Tantra, Neotantra, Sex

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Well… it seems that the title of the post can raise some eyebrows by itself. In general, I don´t like to talk about this subject because even though it is tricky and fascinating at the same time, on the other hand it is kind of easy to use certain words and catch some attention. The word sex shakes things up and, when a yoga teacher uses it, probably more. My yoga classes follow a purely tantric philosophical current (not sexual!!)and this is the way I approach my students.  But recently I saw a group of students that come to my classes when they were about to attend a workshop on Neo Tantra. They seemed a little bit confused in regards to what those things are and their correspondent implication with with sex. This post aims to bring some light into this.

Tantra should NOT be mixed up with the lovemaking arts of India, of which you might know the famous Kamasutra. Tantra is a spiritual tradition going back to pre-Vedic times -according to some scholars- and it had an incredible flourishing starting on the X century of our era. Tantra is a life vision: the Universe as an energetic continuity that unites and connects us all, as a great luminous fabric of which we all are part. Yes, there are sexual rites in a few tantric sects, but it is a minority compared to the vast body of knowledge that this tradition holds. The confusion arises because Tantra explores the power of the creative energy in the Universe. This energy flows through our body and it is the same creative force that is felt in an intimate relationship. In Tantra, the divine and the mundane are one so all emotions, circumstances or sensations are seen as part of the incredible web of existence.

Neotantra is a pseudo-spiritual current originated in the sixties. Some scholars call it “pop tantra”. It draws from some components of traditional Tantra and other New Age approaches to life in order to explore the sacred in sexuality. It has its own value because it has brought some relevance to sex, seeing it as something good and teaching how it can be as spiritual as a meditation in the most beautiful temple.

Tantra and Neo Tantra share the idea that the human body is a sacred vehicle. Both enhance the greatness of body experience and use words like ecstasy, desire or bliss. But while Neo Tantra focuses in partnership relationships and, specifically in the sex part, Tantra encompasses a large series of meditative practices, contemplation and a literary tradition infinitely bigger and more valuable.

I respect all attempts of bringing Light into our lives, but I would prefer that people called what is related to sex by its name. Right now I can think of some poetic terms like “conscious relationships”, “god-goddess love” or “sex for the soul”. I would prefer that Tantra could be left alone, and be honored for its elegant way of unfolding the Divine; for the lineage of many masters that have guided and enlightened us; they have taught very important things as the works of the subtle body or the relationship with the personal deity; they have transmitted the secrets of mantra, yantra, mudra, the cosmology of the Universe and many other components relevant to the spirituality of our time. May we not forget Hatha Yoga! These tantra masters revealed the Shakti powers to us, they have opened the possibility of awakening so we can support others and contribute beautiful things to the world.

In Spain we have a great saying “no mezclemos churras con merinas” which means something like “let´s not mix merino sheep with churra lambs”. I hope this post has brought some clarity and has ignited the desire to explore both the Tantra teachings and the sacredness in sexuality, now with a more clear foundation.

Happy weekend everyone!

Radhe Krishna, Hari Om

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Empieza a ser tú

ser-humano-y-naturaleza.jpg.737x248_defaultMuchas veces escribo con cierta voz de autoridad. Me estudio lo que te voy a contar, intento buscar un tema con relevancia terapéutica, leo y reviso el contenido con cuidado. Hoy no. Hoy he decidido simplemente ponerme delante de la pantalla y permitirme Ser en las palabras. Se debe a que esta tarde me senté en un café de Palma a esperar a mi hija, que se iba a retrasar un poco. La vida me ofreció uno de esos ratos deliciosos e inesperados en los que no se puede hacer nada más que Ser.  No hay nada que hacer: ni trabajar, ni hablar, ni leer, ni ninguna cosa relacionada con yoga (ni con nada). Simplemente tenía que pararme y resulta que es entonces cuando uno aflora de verdad.

Un amigo y profesor que tuve hace años solía hablarnos del yoga como la maestría ser tú mismo. A mí me encanta esa manera de verlo porque nos pasamos años en la vida esforzándonos para mejorar en cosas ajenas a quienes somos auténticamente. Para empezar, ¿Quién es ese “tú mismo”? La mayoría no tiene ni idea. Luego incluso se hace del yoga una competición interna. Se quiere conquistar una postura, llegar a meditar durante una hora, conseguir que los seres queridos vayan a clase. La gente se esfuerza en ser buenos, en comer lo que dice tal libro, en encontrar una pareja que haga yoga… Todo eso está muy bien cuando surge de los deseos profundos de tu alma, pero sospecho que muchas veces la motivación viene solo del exterior.

