Yoga

How to Get Out of Svadhisthana Drama: An Integrated Yogic Approach to the Second Chakra

How to Get Out of Svadhisthana Drama: An Integrated Yogic Approach to the Second Chakra

Is your svadhisthana making drama?

If you’re like the vast majority of human beings, the second chakra (subtle energy center) will generate a lot of unnecessary tension and disturbance in your life. And if you’re really stuck in it, you’ll answer that first question with, “No, it’s not drama, these are serious problems!”

We’ll get to this in a minute. But first, let’s have an introduction to svadhisthana chakra and see why it’s so important to address this level of our being as part of our spiritual practice.

Let’s meet svadhisthana chakra

Svadhisthana, the sacral chakra, in the yogic tradition is associated with the water element. Water itself—always moving, changing and flowing downwards—can help us understand this level of consciousness.

Svadhisthana is related to emotions and the sense of emotionality, the constant fluctuation of mood that we all experience. It is also the main center of sexuality, with all the power and complications that entails.

In Sanskrit, “svadhisthana” means “abode of the self,” but not the transcendent Self. Rather it means the base of the limited self—“you” as personality—and especially “you” as your subconscious patterns, tendencies and triggers. The vast, mostly unknown network of the subconscious mind, the bulk of the iceberg lurking underneath the water, finds its home in this chakra.

To understand the consciousness of svadhisthana, just think about Instagram, or social media in general. It flows like water in an endless scroll, from image to flashy image, everything so glamorous and enticing yet shallow; there isn’t really anything underneath the glittery surface. It jumps constantly from one thing to another, every new item seeming so very important before it’s forgotten a minute later. Validation by others is all that matters.

Of course, svadhisthana isn’t all bad! Water can be a shallow, noisy stream or a deep ocean. It can be the water of life.

A balanced, harmonized svadhisthana offers beautiful gifts: creativity, artistic expression, awakened sexuality and sensuality, the joy of existing within the flow of embodied life… all of these are available once the imbalances and impurities are resolved.

Do you have a problematic second chakra?

The #1 sign you might have an overactive svadhisthana chakra is that you are a human being living on planet Earth.

Remember that svadhisthana is related to the water element. Water covers 70% of the surface of the Earth, and it accounts for a similar percentage of the mass of a human body. Even your bones are 30% water!

All of us have to make peace with this energy at some point or another. These are a few signs that your svadhisthana is getting out of hand and needs some work right now:

  • You’re often swept away in intense emotions, out of proportion to the situation that triggered them
  • You suffer from depression, moodiness, jealousy or social anxiety
  • You’re extremely sensitive to what other people think of you
  • You tend to follow the crowd and get lost in other people’s stories
  • Your sexual energy is out of control and causes you to act in ways that harms others or yourself
  • Everything that happens to you is a big drama that takes you over completely
  • You feel like your whole life is driven by your subconscious patterns

As you can see, it’s a pretty broad spectrum. So many of the challenges of everyday human life find their root in an inharmonious svadhisthana chakra. We all have to address it in some way, either to move energy (and therefore our consciousness) out of it, or to purify it until it becomes transparent to its divine nature—or both!

Ignoring this energy or trying to suppress it will always backfire in the end. It’s too powerful, too fundamental to our manifested existence as humans.

The good news is that once you start working with svadhisthana, to understand its patterns and bring it into balance, many problems that might once have seemed insurmountable, like a feature of life itself, will start to dissolve of their own accord.

How to get out of the svadhisthana drama

Hatha yoga

Given how much of humanity’s suffering and limitations are related to svadhisthana chakra, it makes sense that hatha yoga includes many practices to harmonize this energy and release the stranglehold it often has on our consciousness.

Usually the best thing you can do for svadhisthana is to move energy out of it! Sublimation techniques, the bread and butter of traditional hatha yoga, move energy from the lower chakras to the upper chakras, the more refined, “spiritual” levels of your being. This allows you to use the heavy, powerful and easily replenished energies of muladhara and svadhisthana for spiritual evolution, while bringing a lightness and upward flow to these energy centers.

Just removing the excess energy from svadhisthana, taking some of the pressure off, will already give you some space to observe and work with the processes at this level, rather than drowning in them.

Sublimation needs fire as a catalyst, so it’s important to work on manipura chakra (the navel chakra associated with the fire element). This energy is in many ways directly opposed to that of svadhisthana: it’s all about courage, willpower, discipline and making your own way in the world, rather than just “going with the flow.” Stoking the fire of manipura will start to burn off the heaviness of svadhisthana and turn your overall flow upwards.

