“Yoga in contemporary Western Culture is not cultivating world-denying mystics, but with the proper resources and training in bhakti (devotion), the West can produce love-intoxicated seekers and realizers.” Prem Prakasha (The Yoga of Spiritual Devotion)
I was sitting with a great teacher of yoga, Andrey Lappa. He told me in his thick Ukrainian accent, “Katie, this yoga thing is really about love. Have you seen the statues of the great Buddhas and yogis holding the wisdom mudra (hand gesture) as they meditate? Have you ever noticed where they hold their hand? It’s in front of the heart. This is the secret teaching these statues are trying to show us. Yoga is about knowing. Knowing love.”
Recently, I launched a six-week course with my dear friend, Jess, called the Summer of Love. I built the course in my mind and my heart during a period of my life where I felt very in love. With a person. And that person wasn’t me. It was a dude.
And God laughed in her infinite wisdom…
And then the love affair ended.
Having my heart ripped out of body, sent into a thought-demon spiral two weeks before the start of my co-called “Summer of Love” felt like a huge cosmic joke. So cliche. So obvious that it made me get real about love. Like an addict, I got to the place where I was willing to let go, and let God show me my deepest wound – my ancient pattern of loving so deeply and easily everyone outside of me, while remaining in an off-again, noncommittal, avoidant “like-affair” with myself.
Liking myself wasn’t enough for my yoga practice anymore. My Soul wanted all of me. The depth of my heart. My full-on sex-gaze. The kind of penetration that is only possible when one is completely devoted. Totally focused. 100% committed. Married to love.
Yoga is the opposite of an externalization or projection of love. The deepest of yogic techniques provoke us to get RADICAL about love. Radical comes from the word radix – which means “root.” Yoga takes us to the deepest root of our love and asks us, “is the foundation firm, Mama?” Or does the love go out the window when no-one is there to validate it?
Cuddle it? Make it chai tea in bed?
In my own practice, yoga is a continual back-engineering of love. I need a technique. Usually, this means really being with, sitting with, breathing into everything inside of me that doesn’t feel like love – the loneliness, the insecurity, the fear, the sadness, and yes, even the greatness of success or a great relationship. For me, this also means looking at myself as a precious creature, a perfectly flawed and innocent child of the Divine.
The path to radical, root-down self love can be expedited through a Tantric/pranic practice. I learned this technique (the attached audio meditation) from my teacher, and I want to share it with you. It is one of many ancient, energy-based technologies for drawing love in, and pulling heart-break and confusion out.
As you practice, remember, sometimes the hardest practice is the willingness to take love inside. I hope you can have the bravery to pull this love and light into your body. Its about willingness. Once you are willing, it’ll work. And in this way, you will infuse the animal flesh, the delicate psyche, and the hungry emotional body with the love you long for. You will become a firmly engineered foundation of love. And you can build a real love-house with another.
With (what else but?) love,
Healing the Heart Meditation with Katie Silcox
photo credits: DJ pierce, Michael Rubin