Awakening Heart Notes from Shambhavi

notes from the talk with Portland’s own, Shambhavi Sarasvati, who gave a talk to the group during the first part of the Intensive back in April. Shambhavi is the the spiritual director of Jaya Kula, and has written several books on Tantra in the Kashmir Shaivism tradition. When describing Tantra she says she is almost tired of the word, but not the practice… “Tantra is a way to find out who you really are and to live in the fullness of Reality. This is Self-realization. Nothing more or less.”

Awakening Heart Intensive – Bhukti/Mukti Engagement

“Bhukti” means enjoyment or worldly fulfillment. “Mukti” means spiritual liberation. Tantra is the bridge between bhukti and mukti. It is a way of reconciling the apparent opposition of spiritual and worldly fulfillment. The message here is that in the tantric practices it is possible to enjoy a “worldly” existence and discover full spiritual liberation in this life.

Don’t Try Hard; Try Easy

I’m working on softening my yoga practice and it’s not easy. A lot of us guys struggle with muscles that get in the way. Big shoulders, tight hip flexors, football quads. Not only does this make the physical practice of asana challenging, the mental side is not tipped in our favor either. Many of us grew up in an athletic culture that values pushing your self to extremes to maximize physical ability, capture a league title, or make an all-star team. Digging into yoga philosophy over the past seven years has exposed me to very different values.

The 3 A’s of Handstand!

For those who aspire to stick handstand in the middle of the room, this sight can be misleading. In my early years of yoga I would look around and think, “Most of these people don’t look like tremendous athletes. Why can they do it and I can’t?” After several years of consistent practice, my answer is that a successful asana practice can come from following the three A’s of Anusara Yoga.