter how boring, how tedious, how weird or how hard.

Because, whether or not the Kundalini energy ever rises to my crown chakra, this kind of yoga shows me who I am underneath every self imposed limitation I put on myself.

It shows me who I really am. And damn, I’m a badass.

When things got boring, tedious, repetitive, weird or hard, I used to feel like a trapped animal. The only way out was to escape. And my escape was always booze.

But now, when things get hard, I know it is yoga. The yoga of doing hard shit. It is my Kriya. And I can do it.

What is YOUR Kriya?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Sophia December 18, 2014 at 12:15 am

Love these posts, Amy. What a fabulous, life-changing journey you’ve been on. I tread Kriya daily. I aspire to gain your perspective. If you have any studio recommendations for beginning a Kundalini practice, or suggestions for me to consult, I would much appreciate the information.
Blessings to you!

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Amy December 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Thanks Sophia! I recommend spending some time with Kia Miller (Tommy’s partner) over at YogaGlo. It’s an online subscription service and she has tons of kundalini classes there. I think it costs $18 a month but it’s totally worth it. There are so many great yoga classes on there!!

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Jess Ryan Gostin December 18, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Great post Amy. You’ve inspired me to challenge my self-imposed limitations, and I have lots of them. My booze is binge eating. I’m going to check out YogaGlo!

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