Yoga es ser tú, aquí mismo, en un estado de relajación profunda y amor incondicional hacia todo lo que ya eres. Puedes reconocer lo que has ido recogiendo de otros a través de los años, soltarlo y dejar que las respuestas nazcan de ti. Puedes enamorarte de ti mismo, no de una manera narcisista sino desde la humildad. Enamorarte de tu cuerpo por toda la belleza que te ayuda a manifestar, de tu mente por imaginar. Puedes darte permiso para sentir lo que sientas momento a momento, si es tristeza, pues tristeza, si es alegría pues alegría. Son emociones, partes de ti, pero no la esencia de tu Ser. Puedes tirar la toalla, dejarte fluir y ver que no pasa nada (probablemente seas más feliz). Puedes soltarte en el ahora y darte cuenta de tu perfección, de tu plenitud, de tu manera única y maravillosa de experimentar el mundo.

La misma Gracia que crea el reflejo de la luna llena en el mar te hizo tal y como eres. El Universo tuvo sus valiosísimas razones para crearte a ti. Respira, sonríe y ¡empieza a ser tú, eres un milagro!! OM SHANTI

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Start being you

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Often times I write from certain place of authority. I study what I am going to tell you, try to look for a theme with a therapeutic relevance, I read and review the content carefully. Not today. Today I have decided to just sit in front of the screen and allow myself to “be” in the words. The reason is something that happened this afternoon. I was sitting in a café in Palma, waiting for my daughter who was going to be a little late. Life offered me one of those delicious and unexpected moments when you can do nothing else but Being. Nothing to do: no work, no talking, no reading, nothing related to yoga (or anything else). Simply, I could only take a pause… and it is then when one really flourishes.

A teacher-friend with whom I studied years ago used to talk about yoga as the mastery of being yourself. I love this way of seeing it because we spend a good portion of our lives trying to improve in doing things foreign to who we are authentically. Just to start: Who is this “yourself”? Most people don´t have a clue… And then we even create an inner competition out of our yoga. We want to conquer one pose, work up to meditate for one hour long or make our loved ones come to class. We try to be good, eat what the new trend advises, look for a partner who practices yoga… All of this is great when it comes from the deep desires of your soul, but I suspect that the motivation comes only from the outside in most of the cases.

Yoga is being you, right here, in a state of deep relaxation and unconditional love to all that you already are. You can recognize what you have been collecting from others through the years, let it go and allow the answers to come from yourself. You can fall in love with yourself, not in a narcissistic way but in a true humble manner. Fall in love with your body, for all the beauty that it manifests; with your mind, for its capacity to imagine. You can give yourself permission to feel whatever you are feeling, moment to moment. If happiness, let it be happiness; if sadness, let it be sadness. They are emotions, parts of yourself, not the essence of your Being. You can throw in the towel, let yourself flow and see how things are still all right (you will probably feel better). You can surrender to the now and realize your perfection, your fullness, your unique and wonderful ways of experiencing the world.

The same Grace that creates the reflection of the full Moon over the sea, made you. The Universe had its own very valuable reasons to create you. Breathe, smile and start being! You are such a miracle!! OM SHANTI

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Yoga en clave de humor

images¡Practicar jovialidad no es tan fácil como parece! Lo “normal” es estar serios, nos han enseñado a tomarnos la vida desde ese punto de vista. Seguro que alguna vez le has dicho a alguien “te estoy hablando en serio” o “quiero una relación seria” o “esto no es serio”. Personalmente, cuando me paro a observar qué pensamientos estoy teniendo, veo que hay muchos que no son nada alegres. Entonces utilizo las enseñanzas del yoga, que me llevan a soltarme  y a tomarme las cosas más a la ligera.

A veces pensamos que el yoga también es algo serio. Sí que es majestuoso, su misión es revelar tu auténtica naturaleza, pero no tiene nada de sobrio. Todas las tradiciones espirituales coinciden en decir que nuestra esencia es Dicha eterna, así que tiene sentido que la práctica sea algo alegre y divertida, como los geranios o las flores luminosas de la buganvilla en verano, ¿no crees?

Cuando te ríes te haces más grande, se disuelven las preocupaciones y el corazón se te abre. Los yogis nos hablan de la Rasa Hasya, que significa Jovialidad y Humor divinos. Es un deseo de reír sin razón aparente y, a veces, hasta de saltar y celebrar durante horas. El humor en yoga es inocente, no sarcástico ni dirigido a dañar a otros. Por el contrario, Hasya une, creando lazos de amistad y de amor.

Muchos maestros nos han contado chistes y nos han hecho bromas para llevarnos a un estado de conciencia más elevado. Y es que hacer yoga en clave de humor te puede llevar muy lejos:

  •  el humor nos hace traspasar las diferencias. Cuando dos personas se ríen juntas se crea una conexión muy hermosa. Hace desaparecer la dualidad entre el tú y el yo o entre bueno y malo. En el estado de hasya podemos experimentar la unión cósmica entre todos nosotros.
  •  es como un cachete al ego. Cuando vayas a clases de yoga intenta reírte un poco de ti mismo, especialmente cuando no puedas hacer algo, o cuando te vengan deseos de compararte con otros. Tomarte con sentido del humor relajará tu cuerpo y tu mente y te llevará a hacer las asanas mucho mejor.
  • la risa es la mejor medicina. Tiene efectos muy positivos en la salud: entre otras cosas, eleva el sistema inmune, te llena de energía y te protege de los efectos negativos del estrés.

