When I first met Guru Deva, I was totally struck by her grace and kindness. She’s a wonderful yoga teacher and a narrator of beautifully wise tales. But a very precious thing she’s gifted me with is, she gave me a taste of what it felt like to really dance, wildly and soulfully, from my heart (thank you, Guru Deva!). Originally from Germany, she’s lived in numerous places including Belgium, the UK, Switzerland and, more recently, Amsterdam – where she stayed for seven years basking in its creativity and openness. In 2015, she and her husband moved to Dasam Dwar Ashram (Le Martinet). Here is her yoga story, best enjoyed with a glass of sweet date milk…
How did you get into kundalini yoga, Guru Deva?
I had been practicing yoga for some time already, mostly Iyengar which I appreciated for its precision and physicality. Kundalini yoga rather found me. I believe it was in 2000. At the time I was simply looking for an easy way to exercise. We had just moved town, I had a little baby girl and a dying father to care for and I had expanded the PR company I was running then together with three friends. In short: the practice needed to fit into a tight schedule which physically and emotionally stretched me to the max. That is when I signed up with a local fitness studio. They did late hours and you could go to classes whenever you wanted. I had put up with the idea of doing some aerobics or working the machines when I glanced at the class schedule and read: Kundalini Yoga. Never heard of it, I remember thinking, but at least it is yoga. The rest is history as they say…
How has it changed your life?
Yoga essentially opened my life. I will never forget that first day of teacher training which I started shortly after my father, who I’d been very close with, had died. When asked: ‘Why are you here?’ I cried my eyes out before I even could utter one word.
I was suddenly addressed by my first teacher who looked me in the eyes and directly pierced through the wounds right into the centre of my heart: ‘He is dead now. There is nothing you can do about it.’ These words, which were for me at the time so out of the ordinary, cut through my trance and ended a circle of despair which had culminated in the very death of my father.
I cried myself through three years of teacher training. Those, however, where no longer tears of despair but tears that needed to be shed in order to start feeling again. Sensing who I was and could be. I am a soul. I do have a destiny. And I do have an agreement with my creator. This surely was more of a physical knowing than an intellectual understanding which changed my perception over time. This is also when my tender relationship with Japji first developed, which still, to this day, soothes me.
What does your yoga practice look like right now?
This is an interesting period for me. I’ve always been a sportive, flexible, fit and ready-to-move kind of person. Lately my body has been in a lot of pain. That is why I am currently exploring the fine line between physically challenging practices as a way to increase the vibration and vitality of my physical body, and much more subtle practices to work with the mind and opening to receive. It is a day-by-day negotiation and, if in doubt, I dance. I recently read somewhere that we are actually here to simply dance our lives. Well this speaks to me… Dancing has and will always be my saving grace.
What is your favourite kriya?
Not sure if I have a favourite kriya. But there are a few kriyas I regularly come back to because they work, in particular if I am in a lot of pain: The 4 U’s, For Unknown Cause Of Sickness and Build Up The Glandular System & Inner Organs.
And I still love doing the very first kriya I was assigned to do for 40 days which is Magnetic Field And Heart Center. I would like to thank Amrit Singh from the UK who taught it a couple of years ago in a Meridian Course in Amsterdam and initiated me into a whole new level of experiencing this kriya. Because the longer I practice the more I believe that there needs to be a transmission of a kriya which a book can never give you.
What’s been the most powerful practice you’ve ever done?
I found that every single practice has changed me. I am not a big fan of superlatives. For me it is about the continuity of the practice as an expression of your love. It is about linking your practice with your life. Otherwise you’re just piling up experiences.
One day when you become soft like wax,
Then my thread of life will pass through you,
And out of the accident of the warmth of my heart
One end will get lit
And you will burn…slowly melting in the heat of the flame.
And when you reach the end,
You will find God waiting for you
To embrace you into His Infinity.
Book: Too many, but here is one I recently enjoyed reading: The autobiography of the co-founder of the Findhorn Community. Eileen Caddy, Flight Into Freedom And Beyond
Place: The land of the Cathars in Southern France, Scotland and South Africa (a place where I have never been)
Song: Van Morrison, In the Garden
Breakfast: Green smoothies which I always promise myself to make and end up with porridge (which I also like).
See more of Guru Deva’s work at heartfirstyoga.com