Finally, working on the upper chakras will help bring the profound transformation and change in perspective that allows you to really go beyond the consciousness of svadhisthana into a more cosmic understanding of yourself.

Watch your media diet

Most entertainment and media in our culture is created from svadhisthana and aimed towards that level of consciousness, since this is where the collective subconscious is based. This energy is the very fabric of pop culture.

The media that we engage with strongly influence our consciousness, like a tuning fork that our own frequency aligns itself with. (Especially if we’re consuming it unconsciously!) When you spend the whole day listening to music that resonates with svadhisthana, watching movies on svadhisthana, reading articles written from svadhisthana, not to mention scrolling through the endless svadhisthana vortex of social media… no surprise you end up with a lot of energy stuck at this level!

If you usually spend a lot of time in media, try taking a break from Netflix and social media for a while. You can try going cold turkey for a month, or set a limit of, say, only fifteen minutes every day for “feeding my svadhisthana.”

Or, try to switch your media habits to another frequency. Spend some time with books, movies and music that are more on the level of manipura or anahata chakra. After a while, you’ll notice your own consciousness starts to flow more easily into a more elevated way of perceiving the world.

Learn to witness

Svadhisthana is often referred to as the “black sheep” or “problem child” of the chakra family.

While it’s true that this chakra causes a lot of problems for many people, it’s important to realize that there’s nothing wrong with the energy of svadhisthana. Like any other energy, it is essentially sacred, and when we have the right relationship with it, it will also take us to the source of all energy: to the Divine, to pure consciousness.

The problems arise when we identify with the world of svadhisthana. It’s when you believe on some deep level, “I am my emotions,” “I am my sexuality,” “I am my subconscious mind.” This happens very easily because this energy is so dominant within the human structure.

And when you’re identified, all of the moods and dramas and fluctuations associated with this level of consciousness start to loom over us in such great proportions that the block out everything else. It’s like instead of watching a movie on a small screen, you’ve shrunk yourself and put yourself inside the action.

These feelings can seem very real—and they are, but they aren’t the only reality.

This part of you that is lost in emotions, that lives in stories and fantasies, that cares so much about fitting in and being liked and accepted by others, it’s only one tiny aspect of what you are. It’s perfectly valid; you don’t need to reject it or try to change it in any way. Just take a step back and acknowledge it for what it is. Let it be simply a frequency within you rather than your entire reality, like one harmony line within the symphony of your being.

How do you do this? By learning to watch. Sit with whatever arises, without judging, without following and without rejecting anything. Don’t react in any way. No matter what crazy story your mind tries to tell you, whether it’s ecstatic or heartbreaking, just let it be.

Get out of the screen and be the one who’s watching the movie.

(Of course, for this to work you really have to want it to work. One of the symptoms of being stuck in svadhisthana is the tendency to “wallow” even in unpleasant emotions and experiences!)

It’s a practice in detachment, but not a cold sort of disassociation. On the contrary, witnessing like this is actually a radical acceptance. It means having the courage and love to look everything in the eye, allowing even the most ugly and frightening parts of yourself to come into the light of awareness.

The best practices to train for this are techniques like vipassana or Self-enquiry, but witnessing is an attitude that you can cultivate in all your spiritual practices and in every aspect of your life.

AumTantraYoga Yoga TTC

If you’re interested to learn how to work directly with energy, join our upcoming 200-hour Yoga TTC! For four weeks in sunny Mazunte, Mexico, you will learn how to activate each chakra and move energy at will, using the powerful inner science of traditional hatha yoga.

Learn more and register here: https://aumtantrayoga.com/services/yoga-teacher-training-course

Top 5 reasons to do a Yoga TTC (other than for becoming a yoga teacher)

Top 5 reasons to do a Yoga TTC (other than for becoming a yoga teacher)

If there’s anything that the modern world of yoga has in abundance, it’s the yoga teacher training courses. These days it seems like everyone is busy either taking a TTC or offering one.

When you hear about yoga TTC’s, maybe your first thought is, “Eh, this isn’t for me. I don’t want to be a yoga teacher.”

Actually, there are many reasons to complete a yoga teacher training course even if you have little or no interest in teaching yoga! We know many students who have completed an AUM Tantra Yoga TTC and who had beautiful, meaningful and even life-changing experiences, without feeling a call to go on to teach.

These are just a few reasons to take a yoga TTC, that have nothing to do with becoming a yoga teacher.

