Healing the Soul using African Kundalini Yoga

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

“The words and ideals of the patriarchy, which have shaped our lives, continue to shape the language, concepts and theories of psychology and of our field of body-psychotherapy. And they will continue to do so until we begin to realise that the scientific-medical model, which we follow, and the essentially soulless tenets of academic psychology we have been taught are the products of and the perpetuators of the disembodied ego which formulated them. This ego, which is the representative of the cerebro-spinal system, has separated itself off from the totality of the organism and assumed dominance over the body and other parts of the psyche that are essential to our wholeness as human beings. It is the dominance of the disembodied ego that has split us within, depriving us of the richness of our inner-world – of connection to the feminine aspects of our beings – to our own souls and to the souls and bodies of others.” (Brown, 2003, p. 21).

Western psychology is results-driven, particularly when combined with the demands of corporate medical insurance. Treatment approaches are medicalised and focus on the individual. This approach was conceived in the global North and may (arguably) work for Westernised cultures that focus on intra-psychic elements such as healing the ego and prioritising individual thoughts and feelings. However, in an African context, where daily life is focused on community, family, nature, and the ancestors, with inter-psychic wellbeing determining individual wellness, this approach is unfamiliar and alienating and fails to heal the African soul.

Including modes of healing that are familiar within African healing contexts such as voice, sound, movement, and rhythm in a therapeutic approach creates an immediate bridge across which the healer can walk to meet the ones who need healing.

Brown’s quote evokes the revolutionary in me, an old comrade who has well-trod the path of bucking the system. Yoga therapy has been a way of life since I was young. Not that I thought of it as yoga therapy back in the seventies and eighties; I simply chose not to observe allopathic routes of healing, exploring herbal and homeopathic remedies, body wisdom and earth support, and not knowing that I was accessing lineage knowledge through an ancient foremother-healer until much later in my life. Not knowing much of anything actually, just listening to the voices within that I only realised years later were the voices of my ancestors speaking in images, dreams and scraps of sound, guiding and instructing me to walk, stop, turn, swim, and fly. In this way I made the choice to have my first child in my bath at home, no doctors having been allowed to monitor my precious child’s progress in-utero because I found them to be opinionated, and fearful. I chose instead to use a magical wise elder who mirrored my foremother in being a woman of the earth, using the earth’s gifts for healing herself and others, knowing how to whisper to the wombs of women who wanted no part of fearful birthing. She listened with her heart and her inner ear to the beat of my son’s heart in my womb, no heart monitor necessary. And I listened to her.