Lake Baikal,


Postures & Poetry - Kundalini
My curiosity led me to Siberia based on just a few photos of a frozen lake I’d seen online. Lake Baikal is the oldest lake in the world (about 25 million years old) as well as the deepest (5,387 feet deep) and contains 20% of the world’s fresh water. As winter sets in each year, the ice goes wild freezing bubbles in time as they rise to the surface, as well as streaking the ice with asymmetrical cracks and crevasses. Quickly becoming thick enough to walk & drive on (among other things) this icy surface turns Lake Baikal into a frosty magical dreamland.

Siberia is far away! We flew from Salt Lake City – Amsterdam – Moscow – Irkutsk, and then took multiple busses and an air pillow (hover boat made to drive on ice) to reach our final destination: Olkhon Island, in the middle of Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia.

Postures & Poetry - Kundalini
There were countless times I thought I’d never be warm again. The temperature ranged from about -35*F to 15*F while we were there, and I’d often get icicles on my eyelashes. Frequently we could only be outside for a few minutes at at time before running back to our van to thaw, then running back out to steal a moment or two to look again at the fascinating landscape come to life, or snap a photo, or use the wild toilet. It was fun to see locals of the area (obviously a little more used to the cold!) gather for dogsledding and ice skating and ice festivals.

Truly, Lake Baikal didn’t disappoint. We spent most of our time driving around on the surface of the lake with local drivers, looking at frozen bubbles, exploring ice caves, hanging with local ice fishermen, and marveling at giant rocky island cliffs.

Humans yearn for connection--

we all want to be loved.

Yet despite the magical terrain surrounding us, I was most impressed by the kindness of the local people. Yulya (our Airbnb host on Olkhon Island) is the only reason our trip even worked to begin with — before we arrived, she arranged drivers and transportation and tours for us during our stay. Using Google Translate (almost no one speaks English) she figured out what we were after (to see the most magic possible) and she made it happen. She even talked to our bus drivers ahead of time and told them to watch for two American girls — we got handed from driver to driver as we transferred from bus to bus to air pillow to bus. Each driver was so kind and considerate and made sure we got on the next correct bus so we’d be successful on the journey to our final destination.

The private drivers we had on the lake (arranged by Yulya) were also just the sweetest: Oleg & Evgeniy were unbelievably patient with us as we ran back and forth between the warm car & the frozen wild, attempting to fly our drone and take amazing photos without getting frostbite. They made us fish stew and we laughed and had drinks.

Postures & Poetry - Kundalini
At one point Evgeniy waited with pride next to our picnic table on the icy lake — set with plates and silverware and cups made of ice — for us all to gather so he could serve and garnish the fish he’d blackened, so proud of the simple meal he’d made to share with his friends. Blasting Russian house music as we drove (at 180kmp!) through Siberian forests, Oleg walked us to a discreet wild toilet to make sure we were safe & the snow wasn’t too deep.

Deep deep down, we are really

all the same.
Without even being able to speak to each other, these wonderful Siberian people reminded me that we are essentially all the same. Humans yearn for connection, to be seen and to be loved. We want approval, appreciation, and acceptance. Yes we all have had different experiences and come from different places, but what we want is still the same.
Postures & Poetry - Kundalini
It was a sweet reminder that while in Russian it’s “любовь” and in English it’s “love” — this force, this beautiful energy flows through us all. The things that may seem to divide or separate us are small, and our similarities are enormous. Acknowledging and welcoming this golden thread that weaves us all together is how we heal, both internally and as a collective: a little less Russian – American – Siberian, a little more Human – Human – Human.