You want to go deeper in your own practice

The most common non-teaching related reason for joining a yoga teacher training course is the desire simply to go deeper into yoga: to advance, establish a strong foundation or renew your commitment to your own practice.

This you will find for sure! The goal of a TTC in a real, authentic yogic path is to create strong practitioners who can go out and share from their own experience. The practice and deep understanding of spirituality come first; the technicalities of running a class are just building on that ground.

So even if all you want is to practice on your own, a yoga TTC is one of the best ways to learn and encounter the profound inner teachings of yoga.

 1. You want to connect to a lineage and sangha

Yoga was traditionally passed down through direct lineage, mouth to mouth, guru to disciple, with students of the same guru forming a spiritual family to support each other. The connection between yogis who learn and practice together can be a lifelong bond, stretching across years and around the world.

When you receive teachings, it’s not only information that you gain: it’s a subtle connection to the whole lineage, to all the great masters and teachers of that path, and all those who achieved realization through its methods. (If the path is an authentic one, of course.)

These days, few Westerners are ready to commit to the traditional guru-disciple structure, but a TTC is not so far from it. It also is a kind of initiation into a lineage, which will support you and give life to the teachings you receive, far beyond the actual content of the course.

 2. You want to experience an intense inward journey

Participating in a TTC is almost like being in a retreat. For a few weeks, the rest of the world is put aside and you can focus exclusively on your inner life.

Thanks to the intensity of practice and inward focus, a TTC can accelerate many processes, bringing rapid transformation and insight. It’s an opportunity to break from old patterns and habits, dissolve limitations and purify your body and mind.

This can be a lot, but brings incredible rewards. A good yoga course will provide both the intensity to jumpstart your evolution and a strong, safe container for you to explore it.

 3. You want to share with friends and family

As you progress along the spiritual path, sooner or later you will probably experience the longing to share. This comes to almost everyone at some point, like an overflowing of the heart. When teachings and practices touch you so deeply, transforming your life, how could you not want to spread the joy?

But this feeling doesn’t necessarily come along with a desire to teach classes or to step into the role of a “yoga teacher.” Maybe you just want to support your partner, friends or family.

If you work a lot on yourself, the people around you will start to notice—and get curious. (Especially if you don’t make a big deal out of it or try to push them into spirituality!) Having some training can allow you to help them more, should they feel inspired to join you on the path.

 4. You want to teach… just not now

There’s no expiration date on a teaching certificate. Maybe now you feel a thousand miles away from standing up in front of a class and leading sun salutations, but life brings so many changes. Just through the course of my first yoga TTC, I went constantly back and forth between wanting to teach more than anything and wanting to never teach again!

If you feel any curiosity about teaching yoga, completing a TTC and continuing in your own practice is like good dirt, water and sunlight for that little seed within you.

Give it its own time and space and it can sprout.

AUM Tantra Yoga’s Hatha Yoga TTC: Mexico 2020

The vital element here is to join the right yoga TTC. Too many courses out there are just gymnastics classes in disguise, churning out “certified yoga teachers” who actually have no experience or understanding of the true meaning of yoga.

In this respect, AUM Tantra Yoga offers something unique in our 200-hour Yoga TTC. This course is an initiation into the profound esoteric dimension of yoga. You will gain a solid foundation in hatha yoga as it was practiced for hundreds of years, using ancient knowledge of the chakras and subtle energies.

Your yoga practice can become a path towards fully realizing your highest potential in this life. It’s a gift you will carry with you wherever your journey takes you…learn more about our 200hr Traditional Yoga TTC

Lack of vitality? How to recharge your yogic battery

Lack of vitality? How to recharge your yogic battery

Do you often feel tired, dull or weak? Do you often get sick? Do you have enough energy for long lovemaking or tend to lose your drive early on?
These are all signs that your vitality, your basic life energy, is low.
Since tantra is a path of energy, it’s extremely important to run on full power. Vitality is important to feel good and stay healthy, but also so you can practice tantric lovemaking and powerful sublimation.
The yogic tradition provides a clear understanding of where this raw vital force comes from and how we can amplify it. Keep reading to learn cultivate your vitality and enjoy more energy, health and spiritual power.

