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Hello Tom and thank you for being our Gemini student of the month. Temperature’s have risen and the Spring is here… being a curious, action loving and airy Gemini, you must be feeling alive! Have you become Tigger yet!?

You are quite right! I am having a hard time sitting still at my desk all day.

Having seen you dance – intensely – where would you say you get your ‘bounce’ from?

It just comes naturally to me as an expression of my soul. In particular, I seem to have an innate sensitivity for movement and sound. Time and time again have I found myself with my body begging to be freed whenever I hear music I resonate with, and doing so very quickly gets me into a state of trance whether dancing, massaging or meditating.

It definitely seems to come from a good place. Would you say you resonate with the many positive qualities a Gemini can be endowed with: brilliance of mind, good communication skills, gregariousness, diplomacy, vivacity, enthusiasm, tact, cheerfulness, wit, versatility, ambition, kindness, thoughtfulness, open-mindedness and having strong leadership qualities? I think that list must have been written by a Gemini – with their inherent love of understanding and ideas!

When I feel grounded and centred, yes definitely! However, my chart has a number of oppositions which express themselves as contradictions in my personality. For instance, I have to deal with an ascendant in Sagittarius, conjunct Saturn, which often gives the external impression of being taciturn. My Mars in Cancer can make my mood change from extroversion to introversion within minutes.

How did you come to join the school?

I was introduced to Tara Yoga Centre by my friend Irina who was attending the same Master’s degree in Statistics at Imperial, and is a third year student at TYC.

You said you resisted for a long time. Was this because you wanted to find your own way on the path, or a resistance to spirituality in general?

I had done a lot of Kundalini Yoga and a number of Vipassanas in the past and was starting to get interested in sacred sexuality, so I was no stranger to spirituality. But it took me a while to get properly exposed to the teachings at Tara, as my first exposures were with the drop-in classes. And I must say that Hatha Yoga without the spiritual context was just not dynamic and physically challenging enough for me. In time, I started to appreciate this form of Yoga much more as I progressed through the Tantra course and could practice along with meditation and pranayama techniques.

How do you reconcile your outer dynamism and the inner stillness required in yoga practice?

As I said, despite being Gemini, I can also be very introverted and reclusive. Stillness is an essential part of my life. I can go crazy if a significant part of my week isn’t spent in Mauna [silence]. Ironically, one of my favourite things to do in life is relaxing on a sofa doing nothing but observing my breath. Not your typical Gemini…

What have been the major turning points for you since joining the course?

Three in particular definitely stick out: the Polarity Retreat the last two years and the Retreat for Revealing the Self in Denmark last Christmas. The Polarity retreats have rewired how I approach my interaction with women. For instance after this year’s retreat, I became aware that the yoni is a source of wonder and magic that I never truly appreciated before. The Self Revelation retreat brought God into my life and made me realise the importance of the Spiritual Heart on the path.

What would you say you like about Tara Yoga Centre the most?

If I had to pick only one thing, then I would choose the community of women. London is such a hard place for women to express their femininity safely. As a man, that makes for a lifeless city in many ways. Tara gives them that safe haven, that I personally rejoice in because I find nothing more enlivening than being in the presence of a radiant woman.

Any pearls of wisdom to pass onto others?

Quit living life in your head, stop trying to control what is happening to you and follow your heart. You will make mistakes as you slowly un-condition yourself and learn to differentiate between what your heart wants and what your ego pushes you towards, but in time and with awareness, that attitude is the highway for fast transformation. I try very hard to enact this wisdom despite having an overactive intellect.

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Like every year, Tara Yoga Centre will be doing a Yang Spiral Meditation at Stonehenge this Summer Solstice. If you can’t join us, but still would like to celebrate this extraordinary time of the year, just follow the link to check amazing inspirations.

http://www.mysticmamma.com/summer-solstice-northern-hemisphere-rituals-ideas-and-significance-june-20th-2013/

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Why does time seem to speed up evermore as we get older? Do you remember the summer holidays seemingly lasting an eternity when you were a child, yet now whole years seem to be gone in the blink of an eye!?

As Einstein pointed out, time is completely subjective and appears to speed up or slow down according to the attention we pay to each of the small moments that make it up. So it makes sense that as we get older or ‘grow up’, and our personality or ego develops along with our life experience – as we are told it should – what is really happening is that we are being fooled by the ego into not paying attention to life because it tells us that we have ‘seen it all before’ and know how to automatically react to each situation that arises rather than acting freely and consciously to each new phenomenon. This means that our moments of true awareness become less and less frequent and therefore time seems to speed up as we lose our grip on the present moment.

We can attempt to reverse this process in many ways. Obviously, anything that increases awareness will improve the attention we can pay to life, slowing down the flow of time. We can consider the mind like a fly-wheel that gathers momentum with every uncontrolled thought that flies through it. It will constantly speed up unless we do something to control the flow of thoughts. This can be achieved by doing simple mindfulness techniques, such as always having a few moments of awareness whenever we finish a task, before starting the next one. That applies at the level of actions, but it also works with the mind, by observing the interval between two thought processes. These pauses allow us to apply the ‘brakes’ to our racing minds, at least for a moment. And the more moments of awareness we can inject into our days, the more control we can take over our life.

