Sunday, December 6, 2009

Balancing Dualities: Iyengar Erotica

My body and my spiritual temperament have always been watery, mutable, sensual, earthy. I am a flow Goddess with water as my medicine. I wash away sharp edges and lubricate parched places in the soul. The Vinyasa Yoga practice, from the very beginning, came to me quickly and easily. My Piscean, naturally flexible, Kapha energy flowed in its element through the different asanas with ease and grace. Moving like a dolphin, cutting the water, leaping from one dive into another, my body surged through the yoga practice, swimming, twisting, balancing, bending, ebbing and flowing, a natural match. For months and then years, I practiced this practice, my body’s practice, until one day I was on my mat and realized I wasn’t feeling anything. Warrior poses felt no different than pigeon pose, Scorpion no different than Handstand. With all of this watery energy, I had lost the container of my body. My practice had no bones, no container, no foundation, it was just water sloshing about. This watery energy was also washing over into my orgasmic life affecting the overall quality of prana in my body. It was showing up in my orgasms, or lack there-of - unattainable, watered-down, wishy-washy. Getting into the poses didn’t mean anything to me, they were simply shapes my body was copying from memory or a visual reference. I felt nothing from the inside of the pose. I was, quite literally, flopping around in my practice like a fish. Water energy had overtaken my being and I was somehow lost in the element searching for some sort of sensation in my body and finding none.

Frustrated, I spent some time off the mat, began lifting weights, trying to fire up my bogged down energy. And then one day, as fate would have it, on a whim, I stumbled into a yoga studio in midtown and signed up for an Iyengar class. I’d had my beef with Iyengar in the past - pretentious, too masculine, drab practice. I reluctantly rolled out my mat, looking at the stodgy teacher student regalia, this was yoga for nerds class. The teachers were quite asexual with a practicality about the body that speaks more to mathematics than artistry. Like most classes, Iyengar has its own fashion statements and I’m afraid its fallen on hard times, as its probably about as cool as the pocket protector and horn-rimmed glasses of yoga. Students and teachers wear plain crew neck teachers and tight form fitting balloon-leg boxer briefs and I assume at some point in their lives were acquainted with Dungeons and Dragons. Lets just say, the Iyengar outfit will never make the shelf of Lululemon. But all those judgments were soon to be released and a new reality was to take shape in my body that day. The Iyengar practice is thorough, precise, articulate, intelligent, clean. Everything Vinyasa wasn’t. Iyengar teachers move through the body dissecting the anatomy and putting it back together in bite size ways for the body, mind and spirit to integrate. It is a wooden practice, a masculine practice, a disciplined practice that uses intelligence, repetition and discernment. It is also a bondage practice with rope walls, meticulously placed straps, and absurd suspension poses which, coincidently was the exact practice my body needed to rebalance itself. In this fate-guided yoga class that I walked in on, even in the first pose, something shifted in my practice. There was a core energy that became activated in my body. It was Earth and metal and air and fire. Standing in Tadasasna became one of the most orgasmic experiences of my life. I felt the entirety of the inner landscape of my body in a simple opening pose. While my feminine flow Goddess bemoaned this practice from a distance, once she entered in, a rapture unfolded in my body that it had not previously known. The structure and inner architecture of the practice created the container that my flowy, sensuous disposition had been missing. I spontaneously burst into light body orgasms in class, trembling, trying to conceal my ecstatic state. Something about the offerings of these asexual yoga teachers flooded my body with renewed passion and sought after ecstasy. My Yin Flow Goddess in her second wave feminist movement had on a subconscious level rejected the yang, her polarity, as inferior, most likely from the inner state of wounded feminine that all our creative flow Goddesses have suffered from the violence and oppression of the patriarchy. Lucky for me and my flow, we stumbled into just the right practice to balance the inner polarities and dualities of my watery Goddess nature with the architecture and form I had been missing. Dualities heighten our awareness and understanding of the universe both inner and outer. I’ve always been a naturally sensual and orgasmic person. There have also been times where my watery flow and sensual nature have also been thrown out of balance with an over excess of like energy. Here in the Iyengar yoga practice was the balance my body needed. My inner flow Goddess arrived even more powerfully complimented by her counterpart Purusha to Prakrati, masculine to feminine, form to formless, bondage to liberation. In the extremes of our polarities comes balance and liberation.