Let’s meet muladhara chakra

Muladhara chakra is known as the “root chakra,” the psycho-energetic center connected to the earth element within a human being. Located at the base of the spine, it provides vitality and stability, like a battery powering the rest of your system.
Some people are born with a great muladhara: lots of vitality all the time! Some not. So it goes.
But if your muladhara isn’t natural strong, you can develop it with hatha yoga. There are asanas, pranayama techniques and other practices that will build up your root chakra and allow you to channel more vital energy through your being.
Men are more prone to a weak muladhara, so tantric men will work a lot on this chakra to develop the raw power needed for sexual practice.
So as a yogi, muladhara chakra is where you look first whenever there’s a lack of vitality. Besides the yogic approach, through asana and pranayama, here are some areas to consider:

Connection with the earth

Nothing replenishes the earth element in your being like connection with the actual earth.
Most people in Western countries these days live in a way that’s very cut off from this basic energy source. Living in apartment buildings, getting around in cars, walking with rubber and concrete between our feet and Mother Earth…
So get out there in nature. Touch the ground with your bare feet. Lie down in the sand. Find somewhere quiet and sit naked on the dirt. That’s right, put your root chakra right on the ground! The Earth will always replenish us, it’s her gift.

Diet

Muladhara chakra loves food. Are you eating enough? And more importantly, are you eating the right things?
So much food today is actually not nourishing at all. Packaged, processed food is not only bad for your body, it’s deficient in prana (life-force). No matter how many chips you eat, you never feel satisfied, right? That’s because they aren’t giving you any of the vital energy you really need.
Eating a balanced plant-based diet of simple, whole foods will do wonders for your vitality. Get plenty of raw fruits and veggies, since these contain the most prana. Avoid overcooking and leftovers, where the prana is depleted.
Root vegetables in particular can support in recharging muladhara, your own root.

Sleep

Sleep is essential for your vitality. If you skimp on sleep (especially if your astrological sign is air or your Ayurvedic constitution is vata dosha), this feeling of vigor and wellbeing is the first thing to go.
It is of course important to get enough sleep, but even more important to sleep in periods that correspond to your sleep cycles. Each cycle is roughly 90 minutes, varying by individual. Waking up in the middle of a cycle will leave you more tired than if you had woken up between cycles, even if it means getting up an hour earlier.
It also matters when you sleep. Going to sleep before 10pm is ideal, since during this time kapha energy (nourishing earth/water energy) is predominant. After 10pm, the energy goes to pitta (fire/water), more active and using up energy rather than replenishing it, and to vata (air/ether) late in the night.
This is why many creative people love the night – so much mental openness and creativity! – but it’s healthier to tap into the revitalizing kapha field when possible.

Stagnant energy

Sometimes a feeling of heaviness or tiredness isn’t caused by a lack of vital energy, but by the fact that your vital energy isn’t moving.
Energy stuck in the lower chakras, especially muladhara, can bring a sense of inertia. You’ll see this often in people with a lot of vitality (especially earth signs) but without so much of the fire element. This is just part of the nature of the earth element: solid, heavy, immovable… both its charm and its challenge!
The solution is to bring the fire! Working on manipura chakra, connected to the fire element, turns up the heat in your system and gets everything moving. It’s the element of dynamism and transformation, that will burn all that heavy energy and turn it into activity or send it upwards to the higher chakras. (Hence why it’s so important in tantric yoga.)
Asanas for manipura and sublimation practices like uddiyana bandha or nauli kriya are perfect for this.

Enthusiasm

Another possibility not related to muladhara is that your lack of vitality is actually a lack of enthusiasm.
Can you remember a time in your life when you were all fired up about some project? You maybe had so much passion to channel into it, you almost didn’t need to rest at all to feel vitalized and full of energy.
So if now you’re feeling dull, check if there isn’t something more significant missing in your life – some greater cause that moves and motivates you.
That greater cause doesn’t have to be saving the world all by yourself. It’s whatever sparks a fire in your heart, whatever gives you a reason to feel joy getting out of bed in the morning. Each of us has our own dharma, our own role to play in this great drama of life.
These days, when most of the world is on standby, it’s a better time than ever to look inwards and discover your most authentic calling. When you’re following this, you’ll always have the energy you need. It’s like instead of running off you own little battery, you plug yourself straight into the power source.

If you want to dive deep into the authentic teaching of taditional hatha yoga take a look at our 4 weeks Yoga Immersion Teacher Training Course starting November 18th in Mexico.

Dance with the Goddess: overcoming shame for women with a high sex drive.

Dance with the Goddess: overcoming shame for women with a high sex drive.

Women, do you love sex? Like, really love it?
Love it so much maybe you feel a little wrong for it?
Sex is wonderful and you are absolutely right for loving it! However, so many women even now feel shame around loving, enjoying and seeking sex, or fear that they might love it too much.
If this is the case for you, I recommend let’s take a look at the roots of this shame and how to overcome it to enjoy the glorious, powerful, divine sexuality that is the birthright of every woman.

