Here it is, the last of our series on doing your very own ayurvedic cleanse
to get the most out of your dosha this Kapha season. Despite what the name “cleanse” might bring to mind for you, this series has been all about clearing out the mental and spiritual cobwebs that tend to accumulate in the body and soul over time. In this way, a yearly “cleanse”
is something that can allow the body to reset back to a healthy constitution, as well as break old patterns and form new habits. Throughout this series we’ve discussed everything from ayurvedic diet
to restorative breathing
to mindful meditation
. In our last installment, we will focus on one of the most important factors for doing a spring reset back into wellness: Tantra.
To review, Tantra is an ancient system of spirituality and meditation that celebrates and seeks to understand the dual nature of the human soul—the physical and divine, the masculine and feminine, the Shiva and Shakti, the yin and the yang. With a direct translation from the Sanskrit as “to warp” or “to weave,” everything about Tantra revolves around slowing down, staying present and recognizing the patterns and systems of this world. Western interpretations of Tantra
often focus solely on the sexual side of the practice—Indeed, we will discuss some of those here today—But in general, a truly enlightened understanding of the Tantric practice, as Tantric therapist Michaela Boehm puts it in an interview with Goop Online
, is that “in reality only a small portion of Tantra has to do with sex, and only as a way to merge with the divine.” Thus, our primary focus here will be on achieving that merger. As the winter season slowly fades away and our hearts begin to open for spring, our spiritual self is in a uniquely receptive state for balance and renewal.
Below, we discuss three ways to take full advantage of the last few weeks of this season. We hope with a little practice and patience they will serve to help awaken the divine in you.
1. Take a Bath
An ancient ayurvedic text known as the Ashtanga Hridayam maintains that a good old-fashioned bath may be linked to improve sleep, appetite, sexual vigor and joie de vivre. Not just for kiddos and reluctant pets, bathing is a way to cleanse the physical and spiritual self. In fact, many sacred purification rituals across a broad spectrum of religions and mythologies already revolve around bathing. Incorporate a few extra ingredients, such as fresh herbs or moisturizer, and you can customize your bath to pacify any dosha and soothe your full self.
You can perform your own special bathing ceremony
on your own or with a partner. It all depends on what experience you seek to have. We recommend starting solo before adding company.
2. Have a “Relaxation Snack”
- Make it a ceremony. Be intentional about taking this time for yourself by freeing yourself from distractions and asking for as much privacy as you desire.
- Your body is a sacred temple. Treat it as such! As you bathe, focus on a self-honoring mantra such as “My body is a sacred gift” or “My body and my mind make my life meaningful and full.”
- Close it out with massage. Here is where a partner may come in handy—Or, you can grab a prop like a tennis ball or foam roller and have at it! Not sure how to go it alone? There are numerous self-massage resources online. The best part is, you’re in complete control!
In the same way that we might literally snack to refuel and sustain our physical body between meals, so too can you figuratively snack
to refuel and sustain your emotional self throughout the day. This can be in the form of meditation, exercise or a favorite activity, but really, the most important aspect is that you take some sort of quality time for yourself.
3. Heat Things Up
- This is a “snack” not a meal, so be sure to pick activities that you genuinely enjoy and which fit your lifestyle.
- Appropriate activities might include taking a light walk, reading a book, drawing zentangles or simply staring out the window.
- The point of a snack is that you get to try different things, so don’t force yourself to commit to any one activity. As you discover what you truly you enjoy, what you don’t enjoy, choose which activities you’d like to make a greater priority in your self-care regimen.
For many people in the western world, their first introduction to the world of tantric sex involved an interview with musician Sting
, wherein he mentioned his frequent seven-hour love making sessions with his wife. If you hear something like that and think, “Yeah, I’d rather Netflix and chill,” then you wouldn’t be alone. The marathon lovemaking trope is just another myth that gives the act of tantric sex a bad rap and prevents others from experiencing the genuine benefits this ancient practice has to offer.
Instead, think of tantra as more of a no-holds-barred approach to sex that frees practitioners from the stress of obligation and performance. Satisfying anecdotes may suggest that tantric sex results in great orgasm, but it is equally true to say it need not result in any orgasm at all. All of which is to say: There’s no expectation! You may free yourself to experience the full pleasure that comes from being fully present and committed to the moment, without accountability for the result.
- You do not need a partner to experience Tantra! Your Tantric practice could be as simple as honoring your body through touch, reconnecting with your emotional experience of the day or simply reminding yourself that you are worthy and deserving of love.
- Let go of guilt. Tantra is a body positive life affirming practice! There is no scorecard or scorekeeping. Be wary of how your thoughts will migrate toward this habit as you spend time with yourself or with a partner. As you recognize this tendency to judge or feel judged, allow yourself to recognize the thought—Then let it go.
- Say, “I am in the process of becoming the best version of myself” and “I free myself to love and be loved” if you have trouble being present.
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