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Emma's Articles

Healing The Feminine

By Emma Salvado.

In India there are more saints per capita, than anywhere else in the world.

1000’s of them were Female Saints, but there was never a lot of information documented about them. During the Vedic period women were culturally held in very high esteem, and enjoyed the same equal rights and opportunities as the men of that time.

They had the opportunity to study the Vedas and were given training in archery, yoga, music, and drama.

Gradually however over time as India became suffocated by battles against foreign invaders woman’s positions became less esteemed and her freedoms were minimised, women lost the privileges they enjoyed in the Vedic times, and began to lag behind in education due to their family responsibilities, and because of the controversial caste system in India many of these women remained with their families, and so women began practicing yoga in their homes, away from prying eyes.  

These women would arise in the mornings before their families wakened, sit at their altars worshiping and praying in their homes… and uncaring for fame and notoriety, not even the people in the next village are unaware of who they are…

The Caste system in the Indian culture meant that many women were betrothed to their future husbands at an early age, because love was not necessary for a successful Indian marriage. Girls had no part in the decision of who they would marry. This was, and still is, in many respects the choice of a girl’s father.

Bad marriages frequently spurned Indian women to immerse themselves in spiritual life, as a way to alleviate the shortcomings of the rest of their lives.

Mira Bai the devotee of Krishna and Mahadevi the devotee of Shiva, were two such Yogini’s who even though they were married,  immersed themselves in devotion to their Guru, and were then seen as being mad, as a way of discrediting them and their devotion.

Tantra was a tradition of Spiritual practice that flourished across India because of its inclusivity. Gender and caste were not a conversation when it came to Tantra. The desire to want to experience divine presence in your heart, through self discipline, motivation and sincerity was all that was required.

This is why many women Sages were Tantrica’s.

This is also mirrored in Hinduism, as it is practiced morning and evening in indian households, primarily by the women of the home at their personal family altar. They are the backbone of Hindu Religious Life, and pass most of hinduism’s highest principles to their children. This is the way things have been for thousands of years.

Women are the backbone of religious life in India and they pass on the principles of worship to their children.

Deities are commonplace on the walls and altars, and Indian children grow up hearing the mystical stories of love, war and life lessons based on these avatars.

How different if the population of the west grew up not with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty or Ultra unhealthy Models or Tv Personalities as role models, but pictured themselves as these divine beings, who could move at will through the corridors of the universe.

It’s no accident that in India the deity who governs education, the arts and knowledge is Saraswati, the deity who governs strength and protection is Durga, the deity who rules wealth and commerce is Lakshmi – They are all Goddesses.

The Goddess is adorned in these households reminding the devotees of the spiritual dimensions of life and the compassionate motherhood of God.

Women in India are free to worship the Goddess freely and even imitate them.

This has also trickled down though Yoga’s lineages, one after another the male heads have been passing their spiritual mantles to women.

Some examples of this have been:

  • Ramakrishna (Devotee of Kali) who passed his spiritual authority to Sarada Devi, his wife.
  • Paramahansa Yogananda – One of the keepers of the Kriya Yoga lineage to American Born (Daya Mata)
  • Swami Sivananda  passed the teachings of Sivananda Yoga to Shivananda Radha Saraswati  (German born Sylvia Hellman)

In the 1900’s the tantric adept UPASANI BABA taught that women are capable of “ Faster Evolution than Men”,  and that all male devotees needed to cultivate “Feminine qualities such as Egolessness and Purity, in order to progress.

I am so grateful that in this century Women have taken even greater strides to empower themselves spiritually,  even though they have had to face tremendous obstacles to fulfill their spiritual desires.

When Tantra describes the Goddess, it is not talking about a multi armed deity in a Sari. The goddess is Reality… she is what we mortals call existence.

Whatever is at the root of you and me… That is She…

Through these women saints we can see the incarnate of the divine, because they unselfconsciously evoke her in us!!!!!

Honour the embodiment of what they represent in you…

BOTH ON AND OFF THE MAT

Love Emma x

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Octavio's Articles

The Howler

By Octavio Salvado.

Several hundred years ago, when the West was first being exposed to the philosophies of the East, many of the key concepts were simplified, or miscommunicated. Orientalists at the time, in doing their research on advanced topics, unskillfully questioned the common folk instead of adepts better suited to answer questions dealing with the intricacies of the subtle world.