Why the shame around women’s sexuality?

Even though Western society might seem now more open and sexualized than any culture in history, still every woman who grows up within it inherits shame from an early age.
This is something which is still alive in our collective consciousness, and you picked up these imprints no matter how you were raised.
It’s in the movies. It’s in pop music, books, TV and the news. It’s definitely in our “sex ed” classes.
Men are the ones who want sex all the time. Boys only ever want one thing, right?
Girls should put out (don’t be a prude!) but not too much (don’t be a slut!). We’re supposed to be the ones who would rather just talk, who fake a headache because we don’t feel like making love. We don’t hear about female orgasm in sex ed.
The irony here is that women have much stronger sexual energy than men!

Female vs. male sexual energy: compatible yet opposite

In yogic terms, women generally are much stronger in the lower chakras, muladhara and swadisthana, related to vitality and sexuality. We need this extra energy to create new life inside our bodies. When a woman is fully open in her sexuality, it’s the man who has to work to keep up with her.
(In fact, the main development for a tantric man is to learn to have a non-ejaculative, implosive orgasm that takes a shape similar to a female orgasm – but more about tantra in a minute.)
Male and female sexual energy do take different forms, for sure. Male energy is more quick, fiery and explosive. Female energy is denser and heavier. It takes longer to get it moving, but once it does…! Think the difference between a stick of dynamite and a freight train.
Many women find themselves wanting more sex than their male partners. And in this situation, before recognizing it as a simple fact and something to grow with in the relationship, that old shame rears its head!
“Is there something wrong with me? Why do I feel this way? Am I ‘too much?’”
There’s a reason why history imposed this shame on us. Female sexuality is incredibly powerful, fully capable of disrupting the rigid structures and hierarchies of old patriarchal societies. People within these structures were afraid of it.
Religion, especially in the West, was one of the most efficient systems for reinforcing fear and shame around female pleasure.
Most systems of spirituality, although they may transcend religious dogma and prejudices, are at best indifferent to sexual expression. It’s a distraction, a disturbance to avoid and ignore. Look at classical Advaita Vedanta or Theravada Buddhism for a clear demonstration.

Women’s sexuailty in Tantra

Fortunately, this is not the case in tantra. Tantrics have always valued feminine sexual energy: not just accepted but adored it! In tantra, it is seen as a potent manifestation of Shakti, the universal divine life force that underlies all of creation.
In the female body, the divine energy of the universe is not just an abstract concept but a tangible presence. This body, in all its strangeness and grace, truly is a temple.
“O Lady with beautiful hips!” Abhinavagupta, the greatest master of Kashmir Shaivism, began many of his writings with this exclamation. This “Lady” is the absolute Reality, not different from the formless transcendent aspect of pure Consciousness, but somehow also She is every human woman.
Tantric art, both Hindu and Buddhist, is replete with images of the female body in its full glory. No chaste Virgin Mary’s, fully draped from head to toe, but luscious figures with full breasts, voluptuous hips and wild hair. These aren’t pin-up’s (some of the goddesses are quite frightening!) but a recognition of the sacred power of female sexuality.
The same power and mystery that intimidates some is an incredible gift for an authentic and brave-hearted seeker after the Truth.
Female orgasm is wild. It is a formidable force of nature, terrifyingly divine, and a woman who is in connection with her own sexual potential is likewise a force to be reckoned with. Sexual tantra is then a path to the Divine that doesn’t color within the lines, doesn’t run alongside the boundaries of conventional society but blows past all limitations.

From shame to bliss

So how to drop old shame and reclaim your sacred sexual power?

