2014 is a 7 year…a year of the aura and a shiny new YOU! It’s a great year for cleansing, detoxing and emotional balance….and most of all a great year to step into the dream-you that you’ve always wanted to be in the here and now. Start now!
Here are 14 things that every Kundalini yogi should do in 2014 (in so far as “should” means “Jump for joy and embrace Infinity!”)
1- Love yourself with crazy abandon.
I mean crazy, lost in love, poetry-spouting deliciousness. Learn to love yourself with the kind of passion that you’ve dreamed of receiving from another person. Leave yourself love notes on the bathroom mirror or if that seems too goofy, just remember to give yourself a hug at night and mentally tell yourself how loved you are. My amazing fiance Harnam Singh is my inspiration for this. Each night and every morning, he lies in bed for a minute and tells himself, “I love you, Harnam. You’re beautiful.” He’s so adorable when he does it, I can’t help but follow suit loving him. One of my personal tricks for self-love involves essential oil rollers. I remember the scene from the movie “What the Bleep!” where Marlee Matlin draws hearts on herself and it changes something within her. Inspired, I take my essential oil rollers (say lavender or rosemary, two of my favorites) and draw hearts on my body, mantras and sometimes just the word “love”. I end up smelling fabulous, too!
2- Touch shuniya, the still point. As often as possible.
This could mean a daily 2 1/2 hour sadhana in the amrit vela. Certainly that is going to pack the most punch. But if you’re not ready to commit to that, don’t feel like you aren’t doing enough….find one thing that takes you into the still point of yourself and do it everyday. Even if you only meditate for 11 minutes everyday of 2014, you are going to change your life inside and out.
3- Forgive your parents, your exes, your siblings, your spouse and even your mean teacher from 3rd grade.
You are the only one who is tasting your bitterness. Anger acidifies the blood and causes stiffness, tension, stress and disease within the body — your body — and no one else’s. Make forgiveness a game. Create a list of all the people you need to forgive. Go down the list in 2014 and check people off one at a time as you are able to let things go. Give yourself a gold sticky star for each one you feel release about. Imagine each star is becoming a part of your aura, making you brighter and more radiant as you ‘rack up the points’. No matter how far you get down your list, you’re a winner!
4- Bow to something greater than you.
It doesn’t matter if what you bow to is called God or the Universe or Love. It doesn’t matter if you go to Gurdwara and bow to the Guru or simply lie in the grass under the sun and surrender to the mystery. Remember that you are both infinitely vast and immeasurably small. Release and surrender to the Infinite within you. Watch the tension flood out of your body like you’ve popped a balloon.
5- Stop calling yourself fat. Period.
Or ugly. Or not good enough. Or stupid. Or whatever it is. We’ve all got our words. Some of them were programmed in childhood, and others we’ve picked up as we’ve gone along in life. But whatever word you are using to stop yourself from living the life of your dreams needs to stay in 2013. Here’s a trick my awesome mom taught me to remember to change your self-talk. Put a rubber band around your wrist. Wear it for 40 days. Each time you catch yourself saying the ‘trigger word’ (“Gosh, I look so FAT in these white yoga pants,” for example) snap the rubber band! It creates a light shock and trains the mind avoid that word, like a gentle aversion therapy. Never use it to punish yourself for doing something, but to wake up out of the mental slumber that puts your bad self-talk on auto-pilot!
6- Develop a strong navel center.
Boom. Things will start manifesting like crazy with a strong navel center. You’ll stick up for yourself and frankly your whole day goes better when you’ve set your navel. Before you say, “What the heck is ‘setting your navel'”, think about the people you admire most who stand up for what they believe in. People like Nelson Mandela and Yogi Bhajan had many obstacles to cross, but continued resolutely in the path of their dreams. They both had a strong navel center. Now while Mandela probably never did stretch pose, our teacher Yogi Bhajan did. One of the fastest ways to develop a strong navel center is through stretch pose. Why not do it for 3 minutes before you even get out of bed? Wake up, stretch, think a good thought, and then pop up into stretch pose to get it out of the way. Breakfast of champions.
7- Sing to the sun as it rises.
