On my recent outcall massage and bodywork visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico, I asked a client during a pre-session intake interview about his exercise habits. He said, “I do lots of yoga.” Intrigued, as I love to practice yoga, I asked him, “what type?” “There is a lady who teaches at the clubhouse and she instructs in Hatha, Vinyasa and Kundalini,” he stated. “Which is your favorite?” I queried. “Kundalini,” he answered.
Me too. In 1998 when I was doing my initial massage training at The Desert Institute of the Healing Arts in Tucson, Arizona a dynamo named Ram Das Kaur taught our yoga class. The style she taught – which was my first exposure to “yoga” – involved rapid breath, lots of movement and great energy output. I enjoyed her style and presence so much that after graduation I enrolled in the Tucson Country Club where she was instructing classes, just so I could bask in more of her wondrous instruction.
This would launch a life-long interest and practice which would take me to numerous workshops at Harbin Hot Springs, tons of classes in studios and even several annual pilgrimages to Española, New Mexico to participate in the Summer Solstice White Tantric Kundalini Yoga festival.
On my yoga journey and through asking questions – I always ask a lot of questions – I would find out that when I met Ram Das Kaur back in Tucson she had recently been cast out of the organization because its founder, Yogi Bhajan, was a bigot who was unable to abide her identifying as a lesbian. Prior to her banishment she had been one of the organization’s top lieutenants and most powerful teachers. Their loss was my gain.
For me Kundalini Yoga is an every-morning practice, a great way to wake up energy, clear my thoughts and keep my spine supple. While most of my clients have wonderful energy, I still owe it to the day’s client to approach the massage as an empty vessel. Kundalini Yoga helps me clear and reset my own energy.
Good massage is a conversation, and when you practice massage, you do carry a piece of everyone you have touched with you always. Clearing and organizing this energy is essential to simply giving good bodywork. My current kriya (set of poses) is Getting Rid of Faults in the Spine. The whole kriya takes about 30 minutes and it’s a great way to start the day and keep my core strong.