Printed in Natural Awakenings magazine
From August - 2004 Edition:
As a small child I remember being in a state of wonder and feeling totally fearless. I have a home movie of myself as a baby walking on the beach. Sometimes I watch that scene and try to reconnect with the innocence - noticing how the baby walks toward the ocean, blissfully unaware of any danger that may come along. She feels herself as part of the whole. connected to every grain of sand on that beach, amazed by the power of the sea, and knowing she is the same.
The wind has a purpose and so does she.
Where did all that go? Could I ever get back there?
As a young child I remember seeing in my mind's eye - two lovers completely connected by breath, heart and spirit. This vision was magical and vivid and I could actually feel the energy sweeping them into the cosmos. To me, sex was on a much higher plane than the one in which we exist each day. When I did become sexually active this was not my experience. I was bewildered. He was my boyfriend of two years and loved me dearly. We had a strong heart connection and a deep affection for each other, but when we first made love, I felt him 'go away'. What happened? Where was the beauty and high vibration mysoul had shown me?
I wondered if I was the only one on the planet who had this vision.
Eventually I learned to ignore my inner knowing and in the process, abandoned an aspect of my true Self. I must have been mad to believe that sexual expressoin was sacred and honoring. By this stage in life I had become quite good at disguising who I was in an attempt to conform, believing it would bring me love and acceptance. I abandoned myself in order to excape the abandonment of others. On the surface it looked as though my life was balanced and full with career, friends, activities and the occasional love relationship. Deep inside I felt numb and anxious all at once. A tremendous passion for life had been suffocated and was gasping for breath.
Around the age of thirty I could no longer tolerate the separateness I had created through the years of protecting my heart. I was determined to chisel away the armor, and for the next several years I became a self-study in spiritual and emotional health, including yoga. I had been making progress, but the process was slow until four years ago when I discovered Ipsalu Tantra.
My teacher, Bodhi Avinasha, developed Ipsalu Tantra Kriya Yoga. Bodhi is the founder of Tantrika International and the author of "The Ipsalu Formula - A Method for Tantra Bliss" and co-authored of the Tantric text "Jewel in the Lotus".
"Ipsalu" in sanskrit means transcending desire. The practice is primarily a blend of Babaji's Tantric Kriya yoga and Osho Rajneesh's body - oriented teachings, as well as Tibetan and Taoist techniques. Unlike other forms of yoga, Ipsalu recognizes the need for emotional release and teaches techniques that facilitate the process.
Witness consciousness is emphasized for healing our repressed emotions as they come up, rather than reinforcing the negative belief. The key practice of Ipsalu is Babaji's Cobra Breath, which is a powerful method for transmuting sexual energy and enables one to move to higher states of consciousness at a much faster pace.
When I participated in Bodhi's Level One weekend intensive, I had no experience with this work but my inner guidance kept telling me to go for it. During that workshop I was able to see just how tightly wrapped I was. I broke into a sweat when asked to maintain eye contact with an unfamiliar person and felt myself go rigid and red with embarrassment while rocking my pelvis. I saw clearly for the first time how my throat closed up when I was asked to speak from my heart.
This would be the start of unwinding what years of conditioning had manifested. I began to recognize how negative thought patterns and lack of self-love were more in charge than I had realized. The pieces of the puzzle were finally coming together!
At this time I was an energy healer and massage therapist and considered myself to be quite in tune with my own healing, but for the first time, rather than reading about ways to heal my wounds or focusing on meditation and goodness only, I was actively facing my shadows and the truth about my spiritual condition. I was feeling, tasting and experiencing my darkness and my light, and learning how to love and accept each as sacred.
After the Level One intensive I continued a daily practice and went on to take the Level Two a year later. The great energetic shifts , healing and emotional maturation I experienced were so quick and profound that I vecame very passionate about sharing this work with others, and went into Bodhi's Ipsalu teacher training program the following year.
Out of great love and reverence for this work, I facilitate an Ipsaly class two Friday nights a month in Fort Lauderdale. The classes vary in program content but all follow the five steps of the Ipsalu formula. The two hour class is a safe place to take off the mask and be authentic, dropping judgments and letting the spirit come out to play. It;s definitely like no other yoga class you've taken!
Today, living in Witness Consciousness, separation has dissolved. I am rediscovering my freshness and innocence. Life is a wonder once again! It's beautiful to feel confident, to be able to speak from my heart with clarity and to feel my emotional and physical bodies unwind - leading back to self-love. Being loving and compassionate with myself, a sense of my own unique beauty and value is emerging. This has opened the way for positive and loving relationships with others. I'm experiencing a new dimension of intimacy based on mutual love, respect and acceptance.
