“May we awaken the full potential of human awareness in each individual. May we reflect that awareness to every person, place, or thing we meet. May we clear any inner resistance, create the power to deeply listen, cultivate inner stillness, and prosper. May we experience our Infinite joy, and fulfill our personal destinies now and always!”
I was born in Estonia on an island in the Baltic Sea called Saaremaa which is the largest Island in Estonia but measures only 100 miles long and 50 miles wide. I grew up on a farm and remember spending lots of time listening to old women describe the hardships of war and the daily grind of farm life. I observed their courage with the awareness that this was not my destiny. I yearned to see the world.
My mother encouraging me to become something bigger, and take advantage of opportunities—even if that meant I would break her heart. And inevitably, the day came when I left the island.
I went to college in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, and studied law. For years, I attended classes from 8:30 am to 4 pm and worked long hours at a coffee shop to pay tuition and living expenses. Though most nights and weekends were dedicated to studying, I still found time to go out, dance, sing, and date.
In the summer of 1997, I received an opportunity to work as a counselor at a Girl Scout Camp in upstate New York. Recalling my mother’s encouragement, I took the job and left my native country. I worked with the Girl Scouts that summer, and by winter I had settled in Boston. Although I chose not to pursue my legal degree, I did end up working for law firms for the next 15 years. I married, bought a house, got a dog, gave birth to a daughter, and eventually divorced.
It was winter of 2008 and I found myself at a dead end. The weather in Boston didn’t help either—it was always snowing and cold, and I felt a deep depression settle in my bones. I couldn’t pull myself together, and the psychiatrist did not seem to care. She prescribed antidepressants and scheduled an appointment in four weeks. I couldn’t wait four weeks—I needed help now!
Thankfully, my sister came to visit. She was reading Eat, Pray, Love. I read the first page of that book and felt like I was reading my own story! The part that resonated with me the most was when the narrator was in India, describing her experience of Kundalini Shakti: “In Indian Yogic tradition, …[Kundalini Shakti] is depicted as a snake who lies coiled at the base of the spine until it is released by a master’s touch or by a miracle, and which then ascends up through seven chakras, or wheels, and finally through the head, exploding into union with God…” Though Elizabeth Gilbert did not think that Kundalini was for her, I knew instantly that I had found what I was looking for.
A week later, I drove two hours in the snow to the Millis Ashram, a beautiful property in Massachusetts dedicated to teaching Kundalini Yoga. I showed up to my first class nearly late, wearing black. I didn’t know that everybody else would be wearing white. Yet, there I was, so I participated with an open heart. We did some strange exercises, chanted strange sounds, and stared through criss-crossed fingers forever! I had no idea what any of this meant, or what it was supposed to do. But it worked. I felt so much better afterwards that I cancelled my next therapy appointment.
Committing to regular practice, I learned how to meditate, manifest, believe, and receive. I learned how to breathe. I watched my thoughts, feelings, and emotions. I learned Mantras from YouTube and chanted while driving to work. I cried. I let go. I was healing! It was time for a new beginning.
That summer, guided by my inner voice, I drove with my daughter, cat, and hamster across the country to San Diego, California.
To my surprise, there was no Kundalini ashram in San Diego. I had to search and find classes scattered around in various studios, and there was no one place where the Kundalini Yoga community came together. Soon enough, my practice was hurting. So I did the most logical thing. I borrowed money for a flight to Delhi and took a crowded train to Rishikesh for the 11.11.11 Kundalini Yoga and Music Festival.
I learned so much about myself on that trip. I released every last bit of emotional baggage that I could, and replaced my superficial cravings with a deeper experience of my own energy and awakening.
Teaching Kundalini Yoga brings me so much joy. I am happy when people cry and weep in my class—they are letting go. I am proud when people sleep and snore during relaxation—they are resting. I am honored when people approach me after class to tell me they had a great experience.
Today, I want Kundalini Yoga to address modern times while honoring old teachings, and to carry these teachings forward with integrity, flexibility, and fun.