As yoga teachers, our work is to use our practices to learn from our own life experiences and then share that with our students. We take the grief and injuries and broken hearts of our lives and throw them in the crucible of our practices, transforming those experiences into an offering our students can use. To do this, we must be brave.
The goddess of the 11th night of the moon is named Nilapataka Nitya, or “She Who is Always Falling into the Blue,” as Tantric yoga teacher Eric Stoneberg names her. She is sapphire blue, adorned with clusters of gems and pearls. Her blue represents the halahala, the blue poison that arose from the Cosmic Lake when the gods and the demons stirred it up to find the amrit, the nectar of immortality. This is the same poison that arises when we get deep enough into our practices to stir up the old traumas and unprocessed pain that lives in our flesh. This is the poison that threatens to stop our seeking.
For Nilapataka, however, this blue poison is the nectar. This is what we have been looking for. Our work is to take the blue poison, move it through our practices, and turn it into amrit, the nectar of the gods. The halahala is the substance that arises when we choose to be present. It’s not only the joyful moments in my life that can give me the strength to go on, but also the practice of fully feeling my heartbreak that can show me what I’m made of. My poisons, when I can breathe with them, sit with them, churn them through my body and my mind, can become the source of my power.
Nilapataka and the other Nityas, the Tantric goddesses of the moon, want us to show up to the full range of experience of being a human person, to taste the bitter as well as the sweet. They can show us how to hunt down our deepest, darkest places, and find clusters of gems and pearls there. When we have processed our experiences and turned them into something we can understand, something we can use, then we can offer that strength to others who are grappling with their own blue poisons. Then we can raise a glass and imbibe the amrit together. Cheers.