Imagine asking a rice farmer about molecular biology. Undoubtedly their response would be lacking in both accuracy and depth. The same thing happened with Tantric philosophy. Complex questions were asked, yet very basic answers were given. We can clearly see this demonstrated with the concept of Rudra, the Howler.

The Layman’s understanding is that this primal version of Lord Shiva is so fierce and violent that he causes us to howl in fear and cry out in terror. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Rudra is howling out of deep compassion and love for humanity, seeing our deep pain and anguish, having separated ourselves from Him.

So then who, or what is Rudra?

Rudra is that primal force that breathes life into everything, causing life to thrive. The word Rudra is a composite of two root-sounds. RUD means ‘that which lifts us up’ and DRA translates to ‘that which calls forth’. Rudra is about calling forth the power within us that lifts us up out of darkness, out of fear and worry. Rudra is determination and will, the inner motivating force that protects us from sloth, laziness, procrastination and inertia – the inner drive within all beings to fight in favor of life!

On the grandest level, Rudra is the energy that ensures that all of life, nature and the cosmic order continue to exist in symbiotic harmony. Biologically within us, Rudra is the governing force behind our breath, our heartbeat, our lungs, the metabolism within the cells, the fire that breaks down and assimilates the food we eat. Rudra is that which fills us with energy and vibrancy.

In short, Rudra is Kundalini Shakti Herself. Forget about gender here, folks. Personified expressions of Deities are nice, but from Tantra’s lofty perspective, they are for knuckleheads who lack the subtle sensitivity required to register pure, vibratory truth. The reality of God is beyond all divisions and all form. Rudra is both our heavenly Mother and Father, existing eternally inside of us and all around us, as the spark of life within all things – the sacred Fire at the source of all creation.

The connection between Kundalini, Rudra, the sacred Fire and our own human excellence is the central most theme, or pillar of Tantra.

It is therefore a great calamity that the concept of Kundalini, along with its complimentary fire-based practices, have been so widely misunderstood, or ignored by modern Yoga.

Today, Kundalini is considered, for the most part, a myth, or at the very least, an inaccessible aspect of the Yoga tradition, particularly for regular, daily practitioners like us. It isn’t. Nothing could be further from the truth. Kundalini is VERY accessible under the right circumstances and EXACTLY for people like us.

Here’s why –

Our gross and subtle bodies are designed specifically to be conduits of activated Kundalini energy. Why do you think you came equipped into this life with a more advanced nervous system and Nadi system than all other creatures in God’s grand and vast creation? Did nature make a mistake?    

Nature does not make mistakes. We are living shrines to Rudra, the life-force power that guides and governs all creation and as humans, our primary directive in life, is to yoke ourselves so completely to this sacred Fire, to Rudra, to Kundalini Shakti that we illuminate every space we enter and positively activate everything we touch. Therefore, the practices that connect us to Kundalini Shakti were designed precisely for people like us.

Tantra says that the very reason there is so much darkness, forgetfulness, anger and corruption in the world today, is because we have renounced the idea that each person is a living Kundalini shrine.

As a result of this, we no longer live in ways that are aligned to Kundalini’s power and glory – which is OUR true power and glory – and we continue, against our own best interest, to neglect the practices designed to remedy the situation.

It’s time to end this madness, born of inner spiritual poverty and absolute confusion about who we are. It’s time for humanity to reclaim its rightful throne as sovereign protectors, healers and guides for all of life’s creatures and to embrace the hidden power buried deep within us. And this all starts with practice.

Tantra invites us to ignite the sacred Fire through the time-tested, complimentary sciences of Hatha Yoga and Rudra Yaga (Tantric Fire ritual). These methods, when performed accurately and with the right intention, are how we slowly, safely and systematically empower ourselves to move beyond all fear, doubt and disease and regain the fundamental trust in ourselves and in life necessary to lead a truly exceptional inner and outer existence. Everything else, in regard to practice, is a distraction.

Any practice that doesn’t address Kundalini, simply isn’t real Yoga. It is a fake, plastic log-fire pretending to burn, giving off artificial light and only pseudo-comfort. Do not believe the lie that you are not worthy of Kundalini, or are unable to reach Her. She is your Mother. He is your Father. It is the source of your own true being, calling out to you – Howling.

Yogi, Yogini, I’m talking to you right now. Renounce the modern Yoga lie that Kundalini is a far off dream, only fit for Sages in caves. This idea is nonsense and it is destroying Yoga. It is destroying us, one fear, one doubt, one unhelpful reaction at a time.

