Most evenings I find myself on the hunt for a photograph that will capture the sun's grand finale. One night this fall I decided to watch the light show from a platform in Malibu. With this particular place in mind I drove to the top of the canyon and parked at the beginning of the trail head. To my surprise I noticed dozens of beautiful women in hippie sundresses getting out of their cars and gathering at the foot of the trail. I walked towards them with my camera gear in hand and immediately fell into conversation with three of them. One Malibu this and Hamptons that and boom, they invited me on their expedition to reach the same place I was already going. How could I turn this down?
What a treat it was. The walk to the destination was a hot one but as I moved around the group, each woman I spoke with embraced my presence and shared their story with me. I came to find that they had all spent the day together moving through different exercises designed to open themselves up to their true nature. It was hot as we walked but the conversation, the connections and the mezcal kept the mood high.
The platform sits precariously on top of a giant rock and opens up the view for one to see all of Malibu and downtown LA. It is covered in conscious graffiti that sets the tone for rebellion but in the name of love of course because don't forget we are still in Malibu. As I stepped onto the platform and took a look around at the people that had come together in this collective, I knew that I had embarked upon a divine journey that was just getting warmed up.
The musicians played, the canyons lit up in oranges and reds and we all basked in delight. The collective feeling that was passed around like a joint was one of satisfaction. It was a contagious feeling and it shot across the group as it was fed from one glance to the next. Everyone knew they were experiencing something special and it did not require words for the feeling to be expressed.
Recently I started to think about the word community and how we may be limiting ourselves with old concepts about community. As all sorts of festivals keep popping up across the country it shows that we are craving to connect with other people in a visceral way. Sometimes it takes a tragedy in order for us to create a community and this is where our thinking is archaic and negatively associated.
Having gone to traditional yoga classes since 8th grade, I appreciate the feeling of doing the same ceremonial movements with a group of people. In the United States however, little is mentioned about the energy exchange between everyone in the room and the power we can access if we focus on the group energy. Kundalini yoga classes are different. There is a group intention set by the teacher and the participants work to increase the energetic intention throughout the class. The more the people, the bigger the focus, the bigger the shift that can occur on a collective and individual level. In contrast, a traditional yoga class is often focused on the individual experience and does not include movements that create a community. One of my Kundalini teachers, Jen Frasher explained it well using the example of a big tent. When we come together and use our breath and focus to move through the set of exercises, our individual auric field fills up a space and holds up that part of the tent for the rest of the group. If someone leaves the room to go to the bathroom, the rest of the participants are responsible for holding up that person's tent space while they are gone. If you leave early, you take with you all the energy that was once feeding the collective energy and helping everyone else.
The power of going to a Kundalini yoga class versus doing your set at home is that the group moves you through your BS story more quickly limiting the opportunity to get bogged down. I attended a beautiful full moon class last weekend and I woke up the next day to find that my insecurities about certain subjects had vanished. Did I show up to this event and do the necessary movements and try my best? Absolutely. Was it possible to break through my own limitations because there were 50 other people in the room doing the same? You bet.
What feels impossible on the individual level becomes possible when done in a group with a pure intention. If you spend time in groups with no intention or unsaid intentions, things can go a little haywire. One person's negative mindset can infiltrate the whole group and the next thing you know you are 2 bottles of wine deep and trash talking the president. Is that productive? No! It doesn't fix a thing and it only clouds a very murky situation.
March 29-31 the open community that came together at the top of Malibu canyon is headed out to Joshua Tree for another mind-opening experience. I am excited because I will not be crashing the event but leading a yoga theta workshop instead. Click here to read more about the experience that is intended to be had and while you do, please don't forget that community is about the exchange of energy and the power behind the intention in that moment. Everything is better together. COME!!!