My vision of the cosmic lovers is becoming reality. All of this could only be possible through the great leap of spiritual and emotional maturity I've developed since practicing Ipsalu Tantra.
This journey has been a circle of remembering. Leading back to that baby on the beach...
The Baby Tantrika.
From the March - 2007 Edition:
Many people think of sex when they hear the word Tantra. In truth, sex is one aspect of a very powerful and complete spiritual path called Tantra. Yes, we do use our sexual energy to elevate our consciousness. We learn how to pull that energy up into our bodies and higher chakras for rejuvenation and transformation. One can be partnered or single, sexually active or celibate and still be living as a Tantrika.
Most people live their lives in confusion and at the mercy of their sexual desires. When we enter adolescence, everything we have been taught before about relating, love, intimacy and sexuality comes to the surface. And whatever choice we make - to act it out and hurt and abuse ourselves and others, or to act it in and alienate ourselves from ourselves and others...for most of us this is a time of deep turmoil.
Tantra teaches us to undo all these things. To return to the natural inside. To start listening again to our body and senses. To open up to the natural state of sensuality that flows inside us, and to give way to it's expression in whatever feels good and right to us.
I call the healing that takes place though Tantra practice "organic healing" because we heal ourselves at the cellular level. This healing happens when we have learned how to bring in a strong state of Witnessing - to watch ourselves with a detached and non-judgmental interest. As conditioning and judgments drop away, our mind relaxes and in time our consciousness once again becomes the master of our life. We don't force the mind to loosen it's grip, we make friends with our mind. We remember to trust and follow our inner guidance. We aswken to new levels of creativity and love and begin living in our heart.
Tantra is not something you do, it is a way of being. Tantra means to weave together...a Tantric life is feeling our connection to existence on all dimensions with honor and reverence for ourselves and others, the earth and all her creatures. We call this "Living in Namaste". Namaste: The Divine in Me Honors the Divine in You. There is a place where all beauty dwells, and when you are in that place in your heart, and I am in that place in my heart...we are in the same place.
As a Tantra teacher I'm often asked why particular classes and workshops aren't done in the nude.
I say to all of you: It is far easier to drop our clothes than to drop our masks. Sex is only a part of Tantra, we do use our most powerful energy, the energy that creates life, to accelerate our path to higher consciousness and transcend desire. There's no other way to truly transform our sexual nature without accepting and embracing it as natural and sacred. So many humans try to deny their true nature, and as we know, that only creates more separateness and pain.
How can we truly love ourselves if we haven't accepted every bit of who we are? Why be in a body...on this Earth...?
Tantra can be a difficult path, it takes a warrior to surrender. My experience with Tantra practice has been a journey into my heart and I find that I'm delving into extreme self-honesty. It's absolutely liberating! Walking through my taboos, judgments and fears has taken amazing strength and a willingness to surrender. My grip continues to loosen and I find that it's all about trust. I don't feel stuck the way I used to, of course I have many miles to go but I have no more effective and efficient and beautiful way to keep going than my practice. My sadhana doesn't end at my altar each morning...it continues into my day, evening, night and dreams. I cannot deny who I am and I can't stop listening to my heart. Every uncomfortable moment is an opportunity to drop my mind and fall into my heart...to trust, trust in the flow of divinity.
Sex is not my spiritual path. My spiritual path is about unwinding my conditioning and transcending my karma and getting back to my authentic, divine essence. I am a Tantrika.
From September - 2007 Edition:
Tantric Sex ~ by Nayano
There is a continual message being programmed into our beings that being sexy comes from how we look, what we wear and the amount of wealth we have acquired. Our sexuality has been kept at a low vibratory level of the material world. As a result we use sex to sell just about everything in this society. Sex is also used to manipulate and control our lives in other ways. Have you experienced feelings of judgment, guilt and shame around your sexual desires and actions? Have you noticed that couples lose passion for each other after a short time together? This is considered to be a normal phase of relationship. The majority of men and some women, starting in the young teen years; learn about sex through hard or soft pornography, which has led to a lack of sexual maturity and a disconnection between heart and sex. To add to the confusion of the sexual conditioning of our society, nature mandates that men are driven to find the most fertile garden in which to plant their seed and women are driven through their nurturing nature to have children.
Tantra takes all of that away and brings in the possibility of communion with energy:
Masculine sexual energy is like fire ~ it’s quick to ignite and quick to burn out.
Feminine sexual energy is like water ~ it takes longer to get hot and holds the charge much longer.