Practice is about one thing and one thing only – providing practitioners with the precise tools and means required to become a living embodiment of the sacred Fire, the force of Rudra – the most vibrant, energetic, determined and valiant expression of Kundalini Shakti. So strike the match, Yogi. Stoke the flames, Yogini. Offer up for sacrifice everything that is holding you back from stepping into your power and then do what you were designed to do.

Ignite the whole fucking world with your brilliance.

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Ellen's Articles

The Hanumān Chālīsa

By Ellen Arthur.

A Hindu devotional mantra that goes about addressing the great Lord Hanuman in fine detail, symbolising strength and devotion. It is believed to have been created around the 15th Century by an India poet and philosopher Goswami Tulsidas.

Chālīs translates from the Hindi language to the number 40, hence the name, as this mantra has 40 verses in total, not including the couplets at the beginning and end. The 40 verses of appraisals to hanuman are said to be the link between God and the masses. Allowing us mere mortals to have an experience of the divine through this mantra.

Who was Tulsidas?

An esteemed poet, preacher, writer and philosopher, who encouraged many to seek refuge in God, through devotion. Having wrote over 12 books, he wrote these books under the direction of Hanuman.

Regarded as an incarnation of Valmiki, the author of the epic Hindu tale the Ramayana. Tulsidas founded the Sankat Mochan (reliever of troubles) Temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman in Varanasi.

A young Tulsidas was said to have been running with bad company, drinking, gambling, moving in low moral crowds, when his father insisted that he turn his attention toward God. Being born to a noble family Tulsidas had the opportunity in his lifetime to become an enlighten being. Advised not to waste his precious life in sexual pleasure, but to repeat the name of Ram and attain liberation. After some time of dedicated practice and service, his name was spoken throughout the streets as a great master. A nearby emperor demanded that Tulsidas perform a miracle for him. Tulisdas replied “I am merely a servant of Rama, he is the worker of miracles, not I”. The emperor was angry and threw him in jail for not obeying him.

Tulsidas coined the 40 verses of the Hanuman Chalisa from the emperors prison, 40 verses for each day that he was confined.

The mantra became a prayer to Hanuman, to save him from the predicament he was in. At the end of the 40 days an army of monkeys appeared at the prison and caused much chaos and turbulence. They clawed at people, tore clothes, entered homes, destroyed gardens and buildings. The emperor finally realised this must be the work of the man he imprisoned. Falling at his feet the emperor begged for forgiveness and eventually Tulsidas was released. Tulsidas set about preaching the power and strength of these verses far and wide.

Who is Hanuman?

Hanuman is a Hindu monkey God, with a human body and a monkey head, that represents our monkey, distracted, chaotic mind. If we harness the power and intelligence of the mind we are able to use that power for good, rather than exacerbating our fears and doubts.

Hanuman is a devotee of Lord Rama & Goddess Sita, and one of the central characters of the Ramayana. Hanuman is praised for his strength, courage, resilience, wisdom, celibacy and his pure devotion to Rama. All of his qualities are detailed within the Hanumān Chālīsa at great length.

When we chant the Chālīsa, we rid our physical and mental weaknesses, our tendency toward negativity decreases and anything inauspicious in our lives dissolves. We are also asking for the boon (a divine blessing) of grace, so that the discomfort, pain and suffering we endure in our lives be eased, as we hold God in our hearts at all times.

As we wipe the dust from our own hearts, through the guidance of the Guru (the remover), we call upon Rama, who bestows the four fruits (phalam) of life, honesty (Dharma), riches (Artha), delight (Kama) and freedom (Moksha). Triumph to Hanuman, Ram’s greatest devotee, who is the epitome of knowledge, devotion and strength, every difficult task in this world become easy by your grace.

Jai Hanuman Ki Jai.

Words and translation of the Hanumān Chālīsa found here.

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Emma's Articles

Journaling

By Emma Salvado.

Journaling is a canvas for our thoughts and feelings, a canvas for how things fit, for how WE fit, for how we refine Unity.

Journaling is how we stay in conversation with the Universe.

Journaling is how we sketch truth within our heart.

In a deep and lasting way, Journaling is how we practice the art of correspondence within ourselves. Where a diary is a place to track the circumstances of our lives, a journal is a place to unfold the events that lift and drop us through our days, a place to ask all the questions that have no answer, a place to find and gather meaning from all we go through.

The Inherent Sequence of Learning

The threshold of all learning is question and response. It’s the gift of inquiry that draws an inner response from us. This is how we return to promise, this is how we turn into our possibility. By inquiring and inwardly responding, we become authentic.