  • Love your yoni. It all starts with the yoni. If you feel shame around your sexual energy, you probably aren’t comfortable with your vagina either. Spend some time getting to know and love her. When you value this most intimate part of your body, you’ll be able to adore yourself exactly as you are.
    Be honest in relationship: If you’re in a relationship with a mismatched sex drive, just be open and talk about it. The problem in these situations comes when there’s a lack of communication: one partner ends up feeling like their needs aren’t being met while the other feels pressured and resentful.
    It’s important to be sensitive around this topic, not to make your man feel insufficient, since this is probably a big fear for him – but bringing it out into the open, especially with this understanding of the sexual differences between men and women, will already take the edge off of his insecurity.
    There are lots of solutions for couples with different levels of sexual energy, ranging from work on vitality for him (yoga is great for this), to spicing things up with new games or time apart, to consciously opening the relationship.
  • Practice Tantra: As already mentioned, the tantric teachings are refreshingly welcoming of sexuality and female sexuality in particular. Learning Tantra can bring a deep shift in perspective so you see your strong sexuality as a sacred gift.
    In tantric yoga, you will also learn to sublimate your sexual energy: move it to the higher chakras where it becomes refined spiritual energy. Again you’ll find a high level of sexual energy to be a blessing here!
    Take a look at our Tantrik Academy here
  • Orgasmic Life Course: If you’re interested in exploring your femininity and sexuality, you are welcome to join Amita for her 5-week Orgasmic Life course for women, it’s FREE till July 4th. We’ll learn to connect with the yoni, to heal and release blockages, and unleash the incredible orgasmic potential within each and every one of us. Learn more

When a woman’s sexual bliss is released, it will infuse her entire life with magic!

The essence of Yoga

The essence of Yoga

What are you practicing when you practice yoga?
The yoga that we mostly see in the West is primarily physical. Of course, there are benefits for the mind and emotions, as any conscious movement will benefit the mind and the emotions – many people find long-distance running, for example, to be very meditative.
It’s wonderful that so many people now are drawn to some version of yoga, even those who otherwise would be totally closed to spirituality in any form!
But is this all that yoga can be?
How we see yoga reflects a lot about how we see ourselves.
In a materialist society, where most people are totally identified with the physical body and can’t see beyond it, yoga is only for the physical body.
But what if we are more than that? What if the blood and bones are only the tip of the iceberg?
What if there are dimensions of our existence that are vast and subtle, accessible only when we turn inwards? What if our limits do not end with our skin but stretch into unknown realms, edging on a mystery so profound the whole cosmos seems to circle around it, like a galaxy around the black hole at its center?
With this expanded perspective, we can also start to perceive the deeper dimensions of yoga. The world of energy, subtle realities and the true essence of yoga – our own essence – which is beyond even these phenomena.
We can begin to understand why the great masters and founders of yoga spoke the way they did.
Gheranda, the author of one of the most revered texts of hatha yoga, described yoga as the fire in which a human being can be baked, as a clay vessel is baked so that it can hold water. Our ordinary minds, senses and sense of self are not yet expanded enough to perceive reality in its entirety.
Patanjali wrote, nearly 2,500 years ago: “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind. Thus the seer abides in his own nature.”
Yoga is the path, but also the end of the path: union, as is the true etymology of the word “yoga.” The state of unity, of not-two-ness, the state of being undivided from oneself.
It starts with a movement of the body. With a breath.
It ends as this door to nowhere, the strange light created when two mirrors are held to face each other.
And along the way, a process of radical self-discovery, allowing ourselves to unfold in more and more exquisite geometries.
If your heart is yearning to follow a deeper, more authentic path of yoga, you are welcome to join Aum Tantra Yoga in our upcoming 200-hour teacher training course in Mazunte, Mexico. We will explore tantric hatha yoga as it was practiced for hundreds of years, as a system of profound transformation and a path to complete spiritual realization.

