White Tantra – Would you do it again?

Two weeks ago, I attended my first White Tantric Yoga workshop.
Five to six meditations of 31 to 62 minutes lay ahead of me. I was worried.
Worried about sitting in easy pose–which, for me, isn’t all that easy after an hour due to my relatively stiff hips and sensitive knees–, about my sympathy to who my partner would be (White Tantra is being practiced with one partner that you do the exercises with together for the whole day), about the high cost of the workshop… To be blunt, I only went because it is an obligatory part of Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training.

image via http://media.yogajournal.com/

So while I was sitting there, looking my partner into her deep brown eyes, I tried to stay positive for her. Practicing these Venus Kriyas (exercises with a partner) definitely works with the human will to show off! She too was positive for me. I wonder if she fought a similar battle in her mind.

I struggled. More than a few times during the meditations, I felt like I was stupid for doing this. I felt like I was punishing myself for something, and that the only thing that would come out of it would be week-long knee pains. I was repeating the thought in my head: I didn’t want to come here, and now I know why!
Nonetheless, I didn’t lose my partner’s gaze. I kept looking deeply into her kind eyes, chanting a mantra to her, or holding her hands firmly, whatever the Kriya asked of me.
I didn’t want to give up. I could feel that my giving up would affect my partner and probably the people around me, sitting one next to another in those neatly organized lines so that the energy could distribute accordingly.
I could feel that I wasn’t keeping up only for myself, because, frankly, I quite hated it at  times–I kept up in the name of the community, in the name of connection. Or maybe I just wanted to be a part of this, maybe I was still curious for the experience despite all of my pain and doubt.

White Tantra is known to speed up the processes you need to work through in this life, therefor intensifying your experience on an emotional, psychological and spiritual level.
Now that I was there, I wondered how all of those yogis I had talked to about White Tantra prior to my workshop could sincerely be a fan of this, and it took me some days to understand:
Immediately after the workshop, I just felt tired. The good kind of tired, like when you’ve spent a full day skiing in the mountains. My mind felt empty. The much my thoughts had been racing and criticizing during the meditations, the quiet they had gone now.
The next day, I noticed that I did feel proud in a way that I had not given up. That I had finished what I started, no matter how hard it got. That I had still been smiling at my partner, had shared with her all the energy I could.
After two months of very irregular yoga practice, if any, I felt I was finally ready to commit to a 40-day Kriya again. I noticed how easy the 3-minute Sat Kriya was compared to what I had endured during White Tantra. Many exercises felt so easy to go through if it was just for a couple of minutes, and not 31, let alone 62.
I also felt this towards other activities and tasks during the following week. Often, I found myself thinking: If I managed that whole day of “torture”, I can easily manage this and that!

I now understood: White Tantric Yoga puts things in perspective.
It strengthens the trust in what I can and cannot deal with and overcome.
And it pushed me back into the capacity of a daily yoga practice.
I am thankful for that and yes… I would do it again! {myself from 2 weeks ago shakes her head in disbelief}
After all, the knee pains only lasted for a day or two.

We’re stronger than we think we are,
Sat Nam.


Allowing fluidity

Only a while ago, I wrote my post about the importance of daily practice. While I do not necessarily disagree with the analogy I then illustrated, my perception and practice has since changed a bit.
There have been bigger changes going on in my life that made it hard for me to stay in balance and keep up with my routines the way I did during the months prior to these changes. I am now in the process of re-evaluating some of these routines, introducing new ones, implementing some more yogic rituals into my daily life, whether it be ishnaan (a cold shower in the morning) or some changes in nutrition aswell as rebuilding my cognitive focus on topics that are close to my heart.
While I am discovering many new things that enrich my life, I am realizing that sticking to a routine that does not always fit my needs and priorities due to changes in my emotional body and the things I am concerned with, would be like putting up a wall against the changes and not allowing them to flow over me.
I am learning to accept what it means to not be able to follow through with what you thought you knew was right for you. If the circumstances are changing, that means that I am changing, that means that my needs will change aswell and that, as a result, my actions will change in the way that fits the transition.

I had been thinking a lot about wabi sabi lately – an ancient philosophical Japanese concept of perceiving beauty in the incomplete and transient, in short.
There is one particular sentence I heard from a Japanese tea master in a documentary that won’t leave my mind:

“Beyond perfection lies destruction.”

And I am thinking, how touching is this?
How true is this? For only destruction paves the way for recreation. My crisis is my personal rebirth. With my old skins burnt away, I am free to grow further, to rebuild myself, to welcome new patterns and routines and rituals, to allow a new me to happen and evolve out of the chaos.
And the best thing is, I don’t have to force anything. I can just allow myself to flow with the rebuilding process and witness it.
Another quote comes to mind alongside with this thought:

“Don’t force anything. See God opening millions of flowers every day
without forcing the buds.” – Osho

To be clear, I am not quitting my Kundalini Yoga practice by all means. I am just allowing more fluidity, more space for transition and more of my Self to influence my practice.
My priority is now to be true to what I feel like doing, not what I think I should be doing.
Placing the intuitive over the cognitive.
Yes, even if that means I might be not practicing a day or two a week.



The Guru is in you.





Yoga, day after day

There is an analogy that came to my mind to give an idea about the importance of daily practice to people that find it extreme, dogmatic or simply cannot imagine to fit it in their lives. Can’t you experience just as much progress with practicing say, three times a week?
No. I do not think so.

Think of your Self as an ocean.
Think of one unity of practice– in my case, a set of exercises called a Kriya in the tradition of Kundalini Yoga followed by relaxation and meditation– as a wave.
Each new unity, when practiced in regularity, will expand its wave, eventually resulting in an interference pattern with all the previous ones.
Leaving out a unity for a day or two would shatter this pattern, and thus throw you back a few steps if not more.

Instead of practicing yoga every time I felt I needed it, I am now practicing daily, which results in me not even getting to a place of neediness anymore. Daily practice turned me to being in and of my power constantly and not dropping out of it ever.
Ok, let’s say for the most part.

Now, I am not one for dogmatism.
So I was questioning– am I getting too obsessive when it comes to daily practice?
Is it an issue to feel as though something would go heavily wrong if I miss out on practicing only one day?

Yoga has not only become my passion but my duty.
Yoga is a commitment to myself.
It is a commitment to not abandoning myself again.
To continuously taking care of my mind, body and soul, no matter
in what condition they might be.
A commitment to being there for myself, always.
To nourishing and to soothing myself.
A commitment to growth.
To following what I believe in.

What I am dependent on when I am dependent on Yoga practice, is essentially self-love.
And as they say…
Love yourself first, the rest will follow.