By Irene

When you hear the word “Tantra of Intimacy,” what’s the first thing that comes into your mind? Sex, postures, or even Kama Sutra? There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about both words, especially in our Asian cultures. One need only google the words and figure it out yourself without daring to ask for more! Even if we do dare to ask, the next question is who are we going to ask? That’s what I did when my cousin in London mentioned Tantric Yoga to me. There is not much you can find about it online, not nearly enough be able to understand much about it.

CollageThen I came across an upcoming retreat in Bali that called “Tantra & Yoga of Intimacy: Sensual Awakening, Healing & Enlivening” with Blue and Caroline Muir, in November, 2013. I emailed Blue (Spirituality and Yoga of Intimacy Guru, a wonderful man whom I trust and admire so much) and asked about the retreat. He sent me information about what the retreat was about and what we will gain from it. He also gave me this: Intimacy Is love infused with connection, generosity, attentiveness, presence, trust, surrender and the courage to be seen and be vulnerable. Intimacy is a choice. Sensuality is an excitement or enlivening of the primary senses of the human body. When enlivened, sensuality becomes a flow of life inside and around you. Sensuality is natural.  

Ahhhhhhhhhh………….what a journey Bali has been for me, meeting Caroline and Blue and connecting with our wonderful group of people… so powerful and authentic! Words cannot express how grateful I am to have made this choice to embark upon this road. I am also very thankful to have met Caroline and Blue, and for them to have given me the chance to walk onto this road of unknown… to face my fear, to find my lost heart and love, and to learn from two wonderful, warm and gorgeous people the art of tantra and the world of intimacy in the most respectful, loving, nurturing and warmest ways.

Vulnerability and trust are the two most guarded things in ourselves that we don’t want to let go or let down. I constantly reminded myself throughout myIrene seven days there, “I’m here for a good reason… and I need to open to the learning, receiving and healing that will come my way.” I’m glad I did. It was totally amazing for me to have been in the presence of people who came with open hearts and trust. There was so much openness, vulnerability and love among every one of us there, that all of us still are very much affected from our retreat even after two weeks have passed.

Towards the end of my week which I was wishing lasted longer, I have learnt to develop a sexual connection with my partner that not only feeds his heart but also my heart, body and life with aliveness. The work helped me to unlock my full potential as a partner and lover; released the energies inside me that have blocked my full capacity of feeling beautiful; and I have learnt to love and also to receive love in a truly loving and intimate ways with full aliveness and openness. We learnt the art of giving to and receiving from our partner in a most nurturing, loving, warm and beautiful way where towards the end of each session, all of us felt all our chakras touched, opened and shining bigger than we normally experience. Like Caroline said, “We raised the bar on your life experiences. We expanded into the vast heart of love and intimacy that we call Tantra, and this is the power of creating sacred space, alignment with yoga and union with the divine.” Thanks to them, I am still walking around with a glow in my face and heart every day!

Thank you!

Bali motorcycle

By Caroline Muir

Bali ArtThree weeks in Bali taught me at least as much as I was delighted to teach our 14 students who traveled from such far-away locales as Australia, Hong Kong, Dubai, New Zealand and the U.S.

My co-facilitator Blue, fully present with the energy of the moment, often selects subjects or music rather than the satsang originally planned. Hindu chants echo across the rice paddies as we hold our satsangs in the open air of the top floor overlooking the sculpted green of life in the fields. Tantra really is the Yoga of Intimacy and Love. Our students received much more than they anticipated, all hoping to return next Sept/Oct for our next offerings, one of which will be the Art of Lovemaking.

Next fall we will hold two 1-week retreats near the Bali Sea, in Amed in East Bali. Fresh coconuts are delivered each day with a bamboo straw. Nothing is wasted… eco/organic has swept this little island where they grow everything they need… including the sweetest people in the world. “Why not be happy?” is the attitude that surrounds us and seeps into our cells like super-food.

I jokingly surmised that Bali is almost “too” spiritual, with every store named Ananda or Shakti Creations or Buddha Wear while stone and carved deities line the narrow streets where they are being made. Riding through these apparitions on the back of Blue’s Ninja motorcycle gave me a perspective that included aromas of temple incense, families bathing together in clear streams, dogs with leopard spots and Life that is lived willing to be seen.