Tantra brings these two energies together where the man can meet the woman in the longer, drawn out orgasmic energy and extend sexual lovemaking from minutes to hours.
Through Tantra practice we flow back into the naturalness of our sexual essence and authentic Self.
There are differences between what we consider normal sex and Tantric sex:
Tantric lovers create a sacred space or temple for their special time together using altar, candles, fresh flowers, sensual music, incense and ritual bathing. Each partner is fully present, coming together as souls in communion rather than bodies seeking relief. They honor each other as divine beings, seeing beyond the body, mind and personality into the pure essence of truth.
Tantric lovemaking is not goal-oriented and could stop at any time with both lovers feeling complete. There is a shift from pursuing orgasm to being orgasmic. Lovers feel rejuvenated and energized rather than drained as they contain more energy throughout the body, meeting at heart and sex simultaneously.
In Tantric sex you go into a timeless space because the heart is open. Time goes away when you are in your heart and you don’t realize hours have gone by. The heart regulates the 4th chakra and time is the 4th dimension, therefore when you are totally in the heart, you are outside of time. Lovers become lost in the experience as they use their sexual energy to reach higher states of consciousness. In normal sex people don’t want to do that because when one is fully present, emotional residue comes up. Emotions they are unwilling to feel. The moment of orgasm is the only time most people experience being present. It’s too intense to get distracted, but immediately after, they want to escape by going to sleep, eating, smoking, watching TV or distracting chatter.
Tantric sex is energy sex and a state of being. Normal sex is friction sex and a state of doing. In normal sex the body is tightened and the breath is shallow to confine the energy in the genitals while mechanical friction movements are made to achieve orgasm. In Tantric sex we allow the body to remain relaxed and use our breath to bring the energy up to fill the body and contain more and more energy in the body. Energy sex can be felt close up or far away and therefore doesn’t require erection or penetration, although both are fine. By transmuting the sexual energy up into the body, men can ejaculate without losing the life force in the semen. A man can orgasm and ejaculate or orgasm and not ejaculate, and as the energy is transmuted though the body a number of times, he can ejaculate if he wants to and there’s no energy lost, or continue with his partner to full body orgasm.
In Tantric sex there is a minimum of half an hour during each phase of lovemaking:
Love-Play ~ loving touch and honoring of the entire body
Union ~ building and transmuting the energy several times with or without orgasm
Afterglow ~ a very tender and sensitive space ideal for meditation, appreciation, playfulness and loving communication
Learning to be a Tantric Lover doesn’t mean you never have normal sex again, it means you have new options. With reverence and through this energetic process we become more conscious, present and whole, we heal our beings and evolve our spirits. It’s pretty cool to know that we can raise the vibration of humanity with our orgasmic energy, but no wonder…it’s the same energy that creates life itself.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Kundalini Basics"
From December - 2007 Edition:
Kundalini is the most refined and mysterious substance in the universe. Most people live with only a trickle of this substance moving through their spine. Kundalini is life force energy and without it, we wouldn’t be alive. The more of it we have running up our spine, the more alive we feel and the more spiritually awakened we become.
There are three forms of Kundalini:
1. Shakti Kundalini – This is the earthy, orgasmic energy that manifests reality. It is incredibly powerful. Shakti Kundalini is a more dense energy that ascends.
2. Shiva Kundalini – This is consciousness coming down from the heavens (solar). It is a more subtle energy that descends.
3. Balanced Kundalini – This is when we have achieved a balance of Shakti & Shiva energies within our beings, when there is no polarity or duality. It is when we have achieved this balance that Kundalini can rise through the central channel of our spine (Sushumna).
Kundalini Energy lies dormant in the first chakra, Muladhara, located at the base of the spine. It is called serpent power, referring to it’s likeness of a snake coiled 3 ½ times with face turned downward. Kundalini gives power and energy to all the chakras. No Samadhi is possible without it being awakened. It takes a consistent pramayam practice, the control of breath and life force, to awaken the sleeping serpent.
It is best to go through a purification of the lower three chakras in preparation for the powerful Kundalini expansion. These chakras are where we hold the repressed emotions of fear, sadness and anger. It is dangerous to experience the awakening of Kundalini without first having cleared these centers to a large degree. It is also important to have developed a strong Witness consciousness for dealing with the repressed emotions.
Being the Witness is when an aspect of your Self (soul) stands a little to the side and watches with a detached, non-judgmental interest as you are in full experience of what is present. This could be during emotional release processing or in general life circumstances. The stronger the Witness, the more capable we are of handling whatever comes up. It is a matter of understanding our mind and the ways we hang on to negative beliefs and patterns that do not serve us as conscious adults.
