The magical world of Tantric yoga

Trip Start Apr 01, 2008
Trip End Jul 15, 2012

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Where I stayed
Shiva cottage

Flag of India  , Uttarakhand,
Sunday, October 26, 2008

Our mad dash from Northern Pakistan into India to meet my sister Bob (Ella), involved a day in Islamabad to collect our passports with the new Indian visas installed, a night in Lahore, an evening watching the flag lowering ceremony at the border - which has become a huge attraction for excitable Indians on one side and Pakistanis on the other as the soldiers do their absolute best to outdo each other with a bizarre show of pomp and preposterousness - before we jumped on a night train to Haridwar and then caught a bus to Rishikesh, arriving as planned, the day before our month long yoga course started, having travelled over a thousand kilometers in record time.   

We called Bob to see where she was, thinking she might have found somewhere nice for us all to stay, but clearly my memory of her had grown fuzzy with time (it had been almost a year).  Needless to say Bob was asleep when I Delhi, where she had been applying for a dodgy, three year visa for Thailand on account of being a high profile helicopter pilot?!?  Of course she was.  It all made sense of course, we had simply entered the magical world of the Bob. 

So that brings us to our yoga course.  An intensive introduction to Tantric yoga, 7 hours a day, 6 days a week, for a month.  We knew nothing about it whatsoever other than some distant recollection of Sting mumbling something about being a sexual (all night) lothario due to his tantric skills.  Was this why we joined up?  Are you joking, do you know how much Anna likes her sleep?  And with my injury prone body!  Ha ha, not likely.  No, it was more like a chance to visit Willy Wonkers chocolate factory, but instead of Willy, our host was Bob and instead of a world of gobstoppers and bubblegum we were introduced to a quirky, alternative world of higher bodies, self-healing and potential enlightenment.  Intrigued?  Me too. 

Classes started at 8.30am, with a two hour yoga work out, which was repeated from 4pm until 6pm and then a lecture from 6.30pm until questions ceased, usually around 9ish.  This was often followed with some other activity such as an anahata meditation aimed at energising and activating the heart chakra.  For this we all sat in a big circle amid candles and with anahata invigorating music playing.  We would then project deep love to the person sat in the centre (we took turns).  Needless to say, I was the only person that felt no effects from the activity - even Anna-Rose and Bob reported feeling glowing, warm, tingley, floaty feelings throughout, as if sat inside a cloud.  Clearly I am in need of some heart chakra surgery!

But enough of the meditation, I hear you shout, what about the tantric yoga, spill the beans on this sexually oriented dark art.  The problem is, as our lecturer so beautifully put it, "it is unwise to throw pearls to the swines", not that he is suggesting you are pigs, wallowing in and consuming your own poop (although I can see similarities in a few unnamed people), but that there can be little value gained by either side from being told briefly and no doubt badly about something out of context, from an un-learned person such as myself. 

But you know me, never one to shy away from controversy and always one to share my experiences, so here come the pearls, pork chops.  Be warned, they will not be easily digestible! 

As well as asanas (yoga postures), we have been introduced to the following ideas, suggestions and beliefs... 

Kriya Yoga & other cleansing and purifying techniques for the physical body

Pouring salt water up the nostrils to clean the nasal passage and sinuses.

Rubbing salt onto the teeth to clean the oral cavity.

Scraping the tongue to remove the build up of toxins accumulated while we sleep,

Washing the eyeballs.

Drinking a litre of warm water when we wake up, then jumping up and down a little before sticking our fingers down the throat so as to vomit it all up again, bringing with it any undigested residue from the stomach, thus cleansing it in preparation for a new day.

Drinking around 5 to 8 litres of salty water whilst in close proximity to a loo, which will be required as the salt water is flushed through the system and out of the bottom, taking with it any toxins or general gunk from the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, bowels and blood.

Urine therapy - both drunk and/or applied to skin, hair, scalp to combat baldness (yes I am trying this one nightly and will update all of you who are in recession as and when I have some news).

Following a diet that is specific to our make up, according to Ayurvedic medicine, aimed at balancing the doshas and creating a resilient, immune system, capable of dealing with ALL illnesses.

Become vegetarian if you are not one already, for the countless reasons that most of you probably already know, but don't want to admit, such as avoiding heart disease, clogged arteries, intestinal cancer, to name but a few.  The evidence is overwhelming!

Experiment with a macrobiotic 10 day 'brown rice only' diet to give the body a Yang shock to the system so as to counteract our excessively Yin lifestyles and replenish red blood cells.  I have just tried this and have been told that my normally 'sallow' skin looks refreshed (how rude!).

Fasting regularly.  Ideally one day a week to help the body rejuvenate itself, but longer fasts are also recommended from time to time, particularly when one is ill.

Stop taking all western chemical medicines, unless entirely necessary, in favour of natural alternatives or ideally nothing, due to having balanced doshas and therefore a strong fully functioning immune system.

Other interesting ideas

Stop taking the female contraceptive pill due to the countless harmful effects it has on women.

Use the mooncup and stop using tampons and sanitary pads due to the chemicals that are used on them, which can cause toxic shock syndrome and cervical cancer.

Attempting (as women) through a range of techniques to menstruate less - in the belief that ones deep life force (ojas/chi) is lost with every period - as well as lots of vitamins, nutrients such as iron.

Attempting (as men) not to ejaculate or (as women) to have outward clitoral orgasms - again in the belief that we are losing our ojas every time that we do so.  This is the Sting bit.  I will leave it there for now.

Follow a number of guidelines (yamas and nyamas) within our daily life that aim to purify the mind and soul.

Practice silence.  

So there you have it.  Lots to think about, lots to experiment with and no doubt for many of you, like us to some extent, lots to find very odd and feel slightly weird about.  But given the state of things in the western world (certainly as viewed from here and over the last 7 months), I think a lot of our views and ways need to be shaken up and considered.  I am certainly willing to investigate some of this stuff, albeit with my customary Capricorn scepticism and debateable diligence.
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