I woke Wednesday morning after the evening fire ceremony and something felt different in my being.
I made my tea and went to sit for 15 minutes.
In my meditation the only thing that seemed to be present for me was gratitude and love.
Douglas Brooks spoke in the morning lecture this morning. My first experience with Douglas was nine years ago at Yoga Journal Conference and most of what he was saying went over my head. Now, after nine years of studying with him on and off, I feel like his teachings have greatly influenced and changed the way I live and view my life.
“Tantra,” he says, “invites us to our greatness and the time is now.” I thought about my morning meditation and this great feeling of love that was pulsing through my being. This is the invitation to greatness. Right here in my own breath.
He goes on to talk about how the first Yoga Sutra and speaks of Atha meaning Now. My interpretation of this is that it’s here and now that our practice begins. It’s not about attaining something that we don’t have but rather stepping into the greatness that is already present within us. “We have to cease right now and we must do it together”, he continues. If we try to do it alone, he explains, we won’t get enough self reflection which can ultimately lead to becoming delusional.
We have to be able to hear the voice of others as well as get quiet enough to hear our own voice. He wraps up by saying something like this. “Life must go on and make more of itself. It is insistent. So the question is, how would you like to experience it now. Are you ready to receive what’s really being offered? Can we receive a world that is so vast that it invites us to another possibility that there is always more.”
His words always seem to penetrate me on a soul level. This alone was probably enough to chew on for a while but since we were in an immersion, it was on to the next mind blowing experience.
I walked into my last Master Class with Rod Stryker. The day before, I had taken a class with Sianna Sherman on Sankalpa and cultivating intention. My intention was calling strongly on Durga who is the Goddess of fierce compassion. She’s invisible until we need her and then she offers us fierce love. When we feel stuck in certain places, which I was feeling, she give’s us strength and endurance to move forward.
I placed my mat down in the front of the class and I look up to see the mantra, Om Dum Durgaya Namaha. Chanting this mantra invokes Durga energy inside
us. We began our practice with standing postures, chanting the mantra during exhalations and at the top of the in breath, silently repeating the mantra. Rod said something so beautiful that to know Durga within ourselves is to know the unfolding of a thousand suns. Okay, I think I will be practicing this daily for a while.
I could feel the fierce energy at the base of my spine, her power transforming as my power, moving up my spine into the Hridaya, my heart. After more movement, mantra and emphasis on the bandha’s we came to a seat in meditation. Again I sat with gratitude and felt the bhava of unconditional love. Rod said something like this: “If you can pass on this light that radiates from within, then you are a Tantrika.” My eyes welled up with this remembrance that I am source. As I walked out, I felt a fearlessness inside that was coupled with joy and gratitude. Whoa, look out world, I am ready to radiate light!
I have been attending the Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park for 12 years now, and this one has been my most memorable and transformational. Part of it I know is where I am in my life and in my practice, but I felt something different in the leaders of this gathering. No one was trying to be bigger and better than anyone else. There was no hierarchy. There was a shared, collaborative feeling with teachers and students. I did not feel competitive energy or that yoga “rock star” thing that can sometimes be present ant these big gatherings.
There was ease and a deep feeling of respect for these teachings and the lineage of where they have come from. Thank you Yoga Journal, for bringing something different and giving these Master Tantra teachers a platform to share these beautiful teachings with all of us. Special thanks to all the teachers who brought themselves and all the teachings fully to this gathering.
With heartfelt gratitude,
Alison Litchfield has devoted the last 22 years to being a student and teacher of Yoga. She first came to yoga after losing her mother at a young age to cancer in 1990, here in Boulder with her primary Teacher Richard Freeman. Yoga became an essential part of healing her grief and has been the guiding point in living life with more joy and gratitude. She weaves many styles and modalities into her teaching, including Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, and Iyengar/Alignment based yoga as well as Tantric based philosophy. She also uses her understanding as a Certified Rolfing Practitioner of Structural Integration to help people discover ease of movement and a greater connection to joy and peace in their bodies. Her passion is in helping people, primarily women discover a deep sense of well being through awakening to the radiance and power within themselves.
Editor: Jennifer Spesia