tantra yoga blog

Exploration & Discovery

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Do you consider yourself an explorer?  Are you curious about life and it’s details?  Are you compelled to seek an understanding of the big picture?  Are you turned on by the mystery? Then you may be an explorer, just like me.  Over time I’ve learned that exploring is a path of seeking without searching. That to truly explore, we must be lead by curiosity and not goals. When we explore, we know that our destinations are places to begin, not end.  Exploration requires us to let go of the plans and expected outcomes, which can be scary and disorienting. As explorers, we are called to experience what IS rather than change what isn’t to meet our expectations of safety and control. This is a place of unknowns, of questions without answers, of absence of security. And it takes a lot of courage.

Most of us are too uncomfortable with the unknowns to enjoy the exploration.  The irony of this being that nothing is truly known, and change is inevitable.  We invest all of our time and energy into creating stable, rigid outcomes, yet the nature of the universe is change, ask Steve Jobs.  You achieve the success, you have the wealth and security you desire, then bam! the game is over. No time left to enjoy the spoils of your victory. Our whole lives are built around the false edifice of accomplishment.  We truly believe that once we have enough ____________ (time, money, love, support, energy, you fill in the blank), then everything will be perfect. We work so hard to get to this place of enoughness that we forget to live the life we are creating.  We invest all of our energy in outcomes, and we forget that the point is to live our moments fully. We forget that WE are the point, not what we can do or achieve.

Because of our discomfort with the unknown, we build boxes of protection around ourselves. We construct walls of routines of security, stability, and protection. We seek to make our lives manageable, often sacrificing the JOY of living in the process. Our boxes become so small, tight and controlled that they limit our life expression.  We don’t have wiggle room, we can’t stretch ourselves beyond the container we’ve created, then rather than changing the box, we work to wrestle the vast possibilities of life into our little cage of existence. We learn to live with the discomfort of our limitations, and choose to focus all of our energy on maintaining and strengthening the walls we build around ourselves.  The irony is that the energy you try to fit, stuff, contain inside the box of safety is by its very nature unlimited and expansive. Rather than expand ourselves to hold it, we try to condense it into pieces that over time become dull or volatile, and then...things fall apart. Because you see, the divine's play is to liberate us...to burn our boxes of safety to the ground. THE DIVINE PLAN IS TO SET US FREE!

So, you wanna get on board? Do you want to align with the divine rather than work against it? It’s easy.  Explore your LIFE! What do you want to explore? How can you allow the unknowns to be the destination? Energy is constantly moving, flowing, creating, and permeating all things we do.  We can try to contain it, reduce it, control it from a place of fear and resistance, OR we can work with energy to shape our path, to propel us in the direction of alignment and ease. This is the practice of TANTRA!

When we reframe our understanding of our lives, we create the space for new possibilities and we heal old resistances. When we develop an acute awareness of how we feel and work to create a relationship with that feeling we understand more about ourselves. The intensity of our emotions, yearnings, and fears is the call of our Self. Can you hear it?  Our work is to commune with energy for the greatest outcome.

So what do you desire right now?  What does your heart whisper only to you that no one else can hear?  Are you feeling the nudge of something bigger in your life, something more innately YOU?  If you are reading this, maybe it’s time for you to step into a deeper level of discovery.  Maybe it’s time to get to know yourself better, to commit to your practice in a new way, to refine your offerings as a teacher.  If you are ready to stretch beyond your self created limitations, then we invite you to join us at any of our upcoming trainings. Learn more here. 

Asana Is An Invitation To Arrive on

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There is nothing comfortable about life. Pain and suffering follow us around wherever we go. Even when we get everything we want, there is somehow an underlying hunger for something more, something easier or better. This is the nature of desire, and it keeps us just uncomfortable enough to continue moving forward.

The desire to grow, discover, travel, and transform - this is what fuels our life. This is what allows us to connect with each other and to expand beyond our own limitations. But when we are constantly in pursuit, climbing, searching, and longing to be or do something different, then we are depriving ourselves of our true nature.

When we live on-the-go all day, every day, we are essentially sending signals to the brain and body that we are unsatisfied, which only creates more tension and turbulence. Despite growing rates of hypertension, stress-related disease, and mental illness, this is not the truth of human existence. It is only a distraction from the undisturbed nature that resides within.

The physical postures in Yoga are called Asanas. They are an opportunity and active invitation to arrive within our true, pure nature.

Asana is a Sanskrit word that is often translated as “comfortable seat.” But remember - there is nothing really comfortable about life, and nothing particularly comfortable about sitting. A more truthful and comprehensive translation of Asana is “a physical seat that cultivates steadiness and ease.”

