This week’s Yogi in the Community is really special as Mafdet is our first yogi who extends beyond the borders of the United States into Canada! I have always been impressed and inspired by the commitment to the practice of yoga in the Kundalini Yoga Community. As a Kundalini Yoga practitioner and teacher, Mafdet contributes to her community and family by integrating the lessons of her yoga practice into everyday life. Please take a moment to be inspired!
Name: Mafdet Siri Avtar
When was your very first introduction to yoga?
I started yoga in 2000. It was a very early morning when I was up watching tv while nursing my newborn son and yoga was on tv. I was a gymnast from 4-17 so as I watched the yoga show my mind related it to gymnastics.
After watching the show a few times to feel it out I decided to try it and realized that it was a lot harder than I thought! I was hooked in a short while and gathered all the magazines and books that I could.I began to experience spiritual strength and emotional wellness so I kept going on the journey. One thing led to another and I became vegetarian, furthered my training and my journey as a kundalini yoga teacher began.
Can you talk a little about what Kundalini Yoga is?
I always say Kundalini Yoga needs to be experienced to be fully understood so my first piece of advice is to try it.Take a class and you’ll know. Kundalini Yoga is an ancient science and mind/body/spirit practice for all walks of life. It’s a combination of breathing, meditations, yoga sets and spiritual lifestyle. It’s truly powerful and designed to work fast so you can feel the effects in a short time. It is designed for our lifestyle in the west where we have demanding, often times stressful lives.
Like some traditional hatha yogis in ancient times, we don’t have the time to seclude ourselves in a cave for 20 years to attain balance.We need yoga to work for us now while we walk the streets, take care of our families, work our jobs,etc.
Can you offer beginners any advice on establishing their yoga practice?
There’s always new beginnings in the journey as a yogi so it’s important to keeping having a beginners mind regardless of how long one has been practicing yoga. So as a beginner, enjoy the journey of healing and growth instead of being fixated on a destination (since there is no destination).
Why is it important that people in the black community practice yoga?
We have many psychological and health issues in the community yet we continue to rise from oppression and obstacles.Whether it’s acknowledged in this society or not, we still carry the dna of ancestors. As we initiate practices such as yoga we can go deeper in spirit and soul to heal past and present wounds and live in the light of our ancestors and community.