Before the big awakening occurs, there is a long period of time when Shakti and Shiva are doing their dance and creating curious sensations in our body and mind. One could experience the sensation of “pins and needles” through the hips and legs. This is what we call “fire and ice”, when Shiva (warm energy) and Shakti (cool energy) are dancing for space.
During this time, more Kundalini is streaming through your spine, bringing in more awareness and creativity into your life. As it travels from chakra to chakra, layer after layer of the mind becomes open and one acquires various Siddhis (psychic powers).
Once you have experienced the Kundalini expansion, it coils back in Muladhara. It is too powerful an energy for us to function on this plane. Kundalini will now be streaming up your spine in a continual flow, rather than a trickle. And in time another phase of opening will happen when you are ready. There can be more than one expansive experience.
My Personal Experience:
It was about four years into my Tantra Kriya Cobra Breath practice that I had my first Kundalini Awakening. I can tell you first hand that it is something you cannot miss. You will know when it happens. Every persons experience will be unique. For me I felt a rush of cool energy surging from my root chakra (muladhara) through my spine and out the top of my head at the crown chakra (sahasrara). It was as if an ocean tide were running through me and every movement and sound my body made was totally involuntary. The energy was more powerful than anything I could control or manage. And yet, with no way to control I had no option but to surrender to this powerful surge. As lifetimes of emotions pushed through my spine, I felt completely cradled in the hands of God. Without going into detail, I will tell you it was the most amazing and unexpected experience of my life. I feel deeply grateful.
Activated Kundalini awakens mankind. Gopi Krishna, the most documented awakened one, describes the four qualities that blossom in an awakened being: 1) Living in Bliss, 2) Absolute Integrity, 3) Manifesting latent Genius, 4) Access to Cosmic Wisdom. Is that worth working toward?
Remember, it takes commitment to the practice to begin the process of Kundalini awakening. Once aware, one can not go back to being unaware.
From February - 2009 Edition
Viva Vajroli! ~ By Nayano
Would you like to experience hours of love-making without the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs? Move over Viagra! There’s a healthier way to rejuvenate your sex life and it’s been around for thousands of years. This exercise is beneficial for both men and women. It’s an ancient Tantric practice called Vajroli Mudra. Vajra is a Tibetan word for the male genitalia and means “Thunderbolt!”
That should give you an idea about the power of this exercise.
The muscles of the pelvic floor are the first ones to atrophy as we age. This is why we see a common set of maladies in the elderly such as: Incontinence, Prolapsed Uterus and Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Add to that the mental and emotional stresses of the modern human and you’ve got a recipe for sexual disaster! Oftentimes the subconscious pressure of feeling “performance anxiety” can be the cause of ED and premature ejaculation in men. Vajroli Mudra prevents and remedies all of the above mentioned maladies in men and women. It also aids in tightening the walls of the yoni (vagina) which enhances love-making for women and their partners. This exercise is beneficial for everyone’s health, at any age - whether sexually active or celibate.
Vajroli Mudra exercises the genitals, particularly the muscles used to stop the flow of urine. Dr. Kegel discovered the power of the PC (pubococcygeus) muscle exercises and they have become a standard tool in America in preparing for childbirth and overcoming sexual dysfunction. Tantric masters have been doing “Kegels” for thousands of years, but much more effectively. The secret to making any process more powerful is to consciously move and control the etheric energy with the breath. Vajroli stimulates the genitals with prana activated blood. Mastery of this exercise allow you to experience longer and more intense orgasm. When you are able to do this for fifteen minutes you can have a fifteen minute orgasm.
Would you like to know how to do it?!
1) Sit in easy pose, palms upon thighs. Close your eyes and relax
2) Move your attention to the sex center: Men – base of penis; Women – below the clitoris.
3) Inhale through the nose as you pull energy up the spine. Swallow and hold the breath at the Third Eye. Pull up and contract the muscle you use to stop the flow of urine along with the lower abdominal muscles.
4) Continue to hold the breath as you relax and contract ten times.
5) On the tenth relaxation, exhale through the nose and experience energy rising from the sex center to the brain or whatever body part needs the energy.
Begin with a few rounds, increasing at your own pace. Here’s to your health – Viva Vajroli!! Namaste.
Nayano (Patti Burdine) is a certified Ipsalu Tantra Kriya Yoga teacher and mentor, LMT and Reiki Master. She facilitates ongoing classes and intensive Tantric workshops. She received the name Antar Nayano (Inner Eye) during a sannyas ceremony while studying at Osho International in Pune, India in 2004. For more information and calendar of events visit her website at: www.tantrikalife.com She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org