I once had a student in a workshop come up to me during the break and quietly tell me that she wanted to cry during the meditation.
‘Hurrah!’ I said. ‘Cry, my love! Let it all out!’
‘I can’t,’ she said. ‘Because if I start, I’ll never stop.’
Heart-breaking. I told her to start and never stop, if that’s what it takes. But definitely start.
Quite a few of us have been there, welling up in a kriya or meditation for no apparent reason. The movements, breath work and mantras encourage strong shifts of energy in our body, and those shifts can bring an emotional release as old pent-up feelings are unearthed. The reason we cry during kundalini yoga is because it has touched our soul in some way. It’s the song of our heart!
Among the millions of tearful ky moments, there have been a few memorable ones for me. One was after 11 minutes of camel pose. Because, well, 11 minutes of camel pose! I didn’t cry while holding the posture. In fact, during it, I was terrified that my neck would close up and I wouldn’t be able to breathe – around half way through, my throat started issuing all manner of weird noises. I sounded like an animal in labour. I couldn’t swallow, I felt like I was going to snap in two. Aaargh, it was tough! But it was when I eased myself back over into baby pose that the spontaneous sobs came, wracking my body, thick and fast, like I’ve never cried before. It was quite something. Yes, 11 minutes of camel pose has the capacity to crack my heart open like an egg.
And then there’s the Sri Gaitri Mantra: Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung. It gets me EVERY TIME. We did this healing meditation during Charanpal‘s class a few months ago. There’s a moment before we begin the meditation when we choose where to focus our healing – a person, a situation, yourself etc. I’ll toy with the idea of sending healing to this person or that situation, but I inevitably settle on Mother Earth as my recipient (see my 120-day meditation of Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung). And wowee, do the tears flow. Every single time I do this meditation, always with Mother Earth in my prayers, I’m in pieces… for all she gives us – unconditional giving that expects nothing in return – and for all of her life-giving grace, and… I could go on and on – I’m a big fan. And after that meditation – during which I sob my heart out for the entirety – I always feel rejuvenated.
And sometimes I’ll have a quiet cry when I’m teaching. In some moments I’m so moved by our earnest efforts to conquer our samskaras/habits/patterns and the courage it takes for us to confront whatever it is we’re confronting in ourselves – it moves me to tears.
So, crying during kundalini yoga = an emotional release, a washing clean, an opening of the heart, a sighing of the soul. Don’t wipe those tears away, let them flow.
As Kripalvananda says: ‘Crying is one of the highest devotional songs. One who knows crying, knows spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer. Crying includes all the principles of yoga.’
Here’s a great kundalini yoga kriya for the heart:
Sat nam. x