Yo nunca me he visto como una persona bromista o que supiera contar chistes, pero sí me gusta reírme de mí misma y de las situaciones en las que me veo cada día. Me hace sentir ligera, liviana y eterna.

Reíd con toda el alma esta semana. ¡Gracias por leerme!!!

OM SHANTI

A humorous touch in your yoga

imagesThe practice of Joy is not as easy as it might seem! The “normal” stuff is to be serious. We have been taught to look at life from that perspective. I am sure that you have said things like ” I am serious about this” or “I am looking for a serious relationship” or “this is not serious business”. Personally, it is a challenge for me sometimes. When I pause and look at my thoughts I see that many of them are not happy at all. Thank goodness there is yoga! It helps me to loosen up and take things lightly. :)

Often we think about yoga as something serious as well. Yes, it is magnificent -it´s mission is to reveal your authentic nature- but not solemn at all. If all spiritual traditions agree that our essence is Joy and eternal Bliss, then it makes sense that the practice is also happy, like geraniums or buganvillia flowers singing to the Summer light. Don´t you think? 

When you laugh, you get bigger, worries dissolve and the heart opens up. Yogis teach about Hasya Rasa, which means  divine Joy and Humor. It is the desire to laugh for no apparent reason, or even jumping and celebrating for hours. Yoga´s humor is innocent, not sarcastic or directed to hurt others. On the contrary, Hasya unites, creating bonds of friendship and love.

 Many masters have told us jokes in order to bring us to a higher state of awareness. Yoga with a humorous flair can take you very far into your spiritual practice.

  • Humor takes us beyond the differences. When two people laugh together the most beautiful bonds are created. It dissolves the duality between “you” and “I” or between good and bad. In Hasya we can experience the state of cosmic unity shared by all of us.
  • It is a gentle slap in the ego. When you go to yoga class try to laugh at your self a little, especially when you can not do something or when you compare yourself to others. Looking at yourself with a sense of humor will relax your body and mind, plus, you will perform your asanas much better.
  • Laughter is the best medicine. It has very positive effects in your health: strengthens the immune system, gives you a boost of energy and protects you from the negative effects of stress.

I have never seen myself as a funny girl but I like to laugh happily at myself. it makes me feel light, luminous and eternal.

Laugh from the bottom of your soul this week. Thanks for reading!!!

OM SHANTI

Ayurtips for happy trips

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It is hot, vacation time is almost here and it is time to plan some kind of trip. Flights, long rides in the car (or any other vehicle that moves fast); AC or changes in your schedule can unbalance the elements air and space in the body. These unbalances manifest as the sensation of “being ungrounded”, insomnia, gas or occasional constipation. All these are minor things but can make us feel quite uncomfortable. So, if you have ever put on your favorite dress for a holiday dinner and realized that your tummy was big as a balloon or if you have ever had one of those sleepless nights and your kids in the morning where ready to go on a super trekking adventure, this post is for you.

Ayurveda´s tips are simple and easy to carry with you!

1. Morning ritual. Try to keep your morning ritual through your holidays. Here is a post that I wrote about it, I am sure you will love it. You will be able to maintain the regular rhythms in your digestion.

2. Self massage. Before your morning shower, give yourself a massage with sesame or almond oil. Start in the head and finish in your feet. The oil should be a little warm. Use all the surface in your hand, making circular movements over the joints and long strokes over the long parts of your body. When you reach the abdomen make sure that you do it in the same direction as the colon. After you are done, take a shower. This massage enhances the downward movement of the elimination process. It will also make you feel great and your skin will be glowing.

3. Gentle and natural laxatives. There are many natural laxatives available. I like to recommend Triphala, traditional in Ayurveda, or teas made of cumin, fennel or aniseeds. All are gentle and safe. Take them at night, starting one day before your trip.

4. Yoga postures. Practice Sun Salutations, gentle twists and inversions like Viparita Karani (posture with the legs up). Breathe deeply and move more slowly, being part of the Earth.

5. Pacifying diet. Although it is hot, try to avoid food eaten right out of the fridge, water or ice cold drinks, say no to dried foods like chips, saltines of roasted nuts. Favor fruit in season and veggies preferably boiled; eat salads seasoned with a little bit of oil and a few drops of lemon; add a few spoonfuls of rice or toasted cumin seeds to your raw veggies. You can also take fresh ginger tea all day long.

Hmmm, What else?… yes, have fun and celebrate with gratitude!

Practice these ayurtips and, please, leave a comment. I will love to hear how they work for you.

Supper happy traveling this Summer!

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