I began the Iyengar practice about two years ago to compliment my own flow practice and it has been a staple in my life ever since. When I drift away from it, I feel the side-effects not just in my physical body, but also in my creative projects, my relationships, my communication with people, even in my spirit. Things become sloppier, less focused. But when I maintain a balance of my Yin Flow Goddess with the discipline and intelligence of the masculine Iyengar practice, my creativity heightens and my inner Goddess roars forth with even more power and creative orgasmic energy. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for the discipline and commitment it takes to teach an Iyengar practice, undergoing a minimum two year training and then mentoring for years with senior teachers. It is a true practice of discipline and one that assists me in bringing a greater source of integrity and awareness to my creative and my orgasmic life. And let this be known, I have a crush on everyone of my Iyengar teachers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reflections on the Dark Goddess

Reflections on the Dark Goddess

This past Monday, while teaching the first part in a series of sensual yin yoga classes, the Dark Goddess reared her head and moved through my body and my being. She doesn’t come often, but when she does I brace myself and surrender fully to her fury. A perspective student had been calling incessantly all day from a blocked number, for which I have a no-tolerance, no-answer policy. The same person left me lengthy phone messages and followed up with inappropriate emails. I clued in later that this person had been harassing another practitioner several months ago and was asked to not attend workshops because of their stalkerazzi behavior. After incessant repeat calling from a blocked number, I eventually turned off my phone for the last hour up until the yoga class I was teaching that evening.

At 7:30 pm, as usual, I locked the doors to the temple and nestled in with my students for a sensual yin yoga class in the buff. After creating safe space, moving through a disrobing ceremony and into some basic yin yoga poses there was a ring at the doorbell. There is a VERY clear policy on our website and in our welcome letter that states there is no late entry to class. Ring,ring, knock,knock. I slipped to the back of the room unlocked the door poked my head around and told the man on the other side of the door that class was closed and relocked the door. I opened my mouth to instruct the next sequence when I hear, ring,ring. RINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRINGRING. I drop the class down into child’s pose. Grab my clothes from the front of the room, dress, and go to the back. As I unlocked the door, I feel the hair on the back of my neck stand up and rush move through my body that I can only assume would be similar to the first time a person tries heroine. My animal self moves to the surface of my consciousness and I feel the Dark Goddess awaken from the void of my inner universe and activate in every cell of my body. I fling the door open and I can only equate what happened next to the raw instinct a mother lion feels when protecting her cubs and a predator feels when it slaughters its prey. The verbal and energetic attack I unleashed was beyond morality, right or wrong doing, something simply opened up in me and took over. I embodied the curse of the witch, the primal protection of a mother for her cubs, the feeling a predator gets when it tears that first still living piece of flesh from its supper.

The stalker student who disrupted my entire day was annoying, but when it came to jeopardizing my class and my students journey and their safety, students who are trusting me to hold safe space for them in what is already a vulnerable practice, the Dark Goddess rose.

In our lives, most of us only really ever catch glimpses of Dark Goddess energy. Her power and wrath are often misunderstood and subsequently have been repressed and feared for as long as we could give voice to what she was. A common misunderstanding is that she is cruelty or hate. She cannot survive in either cruelty or hate for those stem from unconsciousness and separation. She is a ferocious kind of love what Buddhists call fierce compassion. She is unpredictable, formidable, wild and unforgiving. She lives like nature, without anything as superficial as morality or common niceties. She is the elements in their fury, taking lives, destroying homes leaving her mark without grace or regret. We cannot begin to understand her, only respect and accept her for what she is. Her power is one so ancient that when she activates in our system, even in a conscious way, we often wish her away with the "I don't normally act like that, I don't know what came over me" syndrome talking away our power and animal instincts. But the destiny of the Dark Goddess is that she will always return. She lives in each of us and we catch only glimpses of her in our lives in moments of ruthless honesty, ferocious compassion, adrenaline infused protection and the summoning of the true revolutionary warrior spirit.

I invite you to ask yourself – How does the Dark Goddess show up in your life? What activates her? Have you surrendered to her fully? Is there fear that echoes in your system when her power is activated? Where is your judgment about this energy and where is the freedom in living in the energy consciously?