The Sacred Yoni in Traditional Tantra

The Sacred Yoni in Traditional Tantra

“Yoni” is the Sanskrit word for the vagina. Also meaning “source” or “origin,” the warm syllables carry with them an overtone of reverence.
In English, by contrast, all the words we have for female genitalia are either derogatory or coldly clinical. It’s hard to even speak about our own intimate parts without shame, feeling like we are talking about something dirty or obscene.
Most religions instill a deep shame around s*xuality, especially female s*xuality. Just look at the “cautionary tale” of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, lured out of paradise by the temptation of a snake and forbidden fruit!
Western society has lived with this paradigm for a long time, but we lose something very precious when we give up our reverence for the yoni.
Rejecting sexuality is rejecting life. Losing touch with our innate power, we become confined to the narrow limits of what we can control and grasp with the rational mind.
Fortunately, authentic spirituality doesn’t have to stay within these confines. The tantric path – a world-embracing, life-affirming path – also embraces and honors the yoni as the center of femininity and creative power, a physical manifestation of the Goddess within the female body.
Traditional tantra is replete with images and symbols of the yoni – often in union with its counterpart, the lingam.
*THE SHIVALINGAM. One of the most famous symbols in mainstream Hinduism as well as tantra, the two elements of the Shiva lingam clearly represent the lingam and yoni: the union of feminine and masculine principles. The base (yoni) is round, the shape of perfection and completion, with an opening to pour out grace. The pillar (lingam) rises out of the center, like pure consciousness rising out of the manifestation and yet at the same time abiding as its essence.
*YANTRAS. Every aspect of the Goddess has a yantra, a geometrical expression of Her form. These yantras always contain at least one downward-pointing triangle, representing the yoni. (The famous Sri Yantra, for example, includes four upward triangles for the Masculine and five downward triangles for the Feminine, together embracing the entirety of existence.) This abstract image of the yoni becomes a source of tremendous power.
*THE SANSKRIT ALPHABET. The Sanskrit alphabet, with its 16 vowels and 33 consonants, is not just beautiful but sacred. In classical tantra, it was a spiritual practice simply to chant the sequence of phonemes, each one considered a mantra. The 16 vowels of the Sanskrit alphabet were referred to as “bija” (“seed”), while the consonants were called “yoni-s.” The vowels in language are like consciousness in the universe: the breath of life, yet formless and meaningless without the 33 consonants that allow that bija to take shape and manifest its presence within time and space.
*TIBETAN RITUALS. In every Tibetan puja, the lama performing the ritual holds two powerful sacred objects: a dorje (stylized representation of a diamond or thunderbolt) and a bell. The dorje is a symbol of the lingam, while the bell, with its empty inner space and clear vibrations, represents the cosmic yoni.
For tantrikas, the yoni does not only give birth to babies. When its sacred dimension is recognized, through the yoni we can give birth to enlightened consciousness. It is a portal through which we can access the heart of the world, and a gateway to bring the highest sacred reality into the mundane.
As women on the spiritual path, the first step is to release the shame around our yonis. No matter how supportive and liberal our upbringing was, most of us are carrying this shame subconsciously on some level, simply from exposure to a collective cultural consciousness that is still afraid of feminine power.
We can learn to relate to our yonis in a whole new way. We can learn to see its incredible beauty, to marvel at its complexity, intelligence and mystery. With this openness and sense of wonder, we begin to give space for the Goddess to speak to us through our own bodies.

Teaching Yoga in the Twentieth Century: Pro’s and Con’s of the Modern Era For Spirituality

Teaching Yoga in the Twentieth Century: Pro’s and Con’s of the Modern Era For Spirituality

What does it mean to be a spiritual seeker in modern times, in the Internet age?
Before the world became so technological, if you wanted to receive the teachings of a master you had to travel across the world, by land, to go and knock at the doors of a guru who likely would test your determination by letting you wait days or months at the doorstep.
Once accepted, the student had to serve the guru and revere his guidance as a servant. In return, he received knowledge. How many of these stories have been known for millennia, in the Himalayas and on the banks of the Ganges! That was the price you had to pay, the fair exchange to receive the teachings of a guru.
Now it’s all different. You can access everything with a click and pay with a bank transfer.
On the internet, even we Westerners can access some of the ancient knowledge of yoga and tantra without moving from home or receive it in a concentrated way in a few weeks, without so much effort.
On the other hand, the “market of spirituality” is so inundated with any kind of information and concentration of disciplines that for those who want to seriously deepen their spiritual research, it’s not so easy to find the right source of knowledge without running into superficial surrogates rather than any authentic kind of yoga or especially tantra.
In the era in which yoga has become only gymnastics and tantra has been transformed into so many things except the original teaching, how do you find your way? How to avoid taking paths that leave you confused and make waste so much time?
Even those who hear the call to teach are confronted with the modalities of modernity. The teacher no longer waits for the students to arrive guided by the law of karma.
If a teacher now wants to fill his or her courses, he must use trendy language, have a website with gorgeous photos, advertise on Facebook, write a book that becomes a bestseller on Amazon, etc…
The truth is that a yoga teacher must spend a lot of time in front of the computer (which is not at all yogic) if he or she wants to spread this knowledge. He must adapt to the language of the world. To carry his message, the yogi must leave the cave where he has meditated for so long and force a foot into the “system.”
He must practice using the computer, write interesting articles and put on a good face to shoot videos to post. Only then he can attract attention!
The “job” of the yoga and tantra teacher has become inflated. What’s more, let’s not forget that while most yoga teachings now are only oriented to the well-being of the physical body, more spiritually oriented teachers must find their place in the same crowd.
So any teacher who feels in her heart that she must bring the more spiritual and esoteric teaching, and that this is what matters the most, must nevertheless jump into the jungle of competition among the millions of teachers who are out there presenting a mainstream, physical version of yoga.
It is not easy to maintain a yogic mental state in these conditions. It is very easy to fall back into mental agitation and lose the “detachment” that is so much taught in yoga.
It is also easy to enter into competition patterns with other teachers, because in any case a school must also survive economically in order to have a future and to be sustainable.
What we see in the world of yoga teachers in the twentieth century is that those who are successful and attract many students are not the teachers who have such strong spiritual aspiration and capacity to inspire other human beings – a fundamental requirement of a teacher – but those who are economically strong and can invest in marketing and advertising.
This is an invitation for every yoga teacher (including us of course) to remain fully aware of ourselves, to understand how the compromises we make in order to teach in modern times affect our own integrity.