As Kym Byatt of Perth, Australia, puts it… “The combination of both your and Blue’s energy, commitment, expertise and big, big hearts created a very profound healing space. Not to mention being held by Mother Bali, in the Land of Prayers who demanded her way in tender surrender. I had the most profound week of my life, and I have had an incredible life.”

Embody Your Ecstasy

By Caroline Muir

Sounds great, but what exactly does it mean?

Working for a living and meeting the demands of life doesn’t seem to leave much time or energy for ecstatic states of being in these times. Combined the pressure to accomplish and accumulate, people are rarely naturally good at being happy. It’s almost more in style to complain or focus on what isn’t working in our life rather than what is a source of joy.

How many conversations do you have in one day in which you ask someone how they are, and then you are a sounding board for all of their problems? Where does this tendency to complain come from? It appears to be culturally inherited. We hear it all around us. Fortunately, it’s in our ‘software’ rather than our ‘hardware.’

Ecstasy, or joy, is in our ‘hardware’—it is our birthright.  As babies, we smile and laugh at apparently nothing. Joy bubbles up from a well within our own hearts. Have you ever caught yourself walking down the street or into the market being aware of a smile on your face for no particular reason from an authentic place inside yourself? We all have the capacity to tap into this place of “happy for no reason.”

Each moment of ‘right now’ can be thoroughly claimed– with the intention to do so.  It requires us to notice when we find ourselves in unconscious patterns of worry, complaining, or anxiety. We must bring our attention into our bodies, connect to our breath, and have in mind what it is we wish to affirm in the now.

One of my favorite ways to quickly shift is to imagine I have a volume control inside of my heart just like the one on your stereo. When I notice that I am getting too serious or too rushed or too intense, I drop into an image of that volume control and turn it up!  The smile returns to my face, my pace slows into an easy glide from a hurried push, and the moment is all there is.”

We are the only ones who can truly make ourselves happy.  Our attitude is the secret behind our thoughts.  Fear and worry are like jealous lovers, always competing for our attention. The news and newspapers will immediately give us something to worry about.  Other people’s mental diarrhea is so easy to hook into and make it our own. There truly are countless things every minute that can steal us away from our joy and ecstasy. With so much coming at us in each moment—from the radio, the news, and the constant stream of media now on our computers, we are the only ones in charge of how we deal with this ever-growing wave of information.

It boils down to where I put my attention—internally and externally. I am the one who can change the channel (unless I hand over that control to someone else). Even if I have to listen, at times, to information that I’d rather not—I am still the only one in charge of what I think, say, and do.

The choice to embody our ecstasy is life affirming—and we may need to discover how we can be this joyful.  We may wish to look at unwanted habit patterns of thinking that do not serve us and train our mind to think positively. We may want to discover our feelings and needs and find ways to communicate them more effectively. We may decide to put time into caring for our bodies in order to embody anything.  We may wish to put more time into nurturing our spiritual sexual self so we amp up our pleasure potential. 

 We want to discover what brings us joy—and move toward that. It could include the simple joy of walking or stretching or breathing deeply. It might be catching the light in another’s eyes and smiling –or buying coffee for the next person in line as a random act of kindness. It may be planning a sensual session for our lover or mate.

I remember a moment twenty-five years ago when I was leaving a little-known Caribbean island after a week of blissful vacation.  Climbing the steps of a small plane I turned one last time to look at the sky and palm trees that were the background for a shanty they called a bar at this miniature airport.  The hand-painted sign over the entrance to the bar read, Love your enemies… it will drive them crazy. That message caused my natural ecstasy to rise as I laughed my way onto the little plane.  My whole body grinned from ear to ear if you can imagine how that feels.  I felt as though I were hovering above the masses, drinking in the heavenly love that was mine for the asking.  I could have found ten reasons to not be ecstatic at that moment as others around me were grumbling about one thing or the other.

If you have not yet done so, make a choice to replace the habit of complaining and worry with a choice to move toward what you want in life—toward your joy. Claim ecstasy right now for yourself. It is the pleasure of being alive… the delight we can have in the moment… the enjoyment of co-creating with life. 

I am deeply grateful to have discovered what it means to embody ecstasy. My joy now is teaching others how to give themselves this gift of aliveness. I knew when I heard “Embody Your Ecstasy” that this was the ultimate gift I could bring to those who are ready to receive it. It is the fuel for aliveness into an awakened state. I believe it is the ultimate choice for life.