“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”~Steve Jobs
I’ve reflected on that quote a lot as I try to explain to people all the steps that led the prior version of me (I’ll call her Lynn 1.0), sitting in an office as an accountant in San Francisco eight years ago, to become the current version of me (Lynn 2.0), living in Greece teaching Kundalini Yoga under the Acropolis. My story is that in 2012 after living in San Francisco for 15 years, I moved to Athens, Greece.
The curious part of the story is that I had no reason to move—no Greek man, no Greek job, no Greek heritage to explore, just a very clear feeling, like a calling, that I should be in Athens. Since that move, I’ve quit my 20+ year career in finance to teach Kundalini Yoga and the Enneagram System of Personality. I’ve written two books on the subject (and I never planned to write a book!). It’s been quite a journey, and one I never would have expected.
People imagine that one day I just decided to change my life completely. But that isn’t what happened: there were a million dots along the way. I tried to map out the different dots in the hope you might find something to apply to your situation.
1.0 to 1.1 September 2007: My boyfriend walked out, and my teacher walked in
When I rewind back to the beginning, the whole transformation started in 2007 with a relationship breakup. My boyfriend and I had been together a little over two years, we were living together, and the relationship was collapsing. We had huge problems, but we also had a very deep connection so the breakup was quite painful for me. His friend, Amy, saw that I was struggling and said to me “Have you thought about trying Kundalini Yoga? That’s how I got through my divorce…It helped a lot. I eventually breathed my way to clarity.”
I had never even heard of Kundalini Yoga. I wasn’t even a “yoga person.” I was a surfer, a runner, and I had done paragliding and triathlons. I liked intensity. I thought yoga was boring. But I was suffering enough to be open to any suggestions so at 9:00 on a Saturday morning in September of 2007, I went to my first Kundalini Yoga class at the San Francisco Kundalini Yoga Center in the Haight Ashbury district.
The class was in an ashram, which had a sort of holy feeling, and the teacher was a man in his 50s dressed all in white with a long white beard and a white turban. The environment felt totally foreign, and I remember thinking “What. Is. This??”
It turned out to be an amazing stroke of luck that Siri Vedya was the teacher that day—he is an extremely kind person with a wonderfully uplifting energy and very inclusive manner. He was polite and welcoming in just the way I needed at the time. He explained that we’d keep our eyes closed for most of the class, which was a huge relief to me since I had been crying. We sat on strange rugs, we chanted, we did exercises I wasn’t familiar with, and he played his guitar as background music. I was completely outside my comfort zone, but somehow it worked. I felt better after the class. I felt stable, and my mind wasn’t in an endless loop of past events. I had no idea what had just happened, but I decided I would go back.
And this is how it started. Every Saturday from 9:00-10:30 I’d go to Siri Vedya’s Kundalini Yoga class. He was older and wise, and he would spend ten minutes at the beginning of each class talking about life, his experiences and observations, and tools we could use for our own lives. I grew to love the classes, and they became one of my favorite parts of the week.
After six months of these weekly classes, my mood had stabilized, and my outlook was more positive. And at this same time I began to notice strange occurrences in my body. In class, I started to feel energy in my hands and fingers that felt almost like a mild electric shock. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but it was strange. I eventually asked my teacher about it, and he said “Oh, that’s very normal. You’re waking up. Your energy is activating and starting to flow.” He didn’t offer a lot of explanation beyond that, and I didn’t push for more, but I did become interested so I started researching Kundalini Yoga on my own. And this is what led me six months later to a White Tantric Yoga class.
There is a yogic saying “Life isn’t good. Life isn’t bad. Life isn’t anything but raw material and how you interpret the events.” I’ve found this is true and that whole year of 2007 was a good example of that for me. At the time, it felt like the worst year of my life. But with perspective, while it was a painful year, it was also an important year. It was the year I started to wake up.
And if I was starting to come out of a haze in 2007, White Tantric Yoga in 2008 was like a bucket of cold water.
Next: 1.1 to 1.2: White Tantric Yoga.
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