Amanda Norgaard On Rocking Your World and Staying Connected to Self
Kundalini yoga teacher and poet Amanda Norgaard shares her practice and rituals, everything that keeps her grounded and excited in the face of life.
Text Defne Sarıçetin
Amanda Norgaard’s teachings feel original, ethereal, wise, and heart-centered. Illumination, a creative house she founded, combines poetic storytelling with spiritual practices and community. She infuses everything with depth and openness. The connection she’s cultivated with herself (and others) serves as the joyful anchor for the rollercoaster ride of life. We talk to her about everything sustaining that connection.
What does practice mean to you?
Practice to me means a creative process, a deepening, an awakening, and putting one foot in front of the other no matter what occurs on the road less traveled.
What does your practice look like? How does it change and ebb and flow during different phases of life?
My practice consists of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, journaling, and hypnosis meditation. I by no means get to do the whole shebang every single day. The ebb and flow of my practice varies from day to day. I love and feel a big difference when I get my Kundalini or hypnosis meditation done in the morning, but that is not always possible. I love the soothing reset of the day during an afternoon or evening meditation. The same goes for journaling. If I do it in the morning, great. If it’s an evening event, that is also great. During the many years of having a practice of sorts, I know myself well enough to favor quality over quantity. The amount of presence counts for me, even if it’s a matter of minutes.
How would you describe Kundalini to someone who’s never heard of it? What was the biggest shift you’ve experienced through it?
Kundalini Yoga is awakening greater creativity and vitality in the body/mind system by applying more life force, chi, or prana. It’s tantric yoga, working with meditation, mantra, pranayama, and asana. I experience the practice of kundalini yoga as accessing more of your human potential, your potentiality for creativity, prosperity, joy, intimacy, sensuality, and vitality. It’s a powerful tool for physical, mental, and spiritual health. The biggest shift has been many, but there was something so profoundly empowering, harnessing and accessing energy inside of me that I felt I had tried to access for years. It was like I took a home within my body, unlocking unknown chambers of my being filled with all this juice that I now run my life, my art, my relationship, and my company on.
What ritual do you keep returning to feel like yourself? How would you advise people to nurture themselves and their nervous systems?
Journaling helps me gain clarity and perspective if I have a lot of things going on in my head. At other times it’s simply sitting with the emotion and embracing it with acceptance of what is. I’m mindful of my daily breathing and always check in if I’m holding my breath which correlates directly to the nervous system. That would probably be the place to start; check your breath. Are you shallow breathing, inhaling only, or simply holding it? Then invite more awareness into your breath. That will change your whole life.
How do you discern between intuition and anxiety? What are your feelings when you know something is aligned for you? How do you deal with anxiety if that comes up?
We all experience intuition/anxiety differently. I feel it in the body, so that’s where I turn to; the body. The two also feel and sit very differently in the body. Intuition feels grounded and easeful even if there’s a surge of energy in the body but no urge. Sometimes it’s a river. Other times it’s a ripple. But there is always coherency. That’s the alignment you’re talking about. I just know. No matter how little sense it may make, it just is. Anxiety is the opposite of coherency; a frantic and swirling state of mind and body. I have suffered from anxiety since a very young age, so I know it so well. Anxiety no longer paralyzes me, but I can still have anxious moments since anxiety is a part of the human emotional spectrum. I turn to my breath to regulate my nervous system and my body. Some of my favorite practices are self-soothing practices such as guided meditation, somatic release, or binaural beats. And also, check your caffeine intake!
In your monthly newsletter, What Moved Me, within a piece about the art of ease, you mentioned something that resonates about stopping to call inner work “the work” and instead just your way of life: engaging as consciously and curiously as the present moment allows you to—having a greater, deeper, and more intimate experience with life. How would you advise people who are interested in it to approach self-inquiry and do it without self-judgment or impatience?
I’m a big hype woman for curiosity. A lot of my self-inquiry has been initiated by a yearning to break free of a conditioned mind, trauma, and limiting programming. Still, a lot, and perhaps the deepest part of the journey, has been fueled by pure curiosity for discovering the potentiality of what this life has to offer. I’m so turned on and intrigued to discover the human experience’s layers. Once I let go of the idea of getting there I anchored into: there is no place I would rather be than right here right now, no matter how hard or unconformable it may be in this very moment. I use every curveball life that serves me as creative fuel. There is no emotion, no state of mind I fear. I have room, love, and acceptance for it all. Of course, that has been such a process as a lot of the wellness world is still running on the idea that your ideal life is to be found outside of the all-consuming now. That you have to fix or become better, calmer, and more meditated. Real healing is becoming more authentic, meaning that you hold space and accept all the many expressions of your human. One foot in front of the other. That’s it.
Do you have any must-haves for your beauty and wellness rituals?
I’m on the simplest skin care protocol using only two products from the Australian brand Bluem—a finger lime serum for the daytime and kakadu plum serum for the nighttime. I cleanse with their charcoal soap bar every night. I love a gua sha whenever I find the time in the evening. I take Trace Minerals from Sunwarrior every morning.