When we practice Asana, we put our bodies into physical positions that build friction. The goal is to bring our awareness to the parts of our experience that are uncomfortable - be it feelings of lack, overwhelm, or indifference. In this practice, we become more familiar with our own causes of resistance and actions that bring relief. But ultimately, none of this can happen if we are not willing to show up and to be present with whatever arises.

In every single Yoga class that I teach, I begin by asking my students to arrive. To arrive in the space, in their body, and in their seat. This might sound like a simple request, but arriving is perhaps the most elusive and fleeting sensation.

Can you recall the last time you arrived home after traveling? Do you remember that feeling of a long exhale, the feeling of spaciousness and satisfaction in your body and mind? How long did you let that feeling last - before you began unpacking your bags, cleaning the kitchen, checking email, and preparing for the next day of work or school? Many of us are so well versed in the habits of busy-ness and productivity that when we do experience the feeling of arrival, its only momentary.

But when we fully, wholeheartedly arrive, we take one step closer towards becoming more of who we want to be.

Arriving is an act of acceptance. When we allow ourselves to exist exactly where we are - when we show up and stay present - we accept authority over our own experience. And when we claim ownership of our own lives, we are no longer ruled by avoidance, denial, and attachment. Instead, we have the power to slow down each moment, to soak up the sweetness of this life, and to burn away the impurities that mask our true nature.

Asana keeps me real. It keeps me grounded. Practicing Asana invites me to see my desires more clearly, understand my own motivations, and embrace the current path that I am on. And somehow, learning how to arrive is the only way I know how to keep moving forward.

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To learn more about Maria click here to check out her website! 

You Are Your Dharma

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Who am I?  Why am I here?  What’s the point?  The three timeless questions that Yoga seeks to answer.  When you understand the concept of Dharma, these answers no longer seem elusive or etheric, but are concrete and quite simple. The concept of Dharma teaches that alignment with universal principles in a way that is unique to the individual’s expression is essential to harmony.  Though the term is often translated as “rule, law, or requirement,” it is actually much more diverse and expansive than this. The root of the word Dharma is “dhr” which means “to hold, maintain, or keep.” The idea is that it is our individual Dharma (known as Sva Dharma) that allows us to maintain our relationship with Universal Principles, (known as Sanatana Dharma). The more we are aware of our individual relationship with universal principles, the more we are motivated to maintain or keep this relationship fruitful.

In yoga, we often refer to Dharma as Purpose, but that is a bit of an oversimplification of the idea. Imagine a blueprint for a home.  The entire house is sketched out as measurements, scale, design and function; that is the Universal Dharma. Now, overlay onto that the unique and beautiful expressions of each room, and that’s individual Dharma. Each room within the house is essential and foundational to the home as a whole, and the expression of each room with all its textiles, furniture, unique color schemes, fabrics, and even little quirks, that’s how you express your Dharma. Each individual has a unique contribution to make to the universal whole, and according to Dharma, our unique contribution is essential to the form, function, and beauty of the whole, no room could ever be non essential in the house of Dharma.

So,  who are you? You are an essential individual part of the whole.  Why are you here? To express your individual nature and fulfill your purpose as the room of you in the universal house. What’s the point? YOU ARE.  Your dharma is not your profession, your family, your success or failure, though all of these things are the ways through which your dharma is expressed in the world.  You are YOU, and though many of us try very hard to deny the truth of who we are, we can never escape the burning whisper of truth murmuring deep inside us. The lila or divine play of the universe is the ease or effort with which we align with our Dharma.  The Bhagavad Gita teaches that it’s better to do your own dharma poorly than it is to do another’s perfectly.  The effort of aligning with our dharma comes from the denial of our own truth. We may be a master pretender, but as long as we deny that rumbling truth inside, life will never provide us with the freedom that we seek.

The teaching of Dharma is simple.  You do you. Seek to live as yourself as fully and completely as possible.  In your marriage, in your profession, in your friendships, in your successes, and in your failures, honor the unique ways that your truth resonates in it all.  In doing so, you will find greater ease in honoring the truth of others, and this my friends, is the perfect recipe for harmony in our communities, corporations, and even governments.  Because, you see, we need all of the rooms, all of the varied and unique expressions, aesthetics, and even the messes. The whole isn’t whole if anything is excluded. YOU are crucial, indispensable, and beautiful. You are necessary.  So what is YOUR dharma? Only you can know the secret whispers of your deepest yearnings.  Only you can know the contributions you make, the actions you take to support the whole, to maintain the relationship with that which is bigger than you.  No one can tell you what your dharma is, though they may try. YOU are the only one who can know that truth. If you are seeking to know yourself more sincerely and do you more than the time is NOW. Vira Bhava Yoga Teacher Trainings offer the time, community, and support for you to value yourself, to dive deeply into your curiosities, and to  to further your embodiment and cultivate a discerning ear join us for a 200, 300, or 500 hour training in a town near you.