Being comfortable in discomfort; a deep dive into Kundalini yoga with Marieke de Lange
Whether you want to relax, ease your mind, have a workout or get in touch with your spiritual side; yoga is for everyone. The combination of physical and mental exercises have become increasingly popular across the globe. There are so many different practises that there’s something suitable for each person. Young or old, overweight or fit, yoga has the power to calm the mind and strengthen the body. Most people are familiar with practises such as Hatha, Vinyasa, or Yin. A lineage that’s slightly less popular, is Kundalini yoga – a practise in which you work with ‘the energy of the soul’. In a podcast interview with Marieke de Lange, founder of the Kundalini Yogaschool, we dive into this dynamic practise and how yoga and meditation can help us strengthen the connection to ourselves. In this article, we share some of the highlights with you and the 5 reasons why you want to start practising Kundalini yoga today.
“When a friend of mine told me about it, I didn’t find it appealing at all; it sounded too dogmatic and extreme. People wearing white clothes, singing mantras and having to take cold showers all the time… it just sounded so weird to me”, says Marieke when we ask her about her initial thoughts on Kundalini yoga. She laughs while she thinks back of these moments and then continues more seriously: “I felt a lot of resistance towards the practice, but that’s exactly the power of Kundalini yoga: it teaches you to become more comfortable with discomfort and to feel the emotions that come up instead of suppress them.”
Marieke is not your average yogi and has done a lot of different things in her life, from being a theatre director to running a non-profit organisation. Her path with Kundalini yoga started in 2011 and that path has only widened since. “There was a deep sense of recognition – a feeling of coming home – that pulled me in”, she says with a calm and determined voice.
Kundalini: the energy of the soul
Kundalini yoga is very different from other yoga lineages. It’s a dynamic practice in which you move a lot, use the breath of fire to purify and energise, or chant mantras. There are numerous elements that are added to what you would recognize as the more traditional form of yoga. According to Marieke, this is the beauty of Kundalini yoga. “It creates an opportunity for people to move beyond their self perceived limitations much faster. It’s a very delicate practice of exploring your boundaries; not pushing yourself beyond them, but not staying on the safe side either”.
Marieke explains that in Kundalini yoga it’s all about becoming aware of the things it triggers within you. All the ideas you might have about yourself, how your mind reacts, the emotions that come up. The practise can help you to notice your thoughts, become aware of the mechanisms in your brain, but without identifying yourself with it. You practise this on the mat, but very quickly you can use it in your daily life and this can feel very healing and liberating. “Ultimately,” Marieke says, “Kundalini is about the energy of the soul; the energy to live your full potential. Practising Kundalini yoga can help you to clear blocked energies and tap into who you truly are.” But according to Marieke, you need to be ready for it. For some people, she explains, it might be too much as Kundalini has a very direct approach.
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.” – The Bhagavad Gita
Needing something different everyday
In the episode with Marieke we talk about how we, as human beings, are not constant and we change continuously. And with that, so do our needs and perspectives. You feel different everyday (especially women), and so you need something different everyday. It’s a beautiful thing and exactly what we want to offer you at House of Essence. It’s all about balance and different practises can offer you different things to feel your best. “You can’t find everything in one thing,” Marieke says, “I think that’s a limitation we can’t afford any longer, as this limited approach of sticking to one view or one way is creating a lot of trouble in the world. We need to listen to our own intuition and take an open-minded approach”.
5 reasons to start practising Kundalini Yoga, inspired by Marieke de Lange:
- Become more conscious: Your body is constantly communicating with you and is your greatest ally in becoming more conscious. The moment you think a rigid thought, it has an effect on you; you can sense the reaction in your body. The more you become aware of this, the more conscious you become of yourself.
- Heal through relaxation: Kundalini Yoga can help you to strengthen and balance your nervous system. During a Kundalini Yoga kriya, all the nerve endings in the body are given a tune-up. During the deep relaxation that follows, you can experience a rejuvenating state where healing can take place.
- Feel emotions instead of suppressing them: In our society, we’re tempted to push away any negative emotions that come up. Sometimes you just need to feel what you feel, as it’s all a part of life. Marieke: “An emotion is the knock on the door to your true self. They are the invitation to become real”. Everything in life is a fluctuation and Kundalini Yoga gives you greater awareness and helps you to allow these emotions.
- Develop your intuition: when you clear the subconscious mind through practises such as Kundalini Yoga, your sense of guidance becomes stronger, helping you to make decisions based on your inner wisdom.
- Become comfortable with discomfort: we’ve created a society that’s all about comfort and convenience. We try to be comfortable as much as possible, but discomfort is also a part of life. Practising Kundalini yoga can help you show up and be real, even when things get tough. You might have to make an extra effort, but in the long term it will contribute to the health and happiness of not just yourself, but also the people around you.
Circle of Essence
In the Circle of Essence, we place Marieke right in between spirituality and health; she is a master at combining these two to inspire and empower others to live happy and healthy lives, using yoga as a direct key to overall well being of body, mind and spirit.
Marieke de Lange is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of the Kundalini Yoga School. Marieke passionately shares her wisdom about yoga and lifestyle to help strengthen our body and mind and become more conscious of ourselves and the world around us.
In the podcast episode with Marieke, we dive deeper into the limitations of the mind and how you can move beyond these. We talk about transformation, consciousness and that it’s impossible to lose the connection to ourselves.
Curious about the full episode? Listen to it via Spotify or Apple Podcasts.