Real thinking involves question and response, which is at the heart of dialogue. When honest, we enter and engage true questions and stop seeking answers. While the surface world requires answers…. Which foods are safe to eat…? Can I drink the water in Bali …? Etc …The things that give us meaning – Truth , Love, Peace, Paradox .. – are unanswerable. They reveal themselves when we are in relationship with them, not when we answer or try to solve them.

A journal is a private , sacred place where we work out these relationships. The base of all learning is wonder ….. Our chief task as teachers , seekers, students, is to re establish and reaffirm the inherent sequence of learning, to open wonder with a question, and then to respond, to see how things go together, and then unify them.

Any practice, instrument, experience or technique that fosters the sequence of learning is a significant aid in the art of living.

One Common Assumption

One such instrument is the journal. Its use is extremely versatile. Its can serve as a lamp, a mirror, or magnifying glass.

A journal is a personal workspace of inwardness, a soul’s logbook.

These descriptions all share one common assumption – that there is something worth inquiring into, and something worth responding to. It’s the fundamental belief on which all learning is based. We often react to life, before inquiring into it. The importance of self study through a journal, is that is actualizes who we are by exploring our relationship to everything we encounter.

Once committed to the practice of reflection as a conduit between our soul and the universe, a journal can animate our concerns and curiosities, providing a way to weave a tapestry of all the different strands of life …, ( This is living Tantra)

We are always on a journey, and so there are always spaces waiting to be entered and explored. The journey of learning, whether we like it or not, never stops.

We question , then respond.

We correspond, feel and become real.

What sketching is to a painter , Journaling is to an awakened soul.

The Workspace

What then is the nature of this tool, a journal?

It is a daily and personal practice , that is significantly tied to the rest of our lives. Its a travel log, of our souls journey through the world. Just as exercise strengthens our muscles, our practice of question and reflection can enliven us, keeping us open, acute , perceptive, and thorough.

By being faithful to the art of inner dialogue, searching for meaning in events, issues , ideas and feelings we can inhabit the life we are given by engaging the world.

The Manner and Reach of the Journal

A journal seems to work best when its established as a daily or regular practice. I would encourage you to regard it as an intimate place where you can enter time and bear witness to the wonder of your life and all its hardships and wonders. Where you can be honest about how life is happening around you.

It’s a place where you get to tell the truth as only you see if, even when you’re wrong. Write as if no one will see it. Only after you have possibly for meaning from your questions, should you share what you have found…. Do the work yourself first…What’s most important is that you remain honest, without fear of invasion ( others reading it)
Above all, It’s YOUR journal.

I also encourage you to make the space of your journal personal. So it matters what it looks and feels like. It should be chosen with care, something that you have a connection too, something you want to return too. Something welcoming. It doesn’t need to be well organised, or logical, or neat. Let it unfold organically in a way that mirrors the questions moving through your heart and mind. It could be full of sketches or scribbles….. (I write upside down and back to front sometimes)

Generally is most effectively entered in three ways :

  • It can be written in by responding to the impact of your experiences
  • Responding to the things you read ( when I’m moved by a poem or text from a book)
  • By inquiring into a journal question ( I am always on the lookout for questions that stir me, or others….. The kind of questions that have no immediate answers.

Ultimately these questions are carried by us like lanterns, that we swing in the dark to help us find our way.

The Life of Oneness

After initially beginning to journal, we can sometimes get frightened at times , because of the depth of life that opens up for us. In a world where we have grown accustomed to separating what matters from what needs to be done, your journal might seem a little disorientating.
It brings us back to our innate yearning for unity, for a life of oneness, for what we have in common, rather than what separates us.

We return to the art of correspondence, to see how things go together, so see how we fit into our life. Be ready to be opened as you enter a life of new depths. Because you may start to see your life differently, you might start to see all of life differently. You may have to allow other views in that you once thought didn’t belong.

We cannot make anyone learn but ourselves…… so work in your journal , by living closely to the heart of your experience. Feel it within yourself. Do not try to run or escape from the feelings or sensations that might arise from the work. Acknowledge them , and journal through them.

Discover what your thoughts and feelings point to, rather than summarizing what you already know.

Remember your journal is an experiment in authenticity. There is no right or wrong way.

Trust whatever comes.

The Magic you’re looking for, is in the work you’re avoiding.

