Heal Yourself, Heal the World with Rebecca Pflaum
In December 2008, I heard there was a “famous” yogi named Rebecca Pflaum visiting Ubud. Having recently arrived in Bali after 3 years in Istanbul, and a year before that in Argentina, I was out of the international yoga loop. I’d never heard of Rebecca Pflaum and had never attended a Kundalini workshop.
At the end of that class some 16 months ago, we were invited to enter a healing circle. As I laid there in the middle of that healing circle on a beautiful island in a country far away from home, those in the circle around me sang, “May the long time sun, shine upon you, may all love surround you, may the long time sun, shine upon you, guide your way home, guide your way home…” As I laid there, tears streaming down my face, I saw an egg-like shell coming apart, all jagged edges, and a pink fragile wrinkle-y creature emerging, and gingerly unfolding.
That was my initiation to Bali.
And so it was with great pleasure and anticipation that once again today, I attended Rebecca’s Pflaum’s Kundalini class.
The workshop title was: Kundalini Yoga and Meditation: Heal the World, Heal Yourself. The brochure read,We each have within us the power to heal ourselves and our world; Experience your own healing potential through Kundalini Yoga, ancient healing mantras, kriyas, meditations and healing sounds. Focus on areas of your life where change is welcome and allow yourself to manifest these changes. As a group we will support and radiate our healing energies exponentially, share more light into the collective consciousness, and experience that “we are ones we have been waiting for”.
Kundalini energy Rebecca explains at the beginning of today’s class, represents creative potential. She encourages us to let it rise through our chakras opening and nourishing us. She says that mind, body and spirit are inseparable. “This practice wakes you up. Focus on healing and set your intention. Embrace whatever comes to you today and set your intention on healing.”
OK, so I’ve got this big heavy dark boulder in my chest just over my heart. I set an intention for the darkness to lift, for my light to come back on.
We sit in lotus position and sing chants as directed. Sat-nam, Sat-nam Sat-nam…Rebecca tells us the sanskrit chant means “higher self”. She tells us to remember our perfection, our bliss, and to forget “any of that other crap” that tells us we are not enough.
“Everyone who thinks they are perfect, raise your hand,” she says. A few hands tentatively go up in the air, and then mine. She laughingly says, “Ah some of you are finally getting it. You are perfect.
What a relief.
“Heal yourself first, ” she says, “Find your center, your strength. And then you will begin to heal the world.”
We do arm raises and waist twists from a seated position, until some of us are groaning our arms ready to drop. You can moan and groan, she says, but you can’t stop.
Another chant set to music, Goo naru – “It is blissful to move from light to dark,” she translates.
I can get behind that.
It helps that we are singing. Singing!!! Such a universal connection to source! I had forgotten that Kundalini Yoga involves singing. And I love it.
We sit sweaty back to sweaty back with a partner and bow forward and back repeatedly while singing. Then we face our partner and swaying back and forth sing the children’s song, “Who, who, who can that be, happy oh happy, happy as can be. Who, who, who can that be, happy oh happy, happy as can be….” Try not smiling while singing that.
My friend Claire whispers, “It’s like kindergarten for adults.”
Next Rebecca directs us to hug the people around us and so we do, moving around the room holding both strangers and friends in turn.
Then we dance freely, smiling, jumping, rocking out.
This is one feel good class.
Sixteen months after my first Kundalini Yoga class, we are once again end with a healing circle. Me and that heavy black boulder lie down in the center prepared to embrace whatever might come. And once again, all around me, they are singing the sunshine song, “May the long time sun, shine upon you, all love surround you, may the long time sun, shine upon you, guide your way home, guide your way home….
The darkness that had weighed so heavily in my chest, releases and lifts. I am home.
Sunday Afternoon Kundalini Yoga
By Alison Bone
At last year’s festival I had been drawn to a healing circle on the lawn pavilion where a beautiful woman dressed all in white gave me an embracing smile and beckoned me to join in. I had never experienced anything quite like this, pure love and light emanated upwards and outwards, and I found tears streaming down my face, but they were tears of joy. I discovered this was Rebecca Pflaum and I returned the next day to her Kundalini yoga class. It was my first foray into the world of Kundalini yoga, and I hadn’t experienced such exhilaration since I started practicing yoga many years ago. I floated away from the class feeling totally energized, empowered and incredibly happy, the experience stayed with me all year and even though I have tried a few other Kundalini classes nobody compared to Rebecca. When I received this years program Rebecca was the first presenter I looked for and I made a point of attending all three of her workshops. Today was the last and was and was entitled ‘Heal yourself, heal the world.’
I bumped into Rebecca on the path earlier this morning and stopped her to say “Thank you” and to tell her how much her classes moved me, and that I always ended up in tears. “I know,” she said, “Me too…..” then she gave me a hug and said “I am happy that I make you cry”. I asked what her favourite thing was about the festival and she replied, “When someone comes to my class for the first time and comes up to me afterwards and says “Wow I don’t know what just happened but that was amazing.” I told her that’s exactly how it was for me the first time, and again she said, “Yes me too.” Today’s turn out was huge and the class was ushered in by the soulful sound of Kevin and Mel, an Australian duo who are increasingly well known for their universal devotional chanting; their beautiful harmonies set the tone for yet another powerful and spiritual experience. “You were born, therefore you are beautiful, blissful and bountiful, it is your birthright,” Rebecca tells us. Nice!! As usual, there was also plenty of laughter, she makes us lie on our stomachs, we have to make fists with our hands and beat our butts. “This is for every time you have wanted to kick yourself in the ass,” she calls out. “Do it now and get it over and done with.”
One of the highlights of today’s classes was the presence of a number of Balinese elders from a small village near here. Thanks to a wonderful and inspired leader, these elders, many of whom are in their seventies, attend weekly yoga and tai chi classes and make fortnightly trips to the beach in Sanur. I am writing a magazine story about these wonderful people and am fortunate enough to have spent some time with them and with their very inspired yoga teacher Deborah Koehn. Deborah had led them through a class in the main pavilion prior to Rebecca’s class and many of them had stayed on to join us.
Despite their age they did a great job keeping up, in fact put some of us to shame with their enthusiasm and energy. When Rebecca called out, “I think its time to dance,” and belted out a hip hop tune, the elders were quick to jump in and dance with us, throwing some funky shapes. It was yet another one of those really poignant Bali Spirit moments.
This is something I really love about the festival, the seamless melding between cultures and the constant exchange, there is no sense of us and them, here we are all acting as one and ‘creating unity’ has become so much more than a catch phrase. When I attended Laughter Yoga this morning there was just a small group of us sitting in a circle near the food tents, we were soon laughing abundantly, as you do in laughter yoga, and within minutes we had been joined by a wonderful old Balinese man who just happened to be walking past and he laughed harder and louder than anyone.
Another thing I have noticed about the festival is how everything that you need seems to come to you, all that you wish for seems to happen. On my way to Rebecca’s class I had been chatting with a friend about how great the classes were, and how sad I was that this was the last one for this years event. I added that I hoped so much that we would do a healing circle at the end of the session. And guess what, we did! But sorry, no pictures, I was too busy healing!
Written by : BaliSpirit Media Team