I really should call this post “What was supposed to be meditation.”
I was pretty excited to find that a YMCA near me offered a meditation class on Sunday mornings. It took me a few tries (it’s at 9am on Sunday so I had to wake up real early for this one), but I finally made it out to this class for my week 15 challenge.
At work on Friday, I mentioned to my auditor that I was going to a meditation class on the weekend, and he got super excited. He’s really into meditation, as is his brother-in-law. When he first started meditating he found himself at the bottom of the ocean moving with the currents. That sounded pretty cool.
But he said his brother-in-law, who has been meditating for a longer time, experiences meditation a little differently. Apparently this guy becomes a soldier in the Civil War, and gets killed with a bayonet. He falls to the ground during his meditation and needs to be woken up from this state. That sounded a little less cool, and more scary.
But I had high hopes for this class.
When I arrived I went into the studio, got a yoga mat, removed my shoes, and prepared to be really, really relaxed. And then I noticed that the instructor was dressed in all white, just like a Kundalini yoga instructor. Hmmm… maybe he teaches both kinds of classes?
And then the instructor handed me a sheet of paper with the Kundalini chant printed on it. Oh shit. Maybe I will leave. No sooner did this thought pass through my head than the instructor welcomed us to the class and exclaimed with sheer delight that we had 11 people in the class, which was the perfect number for the meditation he had wanted to do today.
OK, so maybe this was a meditation class? Maybe I would just have to put up with a Kundalini instructor for a few minutes before he talked me through a really cool meditation.
I realize that if you don’t know what Kundalini is, this won’t quite make sense. Here’s what I know about Kundalini:
- Instructors wear white and cover their heads, as do hard-core Kundalini enthusiasts.
- There’s a whole lot of chanting.
- There’s lots of shoulder shrugs. Too many shoulder shrugs.
- I’ve never met a Kundalini instructor and thought, “I’d like to be friends with them.” Maybe it’s just the ones I’ve met, but still.
- Every fitness instructor I can think of hates Kundalini.
The class started with some yoga warm ups, but done in a strange way. We did a cat/cow, but really quickly, and I was instructed to fling my head back and forth, allowing my spine to follow. Don’t know if you’ve tried this before, but it’s super uncomfortable and not a great move for your back or neck. The instructor also sounded like a pterodactyl when he breathed, which was distracting.
Then we made a circle (this was about 25 minutes into the class, time I will never be getting back). I really wanted to leave at this point, but there were 11 people, which was apparently the magical number for this meditation. I didn’t want to be that person that ruined the class for everyone else.
This particular meditation takes place three times per month. I sort of drifted in and out of listening at this point, but we were doing the meditation today because it was a full moon… or new moon. For sure one of the two. I didn’t dare ask what would happen if a person performed the meditation four times in a month. The world would probably just explode.
OK, here’s the part when you’re going to think I’m making this up, but I promise the following sentence is true. We sat in a circle, held hands, and chanted for 31 minutes.
You know when you’re at a house party and there’s that one annoying person who just really likes to sing, and does so very loudly? That was the instructor. Every time it was his turn to chant, he sounded like one of the guys from the stage production of “The Lion King” singing his little heart out.
After the sweaty-palmed meditation, it was time for the song at the end of the class. Everyone sang real loud and was into it, except me. The song was about the sun. They sang a song about the sun. And it wasn’t a short song.
And then the class was done. I have never been so frustrated, angry, or disappointed during or after a class, of any kind. All I wanted to do was yell at the instructor. But I didn’t. But it was close.
I may have to try meditation again. I’m still interested in it, but if I accidentally end up in another Kundalini class my head will explode in white hot rage. That’s the opposite of what I’m looking for in a meditation class.