Last Wednesday, I walked into my usual 6:30 am Kundalini Yoga class in Washington, D.C. A dear friend of mine was teaching, and she had texted us in advance to say that she was going to teach a special kriya that’s a favorite of hers, the 4 U’s Set.
My immediate response: “WHAT? Do you know how crazy hard that set is? Will we have the group energy to enable us to keep up?
This is not at all a usual response for me. I have been practicing Kundalini Yoga for more than 10 years, teaching for nearly five, and have gone to almost every Sat Nam Fest in the U.S. Not much in Kundalini phases me. So you might ask, why this response to this set? Memories from Sat Nam Fest, of course.
Flash back to 2012, the first Sat Nam Fest in Joshua Tree, CA. It was my first ever trip to the area, and I was amazed by the expansiveness of the land. I had been looking forward to the first of two classes with Gurmukh at the festival, and she did not disappoint.
On Saturday, in the big tent with hundreds of yogis ready for her inspired words and powerful kriyas, she began to teach the Four U’s, but I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. Snatam and her band were providing live music to support our practice. So, let me explain the Four U’s Set, or the “Four U’s for You.”
It’s a set with only four poses, each held for 11 minutes. You put your body into four different U shapes, in four different directions, and hold; a standing forward fold, plow with the legs off the ground, a seated forward fold with the legs out straight with arms remaining above the legs; and on the back with the arms and legs up at 90 degrees. Eleven minutes in these postures can seem very long and your brain will tell you many stories about why you need to get out of them. But then there is the amazing energy of Sat Nam Fest, where your practice with so many other beautiful souls. Such experiences make such challenging postures very transformational.
I remember Gurmukh encouraging us in the way that only she can. After only five minutes into the first posture, I could tell this was not just any Kundalini kriya. In the tent, we could hear the wind starting to pick up outside. Next thing we knew, it was really blowing and the wind was perfectly aligned to blow right into the tent. And then the rain came pouring down — in the desert. This was happening as hundreds of us got deeper and deeper into this challenging and meditative set, keeping up and using our energy to hold everyone up around us.
As we got to the high point of the final U, the weather was anything but the desert in springtime — cold, dark, windy and wet. And the energy in the tent was electric, exhausted but energized. And then to relaxation we went…and the weather outside gradually calmed as well. After the class, with the weather and intense postures, I was amazed that I had kept up through it all.
I had such gratitude for Gurmukh, Snatam, and all the yogis around me who had helped me keep up. Without that energy, I don’t believe I could have kept up.
Fast forward to this past week, and my friend teaching the 4U’s. Why is it that I had such a visceral reaction to this set? I knew that the Sat Nam Fest community had been crucial to me keeping up the first time I did that set. How could that feeling be reproduced?
Well, I underestimated my abilities and those practicing around me this past week. Repeating the 4U’s set, again, I appreciated my friend the teacher who encouraged the five of us in class to keep u, and I most certainly felt the energy of Sat Nam Fest that had been infused in me when we did that set together more than five years ago.
We all have the power to achieve in ways we do not know. I am so grateful to Sat Nam Fest for reminding me – and many others – of this.