Yoga

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

Real Yoga in modern time

Real Yoga in modern time

In recent years we have witnessed a “boom” of Yoga around the world.
If once it was necessary to go to India on the banks of the river Ganges to find a teacher and learn the discipline, nowadays intensive yoga and training courses for teachers are found in almost all latitudes of the planet.
But has the quality of the teachings of Yoga been maintained in this “globalization” of a discipline so ancient and profound?
The answer is unfortunately, no.
In most cases, what is left of the ancient esoteric and spiritual path of Yoga is nothing but a complex series of stretches for muscles and ligaments. These give a healthy and elastic body, a deep sense of relaxation and therefore well-being. But is this Yoga? Bodily health and calmness of the mind?
The answer is again: No!
Don’t get me wrong – flexibility and health of the physical body is a great thing. Yet this aspect is only the tip of the iceberg in the way of Yoga. A positive side-effect that improves quality of life. This is very good but there’s a lot more to discover.
Yoga is the in-depth study of the energetic structure of human nature. This includes a dense network of energy channels and Chakras (energy centers) in which energy flows, or can become blocked. With various techniques including positions, breathing, mantra repetitions, visualizations and meditation, these energy channels are purified and opened in a progressive way so as to be able to sustain higher levels of energy. When the system is perfectly optimized, the energy can flow to the upper chakras to achieve the expansion of consciousness.
In fact, Yogic teachings maintain that most human beings use only a limited part of their potential, and for this reason their level of consciousness remains at a certain level. But human potentiality can be amplified, and anyone who steps on the path of an authentic practice of Yoga can experience it. The levels of vitality, intelligence, intuition, ability to love, personal power etc. are amplified even after a few months of intense practice.
And yet, this too is not the ultimate goal of Yoga.

In Yoga, as in of any spiritual practice, the purpose is to discover the true, universal, Divine nature of one’s being.
Yoga maintains that it is possible for every person to experience this. To feel and sense themselves as inseparable from the universe itself, as eternal and immortal consciousness. This is a mystical experience, a state of recognition of the universal nature of the True Self. Often it is accompanied by a sense of pure ecstasy, a beatific pleasure that infuses being and that brings a beneficial treasure on all levels, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
How? The pathway is in bringing our mental attention inward. We learn, with training, to focus the mind in a single point until the discursive flow of the mind ceases. With mental peace it flows to channel our energies upwards, towards the higher chakras, opening the gates of consciousness.
Recognizing the universal nature of one’s self is the real purpose of the Yogic discipline. This is why the word Yoga means “Union”, that is the union of one’s individual microcosm with the Universal Macrocosm.

We understand that this is much more than the physical discipline that is often found in gyms and Yoga centers around the world – even in our our homes, thanks to the internet. In fact, while on the one hand the knowledge of Yoga has become more accessible, on the other hand this ancient wisdom practice has been emptied of its depth reduced to a form of physical, toning gymnastics.
I have been practicing Yoga for more than 25 years. In those years I have studied in various parts of the world and also in the homeland of Yoga, India. But for a decade of my research I found only masters who instructed me in a re-elasticizing and toning physical practice but which brought very superficial effects on my being. The mind swiftly resumed its agitated conversation, the fears were always the same and it didn’t really seem to me to get a deep transformation.
When I met the authentic and esoteric teachings of Yoga, I immediately understood that what I had practiced up until that moment was only a superficial aspect and that much more was waiting for me. With enthusiasm I threw myself into the study of the energy aspects of Yoga, for years and years my life was marked by an intense practice of 4-5 hours a day on the Yoga mat.
Gradually I began to perceive the inner changes that this produced, I refined my ability to channel energy towards the high chakras allowing the consciousness to always vibrate in a very subtle way. I started using my energies in a much more constructive way. Some changes in life happened naturally, in diet, in work, in my social life and in my relationship with my partner.

A different approach to existence has completely transformed my way of perceiving the world and life. Where there was anxiety, now there is much more expansion, where there was fear now there is so much peace.

Amita Helga Albini – Aum Tantra Yoga

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