By Deg Ajeet Kaur aka Janet Howard
I intuitively knew I needed Kundalini Yoga in my life. The end of my marriage—falling to pieces on the floor—was the strongest symptom telling me that I needed kundalini. It would hold me safely and offer tools while I carefully and slowly dared to dig through the rubble.
My twenty-five year marriage came to an end. I thought that was why I started yoga in 2016 at the age of fifty-four. I needed something. I was constantly on the go and held it all together.
Falling apart was a good thing. On the ground, guts and bone—it was time to put myself back together again. But using food as medication, daily work-outs and my other coping strategies weren’t enough anymore. Like favorite clothes that were now full of holes and threadbare thin, I had to look outside for something different.
I remember my first kundalini class. Shoulder shrugs—what a phenomenon! I had a warm malleability and rubber band neck feeling that released pain from my mind, my muscles and cells. At the end of class after chanting, I felt peaceful.
My teacher, SiriNam, let me record his class and I started practicing, each morning, early. When I told him he said, “That’s your Sadhana.” I had no idea what Sadhana was. My body, my spirit, led me to a daily, predawn practice before I knew there was a word for it. I went to kundalini class twenty-six times before spontaneously and impulsively signing up for teacher training at Yoga at the Ashram in Millis, MA. I had no idea what was in store.
But there was something else in the rubble. Deeper down. I picked it up and looked at it with humble, honest eyes. I knew I was traumatized as a child; I knew it in my mind. I had been in therapy for about eight years. But I didn’t ever let myself really know it. That wasn’t possible yet.
I had been diagnosed with PTSD. I didn’t feel safe enough to let myself fully feel and release the emotions associated with it. Last month, I spoke with the person who hurt me and broke the code of silence that was inside my body for my whole life. A voice inside of me said, “Don’t do it. It will set you back. You aren’t ready.”
But the wheels were literally in motion, as I made the drive. First I felt brave, listening to mantra in my car, but about a mile from the destination, I felt like a frightened little girl. I carried out the task in a business-like manner, got back in my car and drove home.
Back at home that afternoon, I started to put on that moth-eaten shirt that I had discarded—making toast and popcorn. I wore the old shirt for twenty-four hours. But the next day told myself, “Not this time. We aren’t wearing that garment anymore.” So I looked through the closet at my new options.
I continued my practice—maintained alcohol-free and vegan diet, prayed. I thought I was out of the woods. I felt okay but was kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop and it did. A couple of weeks later, my terror came exploding out of the cracks where it was hiding, like a wave surging and finding its way through spaces and crevices on a rocky shore, white foam shooting up into the air.
I knew it existed from my nightmares. Having nightmares and waking up in terror was a regular event in my life. But the moment I awoke, the terror leaked out of my mind like water through a sieve. Gone—in a blink—gone. I would only experience it for a flash before it receded back into the cracks where it lay hiding. But I knew it was in there. And in that flash, I knew it was an unmanageable fear. I knew it was a mind-losing fear.
When the terror released in a deluge that first time, I turned to kundalini and the power of mantra. I chanted. I chanted in bed until I fell asleep. I chanted in the car on my way to therapy, feeling the wave about to surge. When my mind started racing, I chanted. Mantra was like giant loving arms that spread out and pulled in the scattered fear energy and held it close and contained. It was like a warm, loving, puffy, vegan-down, thunder jacket.
Kundalini is stability. It offers tools when working through emotions and the challenges of life, past life, past experiences, and in crisis. It holds powerfully painful moments.
Kundalini is discipline. Early to bed, early to rise, getting in that cold shower (not easy yet but do it anyway). Everyday.
Kundalini is moving. Twisting, bending, breathing, holding, stretching, chanting, crying, feeling, loving, blissing and then relaxing with blue expanding orbs behind closed lids and the feeling of a gong energy going through my body as I relax.
Kundalini is empowerment. With arms at 60 degrees and chanting, my mind was chattering, “I can’t – yes I can – no I can’t – yes I can – no I can’t.” Dancing and spinning round and round. And in the end, yes actually, I could and did. We all could and we all did. I don’t dance around in question anymore. Most days.
Kundalini is daring to feel. Daring to see. It’s not an easy path. It’s an honest path, a humble path. A giving path.
Kundalini is relationship. Relationship with self, spirit, people, nature, music, prayer, dawn, and withmy cat Nico, who joins me for chanting mantra. And who just today sat perched on my navel center as I went into a back bend.
Kundalini is a toolbox for healing. Along with therapy, healthy lifestyle, reiki, journaling, praying and other strategies, it provides structure—kriyas, meditation, mantra and mudras for healing. Each morning, the right kriya appears.
My kundalini journey happened without overthinking, without planning. It was and continues to be an organic experience. I’m thankful my spirit directed me to a place where I can be aided in healing, to become the most powerful, loving person I can be and to fulfill my destiny on planet Earth in this lifetime; to find peace within and to spread it out.
I am stronger than I think I am. I got this.
You are stronger than you think you are. You got this.
We are stronger than we think we are. We got this.
My spiritual name is Deg Ajeet Kaur, the sacred Princess/Lioness of God who overcomes every obstacle by embodying graciousness, hospitality and kindness in the world. Deg means hospitality and graciousness. Ajeet is one who is victorious; one who overcomes every obstacle.
Kundalini Yoga transformed Deg Ajeet’s life (Janet Howard), helping her through big life changes with an increased sense of calm, emotional healing, self-acceptance and trust in the flow of life. She started to recognize a part of herself that was deep within. Quiet. Loving. Forgiven. Forgiving. Her daily sadhana is her gift to herself and the calm consistency in a chaotic, ever-changing world. Wherever she is, her kundalini sadhana is with her. Yes, she gets thrown off balance regularly, but each morning, she gets back to her center – strong, relaxed and at peace.
With an over 25 year career in health care environmental stewardship (www.practicegreenhealth.org), Deg Ajeet’s passion lies in healing the planet – feeling love, respect and appreciation for all living things and connecting with the energy in nature. On the side, Deg Ajeet established Rosehip26 for Air BNB and Reiki Integrative Touch offering. Deg Ajeet received her Level One Instructor Certification in May 2018 and teaches a weekly class at Ananda Yoga in western Massachusetts.