I almost missed it.
I read the schedule wrong. I was looking at Monday’s classes instead of Sunday’s.
I was late to leave due to a complete emotional meltdown, and to cap it off, I forgot my tickets that I needed in order to get into the class.
I nearly stuck with the sentiment of, “oh well. I’m already exhausted, I’ll just go watch the sunset and join in a different class tomorrow instead.”
But thankfully the universe had my back, and as I turned back to retrieve my tickets before re-tracing my steps to the studio, something in me said, “meh, might as well try to make it on time.”
Because of that, I just experienced one of the most powerful, grounding moments of my life (and I mean this quite genuinely, without exaggeration).
I’d never heard of, nor taken a Kirtan yoga class before. Truthfully I had no idea what it was, and admittedly I was disappointed when I showed up, ready to push my body and challenge myself physically, only to discover we didn’t event need a yoga mat for this one – just a blanket and a bolster. Okay. Well, this is new.
I thought to myself, “oh no, I can’t handle a full-on meditation right now,” but I saw the harmonium (don’t worry, I had to google this too), and the djembe which intrigued me enough to stay.
My reward for showing up and staying present is one I will be forever grateful for.
As a brief aside – Kirtan yoga (as I experienced it) is the practice of chanting a mantra over and over again in unison, following the guide of musical notes from whatever instrument is present – in my case, the magical combination of the two I referenced above, plus singing voices – and in my case – chanting in Sanskrit.
Our instructor, Ellen, in addition to her talents on the harmonium, had one of the most beautiful voices I have ever been graced with to the point that I was brought to tears. Each new melody, harmony and mantra came with such emotion, power and beauty that so deeply moved me…what a gift.
Combined with her synopses of what each chant/mantra spoke to, it felt like this practice was curated just for me. Never in my life have I experienced feeling like I was exactly where I was supposed to be in exactly the right moment as I did right then and there. It was everything I didn’t know I needed.
The opening mantra was rooted in the premise of impermanence. That all things must eventually dissipate in order to create space for newness and growth. We have to let go, let be, and trust in this process of rejuvenation.
It also invited in the concept of there being a divine teacher – meaning there are always lessons to be learned and people/experiences that will have offerings beyond our current grasp or understanding in order for us to expand and grow, but at the same time recognizing that there is a divine teacher within, and we can therefore trust ourselves implicitly to gracefully guide us wherever we need to be, even without conscious recognition at the time.
Precisely like the guiding forces that allowed me (although not without a bit more time pressure than I would have preferred), but ultimately allowed me to have this full experience and to be able to recognize the delineations within it.
The room was electric. The current of energy flowing through this space as the mantras reached their crescendo and the drum beat came louder, the voices stronger, the meaning and the feeling more powerful…it was stunning. I cried. I caught my breath. I cried again.
This release was so necessary for me and I know I sound ethereal in saying these things but it was actually quite the opposite. It was in reality so incredibly grounding, even in it’s transcendence.
What I take from this is that the universe granted me a beautiful gift. It gave me peace and clarity and although at times I’ll admit I was a bit uncomfortable with the intensity of the whole experience and the shared experience of others, it was still in it’s own way perfect. I was offered a moment of reprieve from the otherwise persistent and nagging thoughts that were earlier clouding every aspect of my being.
I may not be able to ever fully articulate the magic that went on in that room, but it was truly a sacred practice that I am intentionally documenting here so that I can always remember.
If there is one singular reason why I was brought back to Bali this time around, I’m pretty sure this was it.