Dr. Gayle (affectionately known as Kayla Gayle), a colleague of mine, amazes me with her inner peace and strength. At lunch with her this past week I discussed the passion that she has for Kundalini Yoga, and her recent decision to become an instructor of Kundalini. Her website, Abundance-Yoga.com, describes the practice as, “Yoga is not about twisting yourself into a pretzel or standing on your head, but about nurturing your spirit, and freeing your heart…when Kundalini awakens, your entire life will awaken with abundance, energy, creativity and more.”
I wanted to find out what brought Kayla Gayle (Dharma Geet Kaur) to start practicing yoga, and how she thinks about using it as a form of treatment for clients who are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety.
The following is the interview that was conducted with Kayla Gayle, Ph.D.:
Larissa: Why did you start with yoga?
Kayla Gayle: Six months ago our 14 year old Australian Shepherd, Champion made his transition. It was devastating. In my grieving I felt the need to connect with community and looked up yoga. A website called spiritvoyage.com popped up. Which lead me to the Ashram in Phoenix, near 7th Street and Indian School, and in my first class the facilitator said to stick out your dog and pant like a dog. It was as if, Champion had guided me to this class. The combination of breathing, yoga, meditation, and devotional chanting is very powerful.
Larissa: How did you get into teacher training?
Kayla: My training started in January 2012, and the training lasts for seven months at the Ashram. Kundalini Yoga is considered the mother of all yoga and encompasses silence, postures, movement, breath, and chanting. There is an enormous difference between Eastern and Western yoga. Most of it is done with our eyes closed. It is not about what others are doing, it’s your practice.
Larissa: How do you feel that you’ve changed since starting yoga?
Kayla: The motivation behind taking yoga classes was to strengthen my core, and I’ve noticed that I’ve become stronger mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Kundalini yoga also talks about three minds: positive, negative, and neutral. Recently, my 84 yr. old mother had a fall, and shortly after my father had several strokes and spent three months in the hospital. Both parents are diagnosed with Dementia/Alzheimer. Going through these experiences yoga has really helped in supporting the stress levels.
Larissa: You mentioned three types of mind, the positive, negative, and neutral? Why wouldn’t we want to be in a “positive” mind?
Kayla: Even when we receive good news, we know that it is temporary, so we don’t become attached to the “oh this feels so good” feeling. We want to maintain neutral to the events in our lives. Living life as a fixed frequency. Whether I’m on my ninth ambulance ride with my father, spending 98 hours in the emergency room, or calling hospice, I choose to remain fixed in my emotions. I’m in the flow of life and going with what is.