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Uncategorized

Fall in love with taking care of yourself = Yoga

By Amy Effendy.

I now choose to rise above my personality problems to recognize the magnificence of my being. I am totally willing to learn to love myself.” – Louise L. Ha

For many of us, the concept of self-love might conjure images of self-obsession, perfection, or even with the label of narcissism. According to study, self-love and compassion are key for mental health and well-being, keeping depression and anxiety out of the windows.
There are huge different between self -love and self-obsessions. It is important to understand the difference between these two. Self-love means acceptance, kindness, encouragement, and care.
When you love yourself, you show kind behaviour to your soul and encourage it. Self-obsession, on the other hand, compels you to compare yourself to other people.

We lived in an incredibly fast-paced world, that is constantly on the move – between jobs, relationship, family, friends and everything in between to be who we are, to accept who we are seems required a big amount of work. With high level stress on demands and expectations, looks, appearances, professional achievements, social elevations that constantly urge you to compete to the need of perfection on everything you do.
Most of the time, when we’re being too hard on ourselves, we do it because we’re driven by a desire to excel and do everything right, all the time. This entails a lot of self-criticism, and that persecutory inner voice that constantly tells us how we could’ve done things better is a hallmark of perfectionism.

“Why is self-love important?” you may ask…

For many of us, self-love might sound like a luxury rather than a necessity, too much investment on your time, money and energy — or a new-age fad for those with too much time on their hands.
Ironically, however, self-care and -compassion might actually be needed most by those of us who work too hard and who are constantly striving to surpass ourselves and grasp the shape-shifting phantasm of perfection.
Studies have shown that perfectionists are at a higher risk of several illnesses, both physical and mental, and that self-compassion might free us from its grip. Therefore, perfectionism and self-compassion are inextricably linked.
We think that by giving our absolute ALL to others was the right thing to do – and in believing this we miss a vital piece of the puzzle. The truth I’ve learned is “in order to be able to serve others we first need to serve ourselves and to look inward and practice loving our own unique spirit”. Going through this stages help me got the conviction that doing so will help me to lead a happier, more fulfilled life.
Self-compassion and self-love are largely used interchangeably in specialized literature. Research shows that having more self-compassion builds resilience in the face of adversity, helping people to recover more quickly from trauma or romantic separation. It also helps us to better cope with failure or embarrassment.

According to the researchers, “Self-kindness entails being warm and understanding toward ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate, rather than flagellating ourselves with self-criticism”. Mindfully trained self-compassion

‘Be kind to yourself in the midst of suffering and it will change.’ Mindfulness says, ‘Open to suffering with spacious awareness and it will change.’”

NOW the question is how to start….

Invest yourself to SELF STUDY, the yogis called this as Swadhyaya….it can be spending time with your holy beings, reading spiritual text, practicing mantra japa, mindful yoga, affectionate breathing, and meditation practice that will cast a light on the mind and reveal its shadows.

Mindfulness exercises that one can do to develop self-compassion are various.
For me studying and practicing Tantra Hatha Yoga have change my life immensely. Moving from Corporate World to being a wife and mother of three beautiful princess, and a Yoga Teacher….

Yoga with no doubt strengthen my personality, to know myself in a deeper and intimate levels, radiate my luminous capacity to love, to heal myself so that I can love and heal others.

Yoga is about cultivating self-knowledge. “It’s a system and methodology to awaken clear perception and the light of both self-knowledge and knowledge about the world we live in”. Yoga allow us conjure an image of a mirror with which we can look inside ourselves.

And in fact all the great texts introduce us to ways of seeing that create opportunities for us to recognize ourselves better, allow us to remember who we are, figuring out (and owning) who we are not. It evolves self-inquiry and inner contemplation. When you do your yoga practice mindfully (this include meditation, because yoga is meditation) you are able to listening to yourself.

It can mean two things :
Firstly, paying attention to how you internally talk to yourself is crucial for learning to cultivate an intimate feeling of self-love.

“What type of language do you use with yourself when you notice a flaw or make a mistake? Do you insult yourself or do you take a more kind and understanding tone? If you are highly self-critical, how does that make you feel inside?”

We are much harsher to ourselves than we would be to others, or than how we would expect others to treat us. So, to replace this harsh inner voice with a kinder one, you can simply notice it — which is already a step toward quietly subduing it — and actively try to soften it.

Finally, you can try to rephrase the observations that you may have initially formulated quite harshly in the words of a kinder, more forgiving person.

With love always,
Ami Effendy