The Real Yoga
My first retreat was a Disaster!
Sex in the 21st Century
The conversation usually goes something like this:
Them: You are writing a book?
Them: Wonderful, what about ?
Oh! Wow! (eyes widen, big smile happens),what about sex?
This is not what you are thinking…I begin to explain, I am not a sex therapist, I am an artist. I am writing this book from the experience of having lived in both an Eastern culture and a Western culture. I write about the patriarchy, misogyny, repression and oppression. I also write because of epiphanies I had while researching creative process.
You see, creative energy is really that which the yoga world calls kundalini energy. This same kundalini energy is actually the same energy used for creating all kinds of things in one’s life, a meal, a book, a painting, or even a beautiful living room.
Be the Master of Your Kundalini
Mystics have continuously spoken of how we can be the master of our own kundalini energy rather than allow it to become our master. This is called the use of the will. We humans have this amazing capacity, that which distinguishes us from the rest of earthly creation. When we meditate, do yoga, fast or do any other sort of spiritual practice, what we are really doing is strengthening our will. Mystics, spiritual teachers, and prophets throughout time have known this truth.
What inspired me to write such a book is that I have seen two very conflicting and extreme world views on sex. What is more, in the Western culture that prides itself on sexual liberation, sex is still as taboo as anywhere else. In addition to this, women are still treated like objects, used to gratify a man’s sexual urge under the pretense that there is more. I know, this may seem like a general statement, however there is solid research that has been done. Although honestly, we really do not need this research as we have evidence in the form of the me too movement that took hold of the entire globe just last year.
Sex Education Crisis
In November of last year I came across an interesting article titled The Sex Ed Crisis. This was validation to me that this book that I am taking my time producing is very much needed in our times. On the other side of the spectrum, to this day we hear stories about honor killings in countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Women whose lives are taken because they shamed the family name as a result of engaging in some sexual scandal.
This book is about my own experience with a seventeen year marriage which looking back could have been completely different had I even had the relationship and sexual literacy I have today. I bring attention to scenarios that could have been avoided without the social programs that we are fed as children, and the taboos that we are handed down from our mothers, fathers, grandfathers and beyond. Those are the things I wish every young adult can have access to and work with.
Let’s Talk about Sex
You see, dear reader, I do not claim to have the answers, however I feel like this conversation needs to be happening within conscious communities around the world. If we do not begin this who else would? When I say conscious conversation I do not mean that we are to encourage it either. From my learning and experience I believe in finding a happy medium.
I also do not think the problem is solely the women, nor is it solely the men. It is something that we co-created eons ago. We must take responsibility for this culture of misogyny, we (humanity) created it with this default mentality that women are less than men and that men can get away with everything, while women cannot.
I have come to the conclusion that gender is a distraction! Why is gender a distraction? Because it is another way we bypass our common humanity, in essence we are all the same underneath our skin, masks, and gender identities that we are taught as children. Few of us have the courage to break free from such things.
Clearing up Myths
Some of the questions I ask and attempt to answer in this book are, will we ever be able to bring the masculine and feminine to the same level? Why was Lilith cut out from the story of creation? Is there a different creation story that would better serve us?
I also clear up some myths around sex. Did you know that the myth of the virgin is a big lie the patriarchy concocted to control women? The hymen is not a what the patriarchy has taught us. No one ever told us that the hymen is actually like a scrunchy. Yes, that unfortunately was vital information that was left out in our sexual education.
The part I find humor in really is that no matter the great lengths that we have taken to control sex or to sweep it under the rug, sex still happens! Wouldn’t it be better if we actually educate our children to view sex as a completely natural thing, which it is, and not bring in fear, shame and guilt into the equation?
What we really need to fear is people passing on their wounding and abusive behavior to others when engaging in sex . Many of us parents, myself included worry about our children ending up in highly abusive situations. There is no avoiding this as the world is replete with psychopaths. We need to educate our young adults about what healthy sex is -not that sex is bad. Teenagers would benefit from learning to recognize unhealthy relationships, to protect themselves from disease, from harm and to be discerning in choosing partners. Some countries are already teaching children about everything sex related at an early age, it has to be the entire world. If we keep the old programming about sex we will never get out of this vicious cycle.
Creative Process Research
After about eight years of research on creative process, I have come to see that engaging in creative process regardless of what the medium is must be something that every human being is able to do on a daily basis. Being in touch with this aspect of our self is a way to manage, heal and clear our sexual energy. Through the research I found that creative process is the safest, and simplest way to individuation. Carl Jung recognized this many years ago and it surprises me that it has not been widely implemented yet.
Allow me to add that creative process is not enough alone, neither is sex education. We must include a spiritual, mystical education, that sex is sacred and I expand on such a notion within this book, attempting to answer the question what does sacred sex really look like in these times?
I hope this book will become a reference, mostly to young adults as within it will be some helpful information that I draw from my experience, research and the guidance that led me to write such a book.
The Origins of ArtKeyTypes
*image source : Pinterest
I have been feeling like sharing a little in depth about the origin of ArtKeyTypes and where the format and idea came from as I have had several people asking for a little more information on what this is all about.
Most of us yogis and yoginis who have been practicing for a while, know that for any yoga practice to be successful we must incorporate an understanding of the five archetypal elements: ether, air, fire, water and earth.
When we understand the function and characteristics of each element it becomes easier to apply this in our practice. There are a lot of resources and ayurvedic books on this subject and so I will not go into a lengthy discussion of each element. By all means if you are not familiar with the elements as discussed in ayurveda, I highly recommend checking out some of Dr. Lad’s , and Dr. Frawley’s writings, otherwise, you can also attend a retreat with me to get the lengthy details! I do draw from other sources besides ayurveda as the elements are not exclusive to ayurveda.
What I would like to share in this post is a little more about how to embody the elements during yoga practice in hopes of highlighting how such embodiment can be used beyond yoga practice.
Embodying the Elemental Archetypes
Embodying the earth element is when we ground ourself before beginning the practice. Connecting with the earth element in every asana, feeling the earth and how it supports us as we move on the mat.
Embodying the water element is when we flow gracefully, slowly without sudden halts and breaks in our movements. This is especially important in any vinyasa style practice. Flowing helps us avoid injury and requires a complete surrender and relaxation of the entire body.
Embodying the fire element is really engaging the bandhas, and especially the root lock. It is also feeling deep into the movements and practices especially those that offer cleansing such as fire breath, and a faster paced practice, as well as asana that targets working the core.
Embodying the air element takes place by paying attention to every breath we make and insuring that our breath and movement are coordinated. Shallow and choppy breath will always indicate that we need to back out and slow down our practice until our breath becomes stronger.
Embodying the ether element is what makes yoga a transcendental experience. Paying attention to the space we are moving in at all times and at the same time being in our body. It is literally having the capacity to have multiple vision or the ability to watch ourselves from the inside as well as the outside at the same time.
ArtKeyTypes, or the painting experience that I have developed from this understanding is really applying these concepts to the painting process, and literally becoming the elements through visualization, movement and embodiment. ArtKeyTypes is meant to be dynamic and ever changing, evolving and growing. This is not a method or practice and will become what it needs to in any given moment. It is personal to each individual. Because it has to do with creative process and creative process are by nature infinite, this process will have infinite ways of being and becoming.
I just submitted an expanded version of this writing titled: ArtKeyTypes: Bridging Jungian Psychology with Tantra, Ayurveda and Shamanism, for peer review in an art therapy journal and my heart skipped a few beats- I am excited to be sharing ArtKeyTypes for the first time this May!