I had started studying Kundalini energy as part of my recovery from the psychosis I had in January. I told my psychologist then that my recovery entails medication/therapy and spirituality. I have been in recovery programs previously because I am an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACOA) and also have battled with alcoholism/self medication. For months, I have approached my health in a quasi 12-step framework. True to my nature, I don’t follow the steps in order or verbatim, because I’m stubborn and I like to do things my way.
My recovery has predominantly focused on 4 major areas: Music, Meditation, Writing, and Yoga. I found a wonderful asset to my healing and growth. Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. Kundalini incorporates meditation, kriyas (movements with words), breath, and movement. There are many different resources for Kundalini – I’ll post a few at the end, but what I love are the Mantras. I have used Mantras for as long as I can remember (before I even knew what a mantra was!). The Kundalini Yoga routines I have been doing have become very cherished “me time”.
I’ve done Yoga off and on my whole life, so learning the postures is not difficult or different. I love doing Yoga with teachers on YouTube, because frankly, I don’t like being in public all that much. I am proud that Yoga & mediation are helping me get comfortable around others (to the point I’ve joined a few classes and actually put on non-pajama pants and left my house a few times!). Kundalini gives an increased focus on marrying breath to movement – which carries into day-to-day life. One of my favorite (non Kundalini) yoga teachers is Adrienne on YouTube (Yoga with Adrienne), and she always says “what you practice on the mat, will be what you do off the mat”. Conscious/mindful breathing is my quickest and easiest tool I have for anxiety management.
Kundalini has added mantras to my breathing. My favorite mantra right now is Sat Nam. When you are practicing Kriyas, you inhale strongly through the abdomen and exhale sharply. You actually really work your abs. Sat Nam means The Truth Is In My Name. As my anxiety creeps up on me, I inhale Sat, exhale Nam silently a few times, and I find my anxiety calming. I also find Sa Ta Na Ma helpful – you tap your thumb to index, middle, ring, and pinky for each (Sa to index finger and so forth). It’s very helpful for grounding, and bringing me into a more positive mindset. It is said that this is a meditation of manifestation. So I stay positive and allow my words and breath to clear my thoughts and bring me to where I need to be. I’ve found the mantras very empowering. I’ve come away from feeling powerless due to mental illness to an advocate of my mental health. I have come back to looking for resources and guidance to heal, versus reasons to be unhappy.
Kundalini also focuses on balancing and awakening chakras. As Adriene says on her channel, take what works, and leave what doesn’t. I firmly believe chakra imbalances/blockages play a huge factor in my life. Even if you don’t believe in chakras or meditation, Kundalini has helped me so much with mindfulness and feeling energized. My medication makes me very lethargic, so I’ve started doing yoga in the morning to offset and try to get myself in a good headspace right away. In the chakra sense, I have found a lot of healing and release. I’ve felt a lot of emotions being released over the past few weeks, and I’ve found my ability to communicate and process my emotions increase. I’ve also found myself more peaceful, loving, and accepting – especially towards myself.
In a Kundalini Yoga/Meditation routine I did today, the guru spoke about the purpose of Kundalini – it is to balance to Shakti (feminine creative energy) with the Shiva (male logical energy). That made so much sense to me. Imbalance is my biggest issue – I have bipolar disorder. I was also born under a full moon and a Libra, so it seems as though the stars themselves have conspired against me having balance!
It is funny that the guru spoke about these different energies – creative versus logical. That is the very struggle I have all the time. I am equally left and right brained, but I do struggle with operating under one or the other too much. I want to be my free-spirit, hippie self, yet my logical data driven side analyzes everything I do on a metrics basis and finds me constantly wanting. I find that I tend to analyze the passion right out of me! Alternatively, I find that I escape into writing or meditation to avoid the crap I don’t want to deal with every day. My brain requires both – I need the creative outlet to express/manage my emotions, but I need the logical structure to help me stay in balance. Like a child, I actually need structure and routine or I swing too far back and forth. When I’d have my kids, I had an inherent structure – had to be in bed by midnight, up by 6, and almost every hour of the day was accounted for and exhausting. When my kids were with their dad, though, I’d stay up until 4 or 5. This doesn’t work for me, and I suffered heavily for it.
My recovery is mainly focused on acceptance and establishing healthy habits and routines. I have realized that how I speak/think about myself affects my reality, and that my brain is mine, regardless of the diagnoses. Whether it’s mania vs. depression or Shakti vs. Shiva, I have to stay centered, and I have remained committed to finding the means to do that. Acceptance and balance are what Kundalini is bringing in to my life. I love the energetic movement and breathing combined with the quiet of meditation in the routine, I love the beauty of reciting/chanting/singing mantras, and thanks to the balance it is giving me, I find my creativity flowing with this crazy thing called structure and logic. Occasionally, I actually plan out my day and stick to it. I just might actually start building a routine for myself!