Become a sun worshipper and connect with the ancients from all over the world who marked the sunrise as the most magical time of the day. Whether you choose to sing the Aquarian sadhana mantras or a mantra that has an energy you are working with, start singing in the darkness of night and finish when the sun is shining on your face. Dedicate your practice to the vitality and life energy it brings. It’s among the most amazing experiences the planet has to offer. (My morning fave? I absolutely love the Waheguru mantra. Pure simran. Pure bliss. Try Nirinjan Kaur’s version from Prem Siri.)
Now isn’t this a tough one! Recognize that you are cared for, protected and loved by the Infinite. Allow this energy to guide your life. TRUST it. Go with the flow and see where you are led. (Chanting to Snatam’s Guru Ram Das opens my heart and helps me trust. Maybe it will do the same for you.)
9- Prepare to take the cold path.
At the moment of death, the Kundalini yoga masters teach us, we will be presented with two options: a warm, cozy path that feels familiar, and a cold, icy path of stillness. The warm path leads to rebirth and the cold path leads to enlightenment or ‘moving on’ in the cosmic scheme of things. All meditation can be seen as a way to prepare to take a cold path through non-attachment, stillness and discipline. Taking cold showers is said to prepare the psyche to take the cold path (in addition to amazing health benefits). Once, during a particularly tough period in my life where I felt like my practice was weak, I asked a teacher what to do. I was overwhelmed, tired and already felt like I was burning the candle at both ends. While I braced myself for his response (I had visions of 2 1/2 hours of Sat Kriya which I knew I wouldn’t be able to commit to), I was so surprised by his response: just take a cold shower every morning. It seemed easy enough, and I knew I could fit it into my schedule and so that’s what I did, and –I kid you not– it changed everything. I felt more prepared, more mentally fit and more physically ready for my day. It was as simple as changing the way the shower valve pointed. If something as simple as taking the cold shower versus the warm shower can change things so dramatically, imagine what taking the cold PATH can do.
10- Be bountiful, blissful and beautiful…however that looks to YOU.
Bountiful, blissful and beautiful are going to look different to different people. Toss out any notions of what is going to make other people happy and do what is going to make YOU happy. Be the you that only you can be. Wear a turban if you want to, or don’t. Wear white if you want to, or don’t. If white and a turban and jewels make you happy then do that, but if you radiantly you means pink plaid tartan skirts and combat boots, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say do that. The world need you to be confidently expressing yourself. Being in the Aquarian Age means you and ONLY YOU know how confidently expressing yourself looks.
11- Make peace with who you are, and who you aren’t.
Every once in a while (usually when tired and hormonal, we’ve all been there, ladies!) I look at the yoga teachers of the world who are former models and wish I looked more like them, or I’ll listen to world famous mantra musicians and wish I had a voice like theirs. Know what those thoughts are? Games my ego plays to maintain a foothold in my psyche. But I am not my thoughts, and I don’t have to attach to them and pretend they are coming from me. I don’t have to measure up to anyone else. The truth is that I am divinely, perfectly me, exactly who I came here to be. And you are divinely, perfectly you. How has the Infinite come to express itself through you? What ways can you express yourself that are healthy, happy and holy? Make a “rampage of appreciation” (a la Abraham-Hicks) listing all the things that are amazingly YOU. Post it where you can see it if you forget. Then take all the things your ego tries to make you think are your ‘weak spots’ and gently send them love them one by one. Silly ego, tricks are for kids.
12- Go beyond your personal best.
Take a state of the union, as I call it, by scanning your life and taking note of what’s happening within. Feel out your upper limits. Now shatter them. Limits are illusions. You can do anything, be anything and have anything you darn tootin’ well want. Just remember to spread the wealth and share the love.
13- Release everything which no longer serves you.
Clean house, both physically and mentally. Remove everything that is dead weight. Surround yourself with things you love that inspire you. Fill yourself up with things that excite and amaze you. And leave the rest behind. Don’t forget to recycle.
14- Follow Your Bliss
Wherever that leads. It could take you to Finland or Fiji. I could mean starting a crafting business or going back to school. It could mean settling in right where you are for the long haul. Use your internal Golden Compass to find your True North. Then take all the amazing tools of Kundalini yoga and fill up your engines. The journey awaits!
How are you opening up and moving ahead in 2014? What are you “must do’s” for the year ahead?