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.

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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.

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The simple Life of Seva

When I was little, I used to tell my mother I want to become a cleaning lady and live with her when I grow up. Everyone used to laugh at me for it, and I bel Now I see the wisdom in that little girl that, despite her artistic tendencies, would prefer to live a simple life of simple work.

I lost that wise little girl along the way. I grew up being told I had to use my talents, learn to play the guitar, keep on drawing and painting, educate myself more and more musically and artistically and that it would make sense for me to work a creative job related to my so-called talents.
It took a long time for me to tell the world I didn’t actually enjoy all of these activities. That I actually never had been truly passionate about playing the guitar turned out to be a painful surprise to both myself and my parents once I finally gave in to the resistance I had been trying to fight for 10 years. It was a huge relief to me and an extraordinarily freeing experience retiring my guitar and accepting the fact that I might be passionate about many aspects of music, but not about playing that instrument.
I continued on with drawing, some photography, a bit of writing and singing. I decided to go and study graphic design, because it was the only academic degree I could imagine myself getting. Getting a degree was expected of me.

A month ago, I started my 40 day period of seva (selfless service that unites Karma yoga and Bhakti yoga) at a Kundalini yoga ashram in Portugal.
My tasks here entail primarily housework: Cleaning, cooking, ironing, taking care of laundry, making beds for guests and feeding the dogs and chickens.
It is the first “job” in which I do not count the hours.
The level of consciousness in this space is rather high, there is a lot of room for spiritual practice and people to exchange experiences with.
The simple work constitutes a healthy balance to my process along the way of practicing, joining teachings and reading books like “Be Here Now” by Ram Dass. It gives me time to digest and be introspective.
It gives me the opportunity to contribute to maintaining the ashram for visitors as well as for the community. Every little folding of a towel is filled up with devotion in the awareness that I am doing it for the purpose of holding the space for everyone involved. This is bigger than me.
Also, I am not working here for money. I am “working” for experience.
Nobody doubts my creativity or intellect while I am tamping the compost.
I don’t have to prove any of it.

I am free to choose the degree of simplicity in my life
I am free to spend my lifetime doing
as much of something or nothing
as suits me
I am free to choose peace instead of accomplishment
I am free

 

 

There she is again, that wise little girl.

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.