Bali in 18

Style: Kundalini
Teacher: Meherbani Desrochers
Studio: Rama Lotus

Extraterrestrial yoga. After a series of intensely introspective days spent feeling incurably overwhelmed, I'm in the mood for a change. I've only taken Kundalini yoga a few times but I've learned to expect the unexpected. Tonight I don't know what's in store for me but I'm basking in the mystery, feeling appreciation for the inherent freedom of the unknown. Walking into the Crystal room I'm not sure if I should believe my eyes at first. Decked out in traditional Kundalini regalia, I see the instructor sitting in full lotus on a white animal pelt. Beside her is a massive gong, a bunch of unripe bananas and a picture of a swastika. Alright, let's do this. Bring on the weird.

I hand my class card to the teacher and in exchange she hands me one of the green bananas. Smiling graciously for my unexpected gift, I nod my head and return to my mat. The class starts uneventfully enough as we move through some yoga exercises and a few breathing techniques. Eventually I'm on my back staring at the ceiling and the instructor casually asks us to take out our bananas. Placing my hands in the prayer position with the banana in between, I raise it up into the air. Next I'm supposed to visualize pure love passing from me into the banana, filling it with pure positive energy. Before my mind has a chance to incredulously demand to know why I'm holding this random fruit I cut it off mid-sentence. Instead I bring to mind images from my past, pieces of memory. I imagine my childhood dog, Sadie. She passed away last year but I can remember her beautiful face like I'd seen it this morning. I concentrate on the familiar feeling of unconditional love I felt for her and bring that emotion to the forefront of my consciousness. As I'm overcome with this energy I transfer it into the fruit overhead and soon the sound vibrations of the gong wash over me. This could be the single-most bizarre occurrence of any yoga class I've ever been to, but tonight I'm not letting it faze me. I put my disbelief into suspended animation. I let go of anything preconceived, any suggestions or concerns of the mind. I let myself fall into the experience as fully as possible, releasing all need to understand. My mind insisted that what I was doing was insane and I responded that I wasn't interested in its opinion at this point in time. Afterwards we were reminded to eat our fruit once it's ripened to receive the energetic benefits. Naturally.

After coming out of savasana, I awaken to find out that class isn't exactly over. We are now moving into meditation. As I cross my legs and close my eyes, Meherbani informs us that we will be using a mantra. It's known as the Guru mantra and sounds like "wah-hey gu-ru". The first half is said with volume and the gu-ru is spoken at a near whisper. I was expecting to silently repeat the mantra in my head for a while. I would probably forget as my mind trailed off into some non-related topics and eventually it would meander back, all in the privacy of my own skull. Instead here I am, sitting on the floor with my hands over my head like a teapot. Seconds turn to minutes as I continue to belt out the words. Repeating the mantra out loud forced my concentration to stay frozen like it was caught in oncoming headlights. I could feel it squirming, twisting and reeling, viciously struggling for an escape, but I continued to bombard it with the mantra. Over and over again I chanted the words in unison with the other voices in the room. I'm sure only a few minutes went by but I have no way to be absolutely sure. Time turned endless and nothing existed except me and the sound of my voice. Eventually the chant subsided and we drew in one last deep breath then released it, bringing the experience to an end. Walking out of the room afterwards I was met with some baffled looks from the yogis in the hallway. I couldn't figure out why and I'm still not really sure - Is there something weird about leaving a yoga class clutching a banana?


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