Amita

 

The tantric relationship: being together to evolve

The tantric relationship: being together to evolve

The tantric relationship: being together to evolve
16 years together, it seems like an eternity!
In the times in which marriages often end in the third year of living together, our relationship seems like an ancient Egyptian pyramid that resists time and atmospheric phenomena, unwavering and stable. The storm passes, sometimes real cyclones, yet Marco and Amita still come out together. Then the hot, arid desert sun, but Marco and Amita find a way to nurture the foundations of their life together. It’s all true?
Well, of course there were storms, when the hurricanes of the inner turmoil of both of us affected the couple. There have also been certain dry moments, certainly, of those that leave a dry throat.
And yet, even those times when everyone thought we would split, we found a way to rebuild ourselves, to be reborn from our renewed and grown ashes. This is the truth!
It has been certainly not easy, there were times when it seemed impossible to agree on our requirements, so opposite, almost mirror-image.
We both saw our parents suffer as a couple and we had to, in some way, rebuild that inner trust that a man and a woman can be happy together. This has cost a great deal of inner work, individually before that of a couple.
Only when both partners in a love relationship are able to look inward, only when you can bring awareness into the dark shadows that we all carry and turn them into light, then the couple becomes a wonderful tool for growth with two, without fall into mechanisms of projection and manipulation. It takes so much courage!
But it is the only real way to create a solid foundation for the couple that allows the union to survive even in difficult times.
Consecrating the relationship to personal and spiritual growth has always been our philosophy, at the cost of getting out of our comfort zone to face those parts of us that we like the least and that sometimes hurt.
Don’t use the other to feel protected and safe by bury your head in the sand!
Our life together has always been a real “work in progress”, a flow between moments of rest and regeneration and others of great inner work.
This is our recipe and it is also what we want to convey and share through our work, as teachers, where the best version of us comes out!
Marco and Amita

The meaning of some basic terms in yoga practice

The meaning of some basic terms in yoga practice

Resonance

Start or amplification of a vibrational phenomenon in a system under the influence of similar vibrations produced by another system. The phenomenon of resonance takes place when the frequency of a vibration is close, or coincides with one of the frequencies with which the system that comes into resonance is able to vibrate. During the resonance process there is always a transfer of energy from the stimulating system to the stimulated system. At the time of resonance, the amplification increases significantly, showing a typical peak as in the graphs. This phenomenon could become infinite – as happens at higher levels – due to a certain friction that comes to develop with resonance. Being a selective phenomenon, the resonance offers us the possibility to “work” on a large scale with energies that otherwise would be too small or even imperceptible or even to drive the transfer of energy on a certain frequency in relation to a phenomenon. Resonance is an essential, very sensitive method to better understand many phenomena in the world of yoga.

Frequency

Quantity indicating how many times a phenomenon occurs periodically in a given time fraction.

Agreement

Alteration of a specific characteristic of a circuit or vibratory system by means of which its frequency is equal to that of another given frequency. The agreement operation leads to harmony.

Transmutation

The transformation of a nuclear structure of atoms through which one element can become another, or a substance can disintegrate into an enormous amount of energy. The original concept derives from alchemy, where the end of the practitioner was the legendary enterprise of turning metal into gold, this process is called the transmutation of metals. From a yogic point of view, it is shown that it is possible to transform the lower components of the body into higher structures or forms of matter, or even more in different forms of energy. Many of these processes are nowadays known under the name of biological transmutations such as for example nuclear reactions that occur in living beings at normal pressure and temperature. In the human being the process of low-energy nuclear transmutation takes place: during mental activity, in emotional states, erotic experiences, love intercourses and spiritual experiences.

Tuning, unison, consonance

The equalization of specific frequencies of a certain vibratory system (for example the tuning of two string instruments tuned to the same musical note).

Discover how to practice this priciple in our teacher training couses.

Marco – Aum Tantra Yoga

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