Confession time from this asana addict…I am a catholic wannabe from way back!! Born to hippie parents that knew little boundaries or ritual, though a house that valued laughter and tradition. I longed for the structure and reverence and parents that would force me to go to church like my best friends’ parents did. My grandfather would pick up my sister and I some Sundays and take us to church. I looked around at the bodies moving up and down trying to keep up the way I did the first time I entered a yoga class. Are we kneeling or are we standing? Sitting or kneeling? How is my alignment? I tried to follow the prayers that everyone else had memorized, feeling like I would never fit into the “cult-like” group. However confused and judging of myself I became, during this ritual, the whole experience would leave me exhilarated and full. I loved singing out at the top of my lungs to God. I was sure I would grow up to be a nun(haha). My days of wanting to be Catholic have changed a bit since being convinced by my husband to join before we were married, during the one point in my life when I was just not interested.(timing is everything-i was a very bad catholic girl!) I still love our Catholic church we attend once in awhile, with our priest that looks like Santa Claus, the rituals, that I now have memorized, the pew sun salutations, and singing(although I love chanting in sanskrit much more) I think this is why the “Catholic wannabe” in me is so drawn to the study of Tantric Shaivism, the direction my sadhana(daily practice) is leading me to these days. The mantras, the ritual, the breath, Oh my! Some of my friends still think that Tantra is about sex…it certainly makes it a lot more interesting to think about in these terms. After all, most of us remember the first time that we made love…the confusion, amazement, and rapture of it all. Or the first kiss.. wet, weird, and the thoughts of “Am I doing it right,” even though we had practiced on our hands or at the mirror hundreds of times before the actual act with Jeremy Peacock(hmm.. maybe that is why I can’t stand peacock pose). Or for me the first time I practiced vinyasa, much like dancing, laying in savasana(relaxation) at the end of class with a feeling that I had been through a storm and was shipwrecked, washed up on the beach, and now laid there not know what just happened, or who I was, but here now.. alive. This is why I am an addict of asana, love, and devotion, and why the rituals and practice of Tantra are certainly appealing to me. The breath and sound rituals are the way that we can access the present moment. The average adult breathes approximately 21,600 times a day. Each one of these breaths is an opportunity to feel alive and experience this moment unlike any other! In a world of to do lists, which sometimes include our yoga practice, tea with friends, and being with our beloved, as things we check off at the end of the day, we all need these reminders and rituals to pause and be alive in these experiences. We all remember the first time we do something new, but how often do we remember the last. Will we remember the details of the last time that we make love as much as the first, or the last kiss as much as the first(Yuck) or the last conversation with our wise friend or grandfather.
Each moment we breath-in we have the ability within us to be enlightened, which means awake. The pause is what helps us remember.
“The question is not will I ever become enlightened, rather can I become enlightened right now.” – Chris Tompkins
When we enter into the present moment even a leaf falling from the branch of a tree, seems to hold all of the joy and suffering of the human race. It floats softly, sparkly, circular… following the pattern of our breath. What if we all remembered at the same time? Maybe the Mayan calendar would be true and time would cease to exist. And then!? As a wise one once said, “What happen’s after enlightenment? Laundry!”.