Wellness with.. Isil Kusoglu
Finding the ‘Self’ and Kundalini Yoga
This year traveling through rural Mexico towards Morelia, a small city 4h south of Mexico City, heading for the celebrations of Dia Des Muertes, I had the pleasure to sit next Isil. We started talking and after some initial small talks we deepend our conversation and she introduced me to my birth chart. Our conversation influenced me a lot and Im very honored to start our new Wellness With.. Series interviewing her and her story about finding herself.
We are going through very interesting and difficult times. On top of health concerns, we are all forced to stay at home and living in the unknown. While some of us are losing jobs, money, loved ones, some of us are losing patience, money, love, faith, our sense of security and so on. Anything that we were once taking for granted is at risk and we are having hard times staying calm. It sure is difficult to stay in, and go inside especially if you are doing it the first time ever. And this time, we have no other choice...
4 years ago, I was a hyperactive woman. Everything I did was fast, from my job (business development in the design industry which requires constant networking) to my personal life, I was always on the run.. Fast people, fast parties, fast fashion, fast relationships, fast holidays... My mind was fast so everything had to be fast and I had no patience when things were moving below my pace. It was difficult to sit and focus on a book or even a film from the beginning till the end. There was so much distraction and I was always exhausted yet proud of my hyperactive self. Still I was not happy nor fulfilled about my life. I had started noticing, for a long time I had only been investing my time and energy in everything that was outside of me. What defined me, was not in me anymore. This was hard to swallow… So I kept questioning.
Let’s take the jobs out of our lives, and start thinking who we are – is there much left? What are we doing here on this earth. My big realisation brought me two major questions that are “Who am I?’ and ‘Why am I here?’. For centuries, we have been told who we are, what to do and how to do. And we must have liked this state of laziness that we gladly had taken on the identities and roles assigned to us. “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?” were so difficult for me to answer by myself at the time that I had found myself in front of an evolutionary astrologer hoping that she could give me the answers. And she did... The way she described me amazed me and triggered my personal interest and journey in evolutionary astrology. The more I read about my birth chart (which is showing positions and inter-relationships of all the planets at the exact time and place you were born) the more I discovered about myself - I found out about my issues, powers, purpose, potential... It was almost like seeing my own SWOT analysis. This made me become very hungry about sorting out my blockages in order to rise above my birth chart and separating my true self from my ego self. I just didn’t know where to start and how to undress myself from my ‘ego’.
That’s when I got introduced to Kundalini Yoga – a type of yoga that is very effective in regulating the self and shifting the states of being through a mix of posture, pranayama (breath work) and meditation. The word ‘kundalini’ comes from Sanskrit which refers to the primordial energy that lies in the base of the spine coiled up. We all have this energy and most of us do not know how to access and make use of it. The idea is to uncoil this energy and distribute it through the spine or chakras - in other words becoming your own snake charmer. Over the last 50 years, there were many yogis that helped spread Kundalini Yoga to the West from Osho to Yogi Bhajan who helped their followers use this energy for various motives such as sexual release or enlightenment. My personal experience with Kundalini Yoga was very much to do with learning to regulate and re-connect with my ‘self’.
So how do you practice? During a 90-minute session, through stretching and breath work, first you learn to bring the body & the mind to a safe state and calm your sympathetic nervous system (not so sympathetic as it sounds since it is our stress hormones - Adrenaline, Cortisol, Norepinephrine). Keep in mind that our sympathetic nervous system is always alert, especially if we have a mobile phone that receives constant notifications). Followed by rigorous postures helping you activate the parasympathetic nervous system (all the good hormones that eat the stress hormones), you start connecting with your physical body. Since most postures are held for 3 minutes or longer, even the simplest pose starts to bring discomfort and awareness to a certain part of the physical body. If you struggle with patience in your day to day life, trying to hold a posture for a couple of minutes is the best cure for you. Every Kundalini Yoga session sequence is different and at the end of each session, there is a delicious relaxation for 10 minutes accompanied by a gong or a beautiful a mantra (repetitive sound/words that are believed to have positive psychological powers). By the time the class is over, you feel like you had been at a musical theatre but only this time you had participated in it. While endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, DHEA are running in your body, with the beautiful stillness that takes over, you realise you have just become present. Voilà!
Once you are present and you connect with your body, your mind & your breath, the ‘unbearable’ lightness of being starts to kick in. The peaceful state of being helps you bear with yourself in stillness longer than usual and get curious about what’s within. The king of outer conditioning, the a.k.a. Mr Ego, is not needed as much anymore. This curious state of trying to get to know yourself and falling in love with yourself all over again is so sweet that you do not need to be approved by others as much anymore. I guess this is the infamous ‘self-empowerment’ they have been talking about.
My journey with myself had started couple of years ago and I have been busy ever since. I am now busier than the hyperactive woman I once were, only this time my business is internal. I now know better than to blame others for my mistakes. I now make use of the crisis life brings to me instead of break down. I now enjoy my stillness patiently at home quarantined instead of feeling like a caged animal. I now use astrology to guide others with finding out about themselves. I now teach Kundalini Yoga to help others ‘be’. I now know it is not just about ‘ME’ but it is more about ‘WE’.