“Afterwards, all adjourned upstairs for yet more coffee, and of course conversation about coffee. There was general agreement with Mr. Iyengar that coffee is certainly the soma rasa (the intoxicating nectar of immortality) of the Kali yuga (the present age of darkness) to which Pattabhi Jois added, ‘Yes, and you get so many different brands of soma rasa in the shops these days!’ ” ~ Raghurum
Most of the elephant community have probably heard of the spirit of cacao. You’ve spent the night ecstatically dancing away high on the heart-opening effects of this enticing elixir.
You’d spent many a night, maybe in Guatamala, close to the source, in one cacao-ounceling circle after another crying on some strangers yoga pants about your samskaras, known as repressed memories in yoga, before singing some bhajans (devotional songs) in one jungle or another.
Cacao is an aphrodisiac and we can drink it in an intentional space such as a gathering, a birthday party, a shamanic journey, a ceremony, a ritual or a dance party. We can invite the heart opening quality of the plant into our engagement. Drinking pure cacao will enhance our experience and open us up beyond our ordinary limitations and of course, like most things in life, it’s better to enjoy in celebration with friends or lovers.
What about the potent spirit of coffee?
It seems that the powerful spirit of caffeina is being brushed under the yoga mat, and thus wrecking havoc upon many in the yoga community, causing strife and discord between the sattvic tea drinkers and their rebel counterparts the coffee sangha (sanskrit word for community).
Can we harness the intoxicating power of coffee, cleanse it of its tamasic (dull) energy that invites lethargy and place it on our altar as a sacred spirit once and for all? Or is our dangerous dalliance with this all consuming drug keeping us bound to samsara (illusion)? Shamelessness and sacred cappuccinos for all!
Have you ever said, “I really shouldn’t” while sneakily perpetrating some vile yogi sin such as indulging your tamasic coffee addiction only to be salaciously diving into your elixir, riding the waves of stimulation to your next vinyasa class?
How many times has the virtuous, pure and good yogi in you tried to quit your latte? I confess, once I made it three days in a high-quality coffee zone without my daily puja (offering) to the coffee spirits (I am from Portland after all). I’ve wondered in my profound quandary, “Is there a way to magically make my demonic coffee sattvic and pure?”
Big question, I know. After my frequent reflections and dialogues with the Yogini Coffee Society I’ve come to the following conclusion: surrender, be present and experience the bliss of a lovingly crafted espresso.
Mia, a Swedish-Ubudian goddess, and I have made a ritual out of our espresso to take take the pressure off. We are transfiguring (or making divine through our awareness and spiritual practice) our lust into devotion and gratitude for the abundance we are blessed with. Who knows, this shift in perspective may loosen up our attachment and clinging to this powerful and intoxicating tonic. One day we may even be holding tea ceremonies.
So if you are:
drinking your guilt,
drinking your yogic shame,
drinking your temptation and desire,
then it’s time to allow some ambrosia to drop into your glass from above.
Here is how real yogis drink coffee:
1. Just breathe!
Come alive by taking a few deep cleansing breaths.
2. Be present.
Ask yourself, “am I aware?” Connect with your Self and find a stillness within you.
3. Make a blessing.
Create your own signature coffee drinking prayer. Drink in the light of the devas by making a gesture of blessing: energetically or in form of a prayer. This could be just a moment to feel grateful. Invite whatever energies you would like to be involved in this divine dalliance. Be as creative or as traditional as you wish.
4. Drink mindfully, observe and engage your senses to invoke bliss:
Smell your beloved beverage as if it were your last. Taste it with the same subtle inquiry as a heavenly connoisseur. Notice the hints of flavor on your tongue, how it feels swirling down the throat.
5. Become aware of the effects of the drink on you.
What is the quality of the sensation? Is it upward moving or downward moving energy? Is it clearing out or blocking? Is it an explosive energy or a dulling energy? Take your time to savor and reflect.
So remember this practical advice: if you want to be fully liberated than you better drink your cappuccino as if it were immortal nectar poured down just for you from Shiva himself.
Global spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh says that it is a miracle to eat bread. The Buddhist master explains that the reason why Christians symbolically eat the flesh of Christ in communion is to radical shock people into being present. This is mindfulness. And we could all use a lot more mindfulness around our consumption.
So the next time you sit down for your cappuccino, drink it like a yogi with devotion to the pure light of consciousness: mindfully with gratitude and bliss. Show all those self-righteous tea drinkers that you can have your coffee and drink it too.
Alright, let’s hear from you! Do you have a yogic way of drinking coffee? Or is your desire pure lust? I want to hear all about it.
Author: Carrie Stiles
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Alexandra E. Rust/Flickr