I had never had the pleasure of staying in a tantric ashram until now. It always seemed a little too scary. The word Tantra, even though I understand it was the study of the pathway of energy from our base centre, had always conjured up the image of Caligulian style orgies and patchouli smoke ringed hippies. I was worried that I'd be the only one in the entire ashram not seduced by the dazzling guru or that I'd ascend from my mortal coil , leaving only my bali thongs, as a result of the endless epiphanies during my stay.
Turns out, I need not have fretted. I was certainly respectful of being under the tutelage of Guru Sri Ketut Arsana - Kundalini and Tantra Yoga Teacher , Healer and Host. He's an expansive personality and a formidable energetic force. His style is direct, compassionate and potent. He's a man on a mission to share embodied awareness on the planet and he travels regularly throughout the world to teach and share the message.
His sanctuary, nestled between thriving Ubudian rice paddies in Bali Indonesia is called Munivare and welcoming you at it's gates are kundalini fanged serpents of gold and a plump bellied Ganesh.
Ashram practices included walking the Wiswa through the stunning temple inner sanctum while chanting "Om Nimaya Shiva". Paying tribute to the Gods of abundance (Lakshmi), inner strength (Hannoman the monkey), removers of obstacles and blesser of safe journeys (Ganesh) and the sacred masculine Lingam and feminine Yoni was a daily practice, as was our tantric yoga. I was also invited to attend temple ceremonies during special occasions, which in Bali is quite regularly.
Just after the full moon we paid tribute to The Mothers in sacred ceremony. The entire village attended. It was a precious experience that echoed from a timeless past. Swells of salty tears rolled down my cheeks witnessing three powerful female Priestess's (Ibu) dance their blessings to the Yoni at the sanctum centre. I felt like I had returned to the temple with the honouring of the Goddess. It reminded me how powerful ritual and the honouring of the feminine still is and how much we also need it in our western culture.
So I didn't fall for the guru and I didn't ascend leaving my jiffies but something inside me is forever changed. My time there was insightful, confronting and opening. The physical yoga asana strengthened my body while going through menopause. The devotions reminded me of the importance of humility, grace, prayer and commitment to practices that connect us to something greater than ourselves.
I learn't more effective ways to channel and use my passion and life-force. It's also encouraged me not to be frightened to activate and move my energy including my emotions up the body like a serpent - I am forever grateful for the new found knowledge.
So I guess my ephinany at Munivare Ashram is a very grounded and simple one. Keep opening.
Keep opening and moving through your pelvis and claim what springs from this part of your body - FULLY CLAIM IT and then release it.
Use this stuff - it's your birthright - bring energy upwards. It has taken my work to a new and potent level of honouring the feminine.
In particular a more refined ability to help us women move, release and feel our own juicy sacred energy that originates in our pelvis. Often it gets trapped because of western convention to stay crossed leg and be still - to not show our sexuality, our rage, our passion and our power. But does a lioness stay still?
It is essential for our feminine power to move - physically, emotionally and energetically.
I hope you'll join me for upcoming events to use our serpent energy and reclaim The Lioness Heart within.