I just got back from Kundalini Yoga…well that is what they said it was.
I beg to differ.
I was looking forward to this class all week! “Wow”, I thought, “my very own Kundalini yoga class right around the corner from my house. I will get practice every week on strengthening my chakras, opening my first eye, and tuning my vibrational energies.” Twice as many people were lined up for this class compared to the other two classes I attended this week; that is a good sign, right? The class was going to be taught by Siri Adi. With that name, I just knew I was going to be instructed by a true descendent of Africa.
I was sadly mistaken.
She was a true Californian with bleach-blonde hair, white see-through shorts, and sagging, sun-torched skin. “It’s Ok”, I thought. I guessed she had been trained and “ordained” as a master yoga instructor, so I couldn’t judge her by her looks. I am new to this type of yoga, so who am I to judge? Kundalini yoga is considered an advanced form of yoga from what I know, so she must know her stuff.
Once again, sadly mistaken.
She explained the practice a little, and gave a very brief history lesson, which was way off, but that was expected. No credit is given to ancient Africans for much of anything, especially not yoga. She went on to show some examples of what we would be doing. We also did some chanting and fire breaths; this was fine. But when we started to get into the real exercises, she had to pull out a notebook to refer to! I am almost certain that several of the exercises we tried to do were completely wrong; she even said “this doesn’t feel right at all” and “this is like trying to rub your belly and pat your head at the same time!“. Of course everyone laughed, and went along with it. I sat there with a mean mug on my face.
Instead of hearing a soft melody or peaceful instruction allowing us to go deeper into the practice, I was bombarded with thoughts of how unnatural and awkward this was. I was starting to get angry and frustrated. I just did what I could to get the most out of the situation. But what really got to me was when she stopped in the middle of doing a modified cat/cow exercise and started to tell us about an article she read recently in People magazine! It was something about this man who researched is ancestry, and found out he was related to Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Jeffrey Dahmer; he made the point that we are all unique but we are essentially one people.
I almost got up and left.
I am trying to raise my Kundalini, open my first eye, shoot rainbows through my crown, and confront the God in me, and you ova there talking ’bout Brad Pitt!
My head began to throb. I tried to tune her out. I tried to think about my ancient Kemetic ancestors doing yoga; I tried to think about the pose I was in, which looked similar to the Sphinx. It helped me get though the utter disgust I felt. I felt sad, and mad, and tired. I read that yawning at an unusual time is a sign of anxiety. I yawned about 6 times in that hour! What kind of yoga makes you more stressed! Good Lawd! (as we say back home)
Black people, we have to take back our practices, our song, our dance, our natural way of being. This experience today made me angry, but it also made me realize that they will never master such mysterious traditions of African people, but we (as Americanized Africans) can, and that is comforting.