Now, I’m from the West, where new branches of yoga, ranging from spinning-yoga to freaking beer yoga emerge all the time. This is very far from the roots that I have experience taught by my teacher Uma Inder.
I asked Uma a range of questions in order to explore the roots and realms of original yoga, Ayurveda, tantra, meditation, spirit and no bullshit living.
I’m curious as that what she teaches and what Western minds and bodies can learn from the ancient Eastern practice?
Here’s what she said…
I am discovering that fearless authenticity cannot be taught. It is a personal matter of life or death, wakefulness or amnesia. There is a way to be our original, undefended self, and to be protected on the path of truthfulness, even when becoming a soft target of resentment for being so free of projected control. I am not alone in discovering ways to investigate these rights to co-exist in our fundamental uniqueness.
What I teach is a stripped down Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Tantra Yoga and dynamic Laya Yoga, with active reference and application of tenets from both the Ayurvedic and Tantric foundations of cosmology. These are traditional interactive yogic methodologies derived from their continuous use as such in India. The traditions are intact and extant and, in my humbling experience, need no meddling with to produce heart and mind opening fruit. Required of me is my presence and willingness to offer of my own fruit of practice.
When people come to my class or traditional ritual and they do not recognize what occurs in others and in themselves or in me, it is not because all the shatkriya, asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha, mantra, dhyana are all that different. It will likely be because I am different. And the way I naturally speak, move and play is not subject to how I think I must play-act in order to entertain and proactively secure conditioned validation by all at once. Being mindfully, gratefully myself is the fruit of what I embody and offer. And I teach traditional yoga as the health-promoting method it inherently is, from this authentic place. From the place of being awe inspired to be “utterly content” in my own being, this raw contentment to be ourselves circulates energetically inside and out. Before participating, students are cautioned and informed of how different the experience may be perceived, so they might make a discerning choice to try it out, to leave and to come back, as they choose.
The caution is necessary because, yes, practicing with me can feel intoxicating. Because this is how it generally feels on hormonal and neural scales to wake up to yourself: naturally ecstatic, heart opening and mind-altering. One difference with a drug induced experience and a kundalini induced experience is that all the processes are internally initiated and sustained by your own nature-given substances. And whatever effect we have on each other might be akin to what happens in a breastfeeding mother and infant when she has a let-down: electromagnetic, biochemical love transmission. As we know these interactive bonds between mother and child naturally change as we grow. While the bonds are necessarily stronger when the infant is feeding to become gradually more self-sufficient, they loosen as the child begins to exercise their independence at free will. The bond is always there but changes form to serve different functions. The bond itself is not evil.
In the person who feels bound, is it the bond or is it the relationship to the bond that becomes poisonous?
It appears that in certain cultures that have become fearful and disconnected from those aspects of Nature they cannot control, these natural bonds trigger deep resistance to processing the neurochemicals of love, for fear of losing oneself in the overwhelm.
Over the centuries in India, Shaivite practitioners of Hatha Yoga as engendered by the Lord of Yoga, Adinath and his student followers Matsyendranath and Gorakhnath, experienced and documented the same ecstasies and release from their self-inflicted bondage. Unlike the dualistic framework of the westernized mentality of later ages, they did not appear to outsource their own discernment in such a way as to inevitably fall prey to the blame game heaped on their teachers, that certain modern practitioners of a mechanized mindset do when they become disenchanted with their self-image in their yoga-induced reality.
Indeed, any respectful acknowledgment of the Guru’s natural role in their self-realization, is just that: the offering of gratitude for realized self-respect.
Moved by the allegations of induced PTSD made by a few western students with preexisting mental and metabolic imbalances and a historic distrust of foreign practices such as guru/disciple relationships and Kundalini, I am now collaborating with a renowned psychologist and a psychotherapist who will professionally serve participants in the West in the process of uncovering the cultural tendencies to “dissociate, transfer and project” onto authority figures.
What I teach does purposefully stir and eliminate the poisons within as part of the process of “emptying the cup before filling it back up” (Eastern teaching).
What we aim to provide is a way for participants to recognize and lovingly own these poisons within before becoming further addicted to the neurochemicals of a love/hate relationship with an authority figure that inevitably ends in avoidable disappointment, bitterness and resentment.
If you have a question you’d like Uma to answer, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more about Uma here.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom.
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