In one word, my experience at Shri Kali, has been amazing. It has changed my whole life. Perhaps, not changed my whole life; however, the ways in which I experience the world are completely different. So when I say, it has been amazing, it has made me see a more beautiful world.
I originally came as a backpacker through India, yet I wanted to show my family something that I had done. So, I came to do a yoga teacher training to get my certificate, and my time here never really ended. I arrived at Shri Kali as my first stop. The traveling never happened and that was four years ago! Within the context of Bhagavan’s lectures, I found what I had always had in my head but what I could never rput in to words. It kind of felt like coming home, so you don’t leave that place, now do you? I never knew I was looking. I just wanted a piece of paper.
I had a lot of physical recovery from when I was a child, when I went through a lot of cancer treatments. The modern doctors had told me that recovery from these issues was not possible. Yet, here, I found it was possible. I went through a whole mental/psychological shift. When I had cancer at that young age, I started seeing my body as the enemy. So making peace with my body has been a huge shift for me at Shri Kali. The āsanas have been a big part of that I still have experiences in the āsanas where I may get scared all of a sudden or happy all of a sudden and then something that I used to think about myself is gone afterwards. Things seem to be going away without even doing anything. Plus there is the whole mental shift that I was talking about before; the way the whole world looks different. The physical seems to just be a side effect. I have been doing the āsanas, prāṇāyāma and the bandhas and in this, my whole mental and physical body has been put back in to balance. It’s amazing that after years of being in and out of hospitals doing checkups, I do a few āsanas and it is all of a sudden possible… it’s crazy!
Now āsanas are just part of life. I had done a few yoga classes before back home but I never really enjoyed them. I had a few experiences that were sort of nice but other than that I just felt it was kind of scary. I was really inflexible and thought it was just for people in spandex. I didn’t really get it. I was actually a little scared when I came to India for yoga training. I also wasn’t looking for anything spiritual and so I knew nothing about Tantra other than the fact that it was linked to sexuality, nothing deeper than that. There are some people that come and have long trainings in Tantra, but then they get here and realize that the teachings are just so different. Even after I came, I tried to look at some of the other stuff, but it wasn’t really for me. There are a lot of weird things going on out there, so I am grateful that I have found this beautiful place on the first try and without even trying.
It’s a different world after leaving the ashram. It has been wonderful to have the opportunity to see the world in a different way and have the chance to look at myself, to see my patterns in my relationship history with my family. Part of that, was being able to have a relationship with my parents and my family, in general and being able to have a close relationship with my parents was a big thing for me and was something that was just not possible before. There were too many aspects that I hadn’t looked at and it seemed unimportant. Now, I am just able to be with my family and let them express; able to just love them for who they are. Also, in general, it’s easier to interact in the world when you don’t feel like you have to control people and you can let them express the way that they want to express. My life experience is much richer now. Often I feel when I study, that I have just scratched the surface and that there is so much out there that I have not even seen. It is like having seen the world in black and white and then all of a sudden, all of these colors arise. It’s difficult to explain. It’s like sitting with someone who has green glasses on and you have pink glasses on. You have to agree with them over what color the world is, however even this doesn’t matter. I have my experience and they have theirs and that is enough.
I don’t think I can pick anything out specifically with this system that I like more than the other. It’s a wholesome system. Some days, I hate really looking at myself, it can be horrible, but I also love it. It is only horrible for a little while and then you get to the other side and this is truly wonderful. Āsanas can be amazing some days and there are also not such good days. The teachings can be confusing and a little bit scary, but then down the road, you get it. The system is complete.
I teach four times a week, āsanas for tourists, beach exercises and the Āyurvedic Bone Alignment. Originally I wanted to teach, that is why I came for the certificate. But then my experience that I had was so powerful, that I just wanted it for myself. However, 6 months later, I came home from Shri Kali and I told my friends what it was like and they were all very excited to try. Then slowly I started to show them. At this point, I realized something that was so beautiful, I couldn’t only just have for it me, that would be really weird. So the second time I came to Shri Kali, I wanted to learn more about teaching it. The first time I was really not interested. It took a long time for me to actually want to share it, but it’s impossible not to share because once you start to integrate what we do here, just being you is part of the sharing.
I like the teaching. It is very nice. I have been a teacher since I was 16, teaching almost everything that I ever did. So that was maybe also why I originally thought I would keep this to myself. But teaching this system, is not really like teaching in any of the ways I had done before. We always say at this ashram, that we are not teaching, but sharing. I just have to be there and share the āsanas. Sharing other aspects of this system, like the talks, also opens people’s eyes, which is a beautiful experience. To tell them something that might make them look at their lives a little differently is rewarding. I think in all the time I have been teaching, I might have had one person that didn’t like it and the rest of them love it. I have several tourists that come on Monday to my classes and then come back the whole summertime.
As long as I am learning about the Kaula system, I don’t really care what shape or color it is. It’s the same system and this system fulfills me.