Do you get the feeling that we are being asked to be ever so flexible, given all that’s going on in the world at large as well as in our own lives? Even if we don’t – in fact, perhaps especially if we don’t – want to be? No matter what life throws at us, we can often navigate it better by rolling with it – essentially by landing on our feet, like a cat.
To clarify, I’ll quote Alan Watts from What is Tao:
“When a cat falls out of a tree, it lets go of itself. The cat becomes completely relaxed, and lands lightly on the ground.
But if a cat were about to fall out of a tree and suddenly made up its mind that it didn’t want to fall, it would become tense and rigid, and would be just a bag of broken bones upon landing.
In the same way, it is the philosophy of the Tao that we are all falling off a tree, at every moment of our lives. As a matter of fact, the moment we were born we were kicked off a precipice and we are falling, and there is nothing that can stop it.
So instead of living in a state of chronic tension, and clinging to all sorts of things that are actually falling with us because the whole world is impermanent, be like a cat.”
One of the most powerful things about Kundalini Yoga is that you never know what to expect in any given class. This seemingly disconcerting aspect that may have been holding some people back from this style of yoga is the very thing that reflects our current reality.
To practice Kundalini Yoga, you have to be like a cat.
In this way, Kundalini Yoga is just like life, and that’s true now, more than ever. Eventually, you move past “Oh, man, what now,” relax into it, and learn to be like a cat: just show up, be you, do what you can do without letting judgement take control, let go of the outcome, and completely relax into the unknowing, thus learning to “land lightly on your feet”: a practice that serves you well beyond your time on the mat.
By virtue of experiencing this in a controlled situation such as a Kundalini Yoga class, you become better able to manage it in the real-life reality of being “kicked off a precipice,” as we are all experiencing in these times.
Try a class and see. And even if one class feels not for you, boldly try another one; you’ll see that it will inevitably be totally different from the last one. And this will always be true. Thus, you learn to expect the unexpected.
In fact, you will relax into the unknown and eventually, increasingly, learn to let go of expectations, altogether.
You can always modify and make adjustments that are appropriate for your body. In my classes, I include modifications so that whether you’re injured, in a chair, or pregnant, for example, there is a way for you to experience the energy (just be sure to tell me or trust your own body’s inherent knowing).
And then there’s that other aspect of being a cat: you don’t have to do what you are told! When you attend any yoga class, you can simply lie on the floor and ignore us all. It’s fine to just be you! That is a beautiful practice in and of itself: agency in action is a cat’s specialty.
Ready to gain an entire survival kit for both the expected and unexpected challenges of life? Our Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training encourages growth, connection, depth, fun, and agency.
Maybe you want to just join us for one module of our training to see how you feel or maybe that’s all you have time for in this moment. We welcome that! There is also an amazing workshop with Master Teacher Dr. Gurucharan Singh Khalsa on May 7th, Exploring The Mind that we’ve opened up to the public.
Learn more or inquire about private sessions at www.drdanareece.com
Director of Kundalini Studies, Soul of Yoga