“My experience overall at Shri Kali has been positive. It is a good place that has a nice dynamic structure… a bit of a foundation that there is enough of regularity but yet you’re still in charge of your own path or what you are doing. For me, it’s been a really nice place, providing a stability that allows one to explore oneself.
I originally came because I needed to reset myself. I had lived the first 40 years of my life “successfully”. I had done really well in my life in terms of the way that many people define “doing well in life”, but ultimately I wasn’t happy. I had run away from self-exploration before, so I decided at 40, after trying out that ‘normal’ path that wasn’t working for me for long enough, that it was time to try something different. I knew about this place from a friend so I thought it might be a good place to start the journey.
Since I came, there have been many changes in me. My body has slowed down a lot, but not on a physiological level so much. The nervous energy that one may not even realize they tap in to, in order to propel you through life, that high frequency… that has now turned in to a lower frequency energy. On the physio-psychological aspect of things, I am really at home in my body in a non-physical way. I think before I had a real divide between my mind and body and whereas I am still trying to get a better understanding of who I am from a consciousness [unconscious] perspective, my body has slowed down and has sort of called me home. It sounds physical but it’s not. For example, I was riding my motorcycle at night, the lights were dimming and I had this anxiety. I asked myself what is this feeling, and I said, “oh, it’s anxiety and you haven’t had that for a long time”. The difference was, the anxiety I felt in this situation was purely situational and it was needed in order to be hyper aware for the situation at hand but this situational anxiety wasn’t piled on top of that base level of anxiety that is usually always there for many of us living in the modern world. I think that overwhelming anxiety I felt before was from always living on a mountain of anxiety.
I would recommend this school for specifically a 300 hour program because it rounds out a person to teach but more importantly I would recommend it for a self-exploration that one needs to do in life. There are a lot of resources here. I think the āsanas are a great way to help the body get to where it needs to be, not in a physical way, but in a psycho-energetic way. You can read and do āsanas and all on your own but it’s a nice community and there are a lot of resources, so in that way, it is really nice to be here. I do think you need to have your own sense of self or at least find it quickly because you have to be really self-motivated to be here. I remember some people coming that just weren’t ready for it who would say things like “oh, I would stay longer if I had a better room or if it wasn’t so hot, or so cold”. When people aren’t ready for it, they will find a way out because nobody, in a sense, fixes your bike for you. You have to do it on your own. If you’re discouraged, you can talk to someone and they will help you, but if you don’t really want to do it, nobody says you need to, nobody is your mother or your father, so in that sense it is really up to you.
I had to adapt to the organic non-linear approach to the school. The underlying aspects to the schedule don’t change much but the pieces change often. I like a schedule and so to have it change often has lead me to change the way I approach the life around me as well. It is more serendipitous. Things happen or they don’t. I have never had the feeling like ‘this isn’t going to get done’ so if something moves or changes it’s not like you are missing it… if it’s not on Saturday, it’s on Sunday. It has helped me live a more free flowing life and that has been wonderful.
My body enjoys studying the āsanas. There is an intuitive aspect to studying Tantra that I still don’t have and I believe it is through the āsanas that I will get there, in that space that opens up when I allow it. Reading the texts like Parātrīśikā-Vivaraṇa and the supporting texts that go in to modern science, I have really enjoyed this aspect because it requires a lot of the mind and I have always enjoyed studying. Trying to get beyond just knowing the facts and actually having an understanding is not so easy but I enjoy this. Learning some of the principles has been really illuminating for me and I think that it has led to an increased ability to intuitively grasp. Right now it is jñāna primarily but I am hoping there is more bhakti brought in. It is the self-study, self-inquiry that comes from these books that I love so much.
I think I have gotten a much more complete picture of yoga in all its aspects although I still don’t understand bandhas and before I had dismissed prāṇāyāma. I was so out of touch with my body when I first came that I couldn’t really tell what the merits were from prāṇāyāma but now I can tell if I haven’t done prāṇāyāma in just a couple of days. Within the āsanas, I really get more of a sense of that feeling of where I am and who I am versus a position that needs to be perfected from looking at something from the outside. That has changed for me dramatically because I used to see the āsanas as positions that you were only really ‘doing’ when they were physically perfected.
Tantra has changed for me in the sense that I see it more from the logical side now. In the same way that the Vedas are formulae, this aspect of the philosophy is so much more, such as the tattvas and understanding how our expression logically comes all the way down from the Absolute. I have gained more of a comfort in the logic so to speak.”
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