By Nirbho Atma Kaur
Devoting yourself to a yoga practice is one thing. Being in school is another type of devotion. Both require discipline, patience, and commitment. Both roles can require you to be responsible for your actions, take initiative, and wake up early, sometimes unwillingly. They differ in various ways. One gets you closer to obtaining a degree, while the other gets you closer to the divine source of creation.
In my last few years of school, I discovered yoga and its transformative benefits. I committed to weekly classes, and started my own practice. I had a period of being torn between the tedious hours of studying in front of a screen, and what my spirit wanted, which was to be free from the university and begin my adult path.
I didn’t know many students who practiced Kundalini Yoga or were interested in yoga, other than the physical benefits. Below are a few of the answers to the questions I wish someone had told me when I was a student and connecting to a yoga practice.
May these questions be a guide towards deepening your own understanding of a spiritual practice, and aligning yourself as a student.
Who will motivate me?
YOU. Motivate yourself by understanding your why. Ask yourself, “What motivates me? What keeps me driven?” Find your why for committing to yourself. The only way you will accomplish your dreams is for you to take care of yourself.
A spiritual practice is like a compass to your deepest desires. Motivate yourself. Then, seek inspiration from your community and people around you. Surround yourself with positivity and encouraging voices that live similar lifestyles.
What do I even do?
What are you looking for in a spiritual practice? Kundalini Yoga has a wide range of meditations and kriyas to choose from. Some are as short as three minutes, while others are two hours. Kundalini Yoga is catered to fit into anyone's lifestyle, at any time.
It depends on what you are willing to do. Do you need something that is more movement based, like Kriya for Awakening the Ten Bodies, or a powerful meditation to help you focus and reduce stress levels, like Kirtan Kriya. Perhaps you need a short breathing practice, for example, Ego Eradicator. You decide, and then commit.
When do I have the time to commit?
I get it, there are late nights studying. There’s parties, friends, studying, cleaning, scrolling through social media, sitting in lectures, labs, and more. A student by no means has a relaxed schedule where they can fit in a large chunk of time for yoga every day. So honestly ask yourself, what is really serving you?
If you find that those thirty minutes when you wake up and scroll through social media are not serving you, then use those thirty minutes to wake up and do a meditation. Or, wake up a little earlier. Meditation and yoga are best practiced before the sun rises, and as the sun is going down. However, if fitting in a meditation after lunch is accessible for you, then choose that. Seize the opportunity.
Where do I do my spiritual practice?
If you don’t have a sacred space already, create one. It’s simple. It can be by your bed, in your living room (if your roommates are open to it), or in a corner of your room. This is a place where you can show up, practice without disruptions (most of the time), and commit to yourself. Also, you may find a sacred space out in nature that calls to you. Listen and visualize your ideal sacred space.
How will I know I’m making progress?
The best answer I have to this is to commit to 40 or 120 days of the same meditation or kriya. Keep a journal to document your progress, insights, realizations, and wisdom gained. Especially with the lifestyle of being a student, having a structured daily practice provides a firm foundation for spiritual, personal, and professional growth.
Being a student comes with its own set of challenges. One of the ways you can overcome those challenges with grace and ease is by committing to a spiritual practice.
May you give yourself the freedom to learn and explore as a human who knows the essence of the Self, while taking a step in your education and future profession.
Sat Nam. Truth is your Identity, Truth is your Name.
In 2010, Nirbho Atma Kaur’s (Melissa Baker) life changed when she had scoliosis surgery, where two titanium rods were placed aligning her spine. Since then, she has fully embraced and cared for her body through an active life. She is a Kundalini Yoga teacher who is passionate about teaching young adults and diverse cultures how to access and connect to their inner truth through Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Ayurveda.
She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and Radiant Child Yoga Teacher. Nirbho Atma learned Kundalini Yoga at an Ashram in Israel. She has developed personal practices of Kundalini Yoga, and Hatha Yoga, and her creative expression of writing and music. She teaches transformational workshops, retreats, children's classes, and online. Outside of yoga, Melissa loves to experience travel adventures, play tennis, be in nature, cook nourishing food from local markets, and simply be around loving people.