Kriya And Cheetos: It’s All About Balance
By Cathy Connors
I am sitting in my bed working and eating Cheetos. I don’t even like Cheetos but they were what was left in my empty cupboards this morning. And my “go to” when I am stressed out is junk food. And right now, I am scared out of my friggin’ mind. It's crazy how much fear has been coming up for me lately as I take the leap from leaving my private practice as a psychologist and moving into teaching yoga full time.
The usual financial fears are there: How am I going to pay my bills and put food on the table for my boys? How will I afford health insurance? How I will afford to color my hair and buy a cute yoga top every once in awhile? Yes, I still like my comforts :)
The fears of inadequacy seem never ending: What if I am not good enough to do this? What if no one comes on my retreats? What if I sound stupid? What if people don’t like what I offer? What if I am laughed at, humiliated and judged? And my mind screams “Maybe you should get a “real job” with retirement benefits." But my heart cries when it hears this statement.
What triggered the fear most recently? I walked out of teaching a yoga class this morning and passed another teacher on the way out. He told me he had to take over a teacher training group mid-way through the training because the original teacher was fired for doing intense breath practices that were “dangerous”.
Shit. That is what I teach.
And then fear.
I have no idea which breath practices the original teacher taught.I don’t know anything about his or her training. I don’t even know who the teacher was, but it triggered my fear because the stuff I teach is friggin’ weird.
What do I teach, you ask? I teach kriyas. And not Kundalini yoga kriyas, although I have been trained in Kundalini as well. I teach kriyas from the tantra tradition of yoga in the Himalayas – specifically Sattva yoga created by Anand Mehrotra.
I am called to share these kriyas and have been called to share them for a few years now.
Prior to meeting Anand, I taught power vinyasa yoga, owned a yoga studio, and had a part-time private practice in psychology. I was busy, but what I did looked somewhat normal. Being a therapist is considered a good profession and yoga is accepted in the main stream culture these days.
Especially power vinyasa yoga. People love it! They love working up a sweat in a heated room to loud music. I love it too! Moving my body with breath feels like a dance, one I never want to end.
But then I met Anand and dove deeper into meditation, mantra, pranayama, and kriya. And wow! Those kriyas blew my socks off. Powerful mantras like “Om Namaha Shivaya," roaring like a lion at the top of my lungs in simha kriya, subtle laya movements that involve creating a lotus at the heart center with breath, chanting soft mantras like “Aham Prema” with our arms circling overhead. The yoga journeys drew me in. I could still practice vinyasa (my first love) and incorporate kriyas that calmed my nervous system, expanded my consciousness, and released stuck energy in my body and cracked my heart wide open. A deeper love presented itself.
When I came back from his training in 2015, I knew it was my path to share these powerful practices with others. How? I wasn’t sure. There was no road map, not like opening a studio or getting a degree to practice psychology.
I resisted. Why couldn’t I be satisfied teaching power vinyasa? Why couldn’t I be interested in teaching Kundalini? At least people in my community had heard about Kundalini yoga. But if I was being true to what was flowing out of me, it was Sattva yoga and kriya specifically.
During this same time, the shit hit the fan at the studio I owned and I chose to leave. I continued teaching, but now I was teaching in spaces where I didn’t know anyone, trying to teach something new and out of the norm, to people who didn’t really trust me yet. I felt like I was in a fight – with myself and with everyone else – it felt like my life was falling apart.
In those months I would go in and out of teaching authentically. I went from trying to please - to being angry if students weren’t receptive to me and the teachings. Man, what a disaster! I wanted to be loving and kind, but there was so much anger and sadness present - it was overwhelming and felt that it would never release. But I knew I had to feel it in order to let it go.
I made the decision to align to abundance, love, and possibility. I practiced with deep devotion and I moved into a new home which may was a little outside of my price range. My physical move was symbolic of moving toward possibility and a deep knowing that I had something to offer. It was an act of deep trust – that I could make the monthly payment, that I could create something valuable. It was a statement to the universe and to myself: I was deserving of love.
I surrendered to my path, softened to myself and joy began to emerge. People responded. I was supported.
A few years ago, I stood on a huge rock at the edge of the Ganges in Rishikesh, India, wanting to jump in. My heart racing, fear on a visceral level, yet my mind screaming, “If you don’t do this, you will walk away feeling disappointed for backing out on an experience your heart desires.” So I jumped in. I screamed all the way down, but I came up from the water in complete joy – totally alive and in the moment!
This is how I want to live my life. On the edge, heart racing, and all in. I am at the edge again. I know I want to share this practice that I love, but I don’t ultimately know where this path will take me. I still have days like today where my fears are triggered and I respond by eating junk food rather than coming to my breath or my practice.
But I know I am all in for this wild ride and I can giggle now, knowing that this is how it goes when one is on the path of evolution and creation.
I believe we are all here to create, to step into our power as healers, teachers, leaders, and students – of whatever lights our hearts on fire. I invite you to never abandon yourself on this journey, connect with community, and practice kriya with me!
These practices have changed my life. I can shift my energy in a matter of minutes and come back to steadiness, strength, presence, love, softness and ease. If you want to check it out
1. Click here to learn more about Kriya and for 5-10 minute Kriya sets or click here for the 1st Chakra Class.
2. Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free meditation and 2 kriyas at youromtime.com.
3. And click here for a free kriya video to wake up to your inner wisdom/guru/intuition.