At the end of 2015 chanting and beautiful vibrations wafted into my life providing me with the path that I needed to address my anxiety, fears of the future and years of pent up anger from juggling a life of being a single mom and having a demanding career in the corporate world, always second guessing if I was good enough in either role.
In the beginning:
At the end of 2015 I embarked on a project whereby I had to spend 50% of my time in Johannesburg away from home. I found a lovely studio flat which was part of a guest house called 4 Living. The Guesthouse is run by Dr Marianne Felix who is the founder of a NGO called yoga4Alex that teaches yoga to school children in Alex and assists them in channelling some of their challenges that they encounter, through Yoga and thereby helping them to heal and expand. On weekends Marianne used to run yoga classes for some of the students on the veranda and as such I was privy to the chanting and beautiful vibes that wafted through. I would sometimes sit with my wine and watch some of the classes to which Marianne always used to invite me to participate in. I found it to be a little daunting as there are a lot of chants and tuning in, and as such I was not comfortable with displaying such abandonment.
Early 2016 I finally caved and decided I would join a few classes with Marianne and then also went to a couple of classes at Ishta studio. By this time, I was completely hooked on this newfound Kundalini Yoga. I value my family and friends, most of whom were in Cape Town and the stresses of juggling 2 homes, different environments and a fast-paced demanding job was rapidly becoming overwhelming and daunting.
Yoga helped me deal with the stress, anxiety and fear of the future that challenged me. I learnt that some days could be challenging on the mat and that walking out of a class did not always mean I was walking out in love and light. There were days where I cried hard, days that I was so angry and days that I was completely at peace and high on life. This lesson was such an important one for me and made me understand that when emotions come up you do not always have to control or fear them. Just allowing yourself to sit and observe is very empowering and cathartic. Upon my return to Cape Town I sought out teachers and came across Patwant who gave me such an amazing gift of holding the space for me whilst I walked this path. After only a year or so of practising yoga, including attending different types of classes here and abroad, Patwant encouraged me to start my teachers training. I was horrified to think that I could start to teach Yoga after only having practised for a relatively short time however what I discovered is that the best way to learn is to teach! I duly filled in the application form to which I had to answer some questions like do you drink, yes! Do you eat meat, yes! In fact, I am a complete heathen…. the answer was we would love to have you… and so the journey continues. In Kundalini we choose to take on a spiritual yoga name and during lock down I chose to embrace my yogi identity Priya Deval which literally means: Priya is beloved, love. Dev means angelic and divine. Pal refers to a friend, supporter, and protector.
Even before the Pandemic the world seemed to be moving at such a fast pace and the daily demands seemed to be spiralling out of control. The feelings of fear, being overwhelmed and anxiety are palpable and therefore I believe that imparting some of the yogi knowledge and practise would be such a gift for those who are open to learning and challenging themselves so that they may grow and expand to break through that which holds them back and restricts their view on their lives so that they may break those barriers and move forward.
On writing this article I went back to my teacher training application form to seek inspiration. A deep sense of reaffirmation came for me when I saw how my path has unfurled since that point in time.
Expansion truly does come through yoga.
Excerpt from my teachers training application:
“I have felt the difference that practicing Kundalini yoga has made in my life. When I embarked on my spiritual journey, I felt that Kundalini helped me dig deeper into myself, it has helped to ground me and it continues to strengthen my faith and my resolve that I am on the right path. I do believe that our journeys never end, and that each day is an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve. Kundalini has also taught me that during the darker harder days that it is ok to feel and observe these days with the lessons and the feelings that they bring up, in short it has helped me deal with my fears and to not fear, fear! I want to be able to grow in my Kundalini practice for myself and for others.”