Another approach is to reawaken the sense of wonder, seeing life itself as a never-ending series of new and beautiful experiences, exactly as we did as children when life was all one big adventure. This highly transfigured view of life, which came quite naturally to us when young, is a sign of an awakened soul and is another key to preventing the automated responses of the mind from lulling us into robotic sleep and ever quickening days. This is exactly when we start to rediscover life’s hidden treasures as we properly engage our senses, become increasingly present in life, and feel our souls rejoicing in the beauty of the here and now – the taste of eternity which opens up when we begin to transcend time itself…

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Hello Carolina, and thank you for being our Aries student of the month.
We have arrived back at the beginning of the zodiac cycle, with the ‘youngest’ sign! So, are you overwhelmed with enthusiasm for constant new beginnings, firing off spontaneous, enterprising ideas with a flare for the daring and courageous? As you can see, I might be expecting an optimistic answer here!

Oh yes I love new beginnings! The excitement of discovering something or someone new, the rising possibility of a new challenge ahead that I often feel drawn towards before even having identified what it is and if I really want it. I am not sure about spontaneity though – for me the Aries headfirst approach manifests in a very mental way. What I mean is, I have a tendency to filter actions through my reasoning mind, which often doesn’t leave much space for spontaneity. Like right now I am definitely over-thinking this answer 🙂

This impetuous fire can also sometimes spill over into impatience, pride and vanity – I don’t recognise those qualities in you, but do you notice them under the surface sometimes?

Impatience towards others yes, but generally not in an impetuous or aggressive way. It’s more like a background belief that I’d rather ‘do it on my own’, because others slow me down which leads to a strong independence and sometimes little willingness to compromise to meet others, let alone wait for them. However I find that I have a good amount of patience with myself and I am rather stable in the choices I make, leaving enough time for the challenges I am facing to bear fruits – most often excellent fruits, which is the proud me I guess 😉

I know several artists and creative types who are Aries, always able to pull new creative ideas from the ether. Do you identify with that quality?

Mmmm, not really, no. I can come out with very good practical ideas, but creative ideas, not yet…one day!

You seem to me a very serene, patient and heartful person so maybe there are other astrological influences at work here. However, I know you also have a love of the adventurous and dynamic – has that love of challenging activities always been there?

Well, 4 out of 5 of my personal planets are in Aries so there isn’t so much ambiguity in the chart. I think my Saturn in Capricorn and having been raised by two Capricorn parents has tamed the flame down a bit. Jumping around from one interest to the next was never an option – that’s how I think discipline and dedication are well rooted into me. Dedication towards sports challenges for example: I was a world class fencing competitor and found many wonderful satisfactions and learnings in the practice of this sport. At any holiday time I loved challenging myself more with outdoor sports like skiing, snowboarding, sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing; and not to leave anything unaccomplished. I also challenged myself with what I intentionally chose to be the most demanding studies I could find: maths and engineering. So yes, it has always been there, not only a love for challenging activities, but a love for challenge within any activity, I would say.

So what drew you to wanting to learn about spirituality?

I didn’t know I wanted to learn about spirituality. It was nowhere near my to-do list!

How did you discover Tara Yoga Centre then?

I had a colleague I really admired who was into a lot of fascinating sports and activities and among these many things he was attending the Tantra course at Tara. I went on a snowboarding holiday with him and a friend of his who was also in the school, and that is where I had the chance to hear some intriguing conversations between them about relationships that immediately ignited my curiosity. As soon as we came back from the holiday I dropped into one of the classes and in a matter of days I had signed up for the upcoming polarity camp! That was a new beginning, the most life-changing one I have ever had. Before then I had never practised any yoga, meditation, mindfulness, I had not ever come across any spiritual or even new age community. It was all excitingly new, a world I didn’t know existed. Many teachings were at first hard to believe but after the camp I had no doubt I wanted to learn and practise them.

What is it that makes this school special for you?

Even though I had not explored any similar environments before coming to Tara, from the beginning I felt a growing sense of contentment and fulfilment about being part of this school, an intuitive certainty of being in the most wonderful place, even without directly knowing any other. If I had to expand a bit more beyond this beautiful feeling, I would say that what makes this school special is the impressive comprehensiveness and coherence of all the teachings and the unconditional love that the teachers shine into all the lectures and activities that are offered to us.

Has something helped you to remain constant on your spiritual path, rather than always wanting to try new things?

Like I mentioned before, I am quite disciplined at remaining constant in my activities as long as I have a goal ahead. There is so much that I aspire to on this spiritual path, that I can’t see myself running short of goals. It’s different from any other challenge I have previously had. It’s only been two years since I joined the school and I am sure there will be times of lack of aspiration but it’s not been the case so far. I am still finding very many new things every class and every camp. If I am curious to try something else, I do, but then I naturally bring it into the perspective I am developing on this path. I have yet to find something that doesn’t fit into its picture.

So your passionate side is somehow satisfied, or has it been more a matter of learning to control and channel it positively?

My passionate side is still finding its way around. I know clearly that the way I used to take care of it is not fulfilling any more, but it’s taking some time to transition to new possibilities. This applies to relationships, sexuality but also to all the enthusiasm and energy that I used to put into outdoor adventures that I now feel less drawn towards. I know I am making space for something bigger but I am not fully clear how to channel energies there yet.

Do you have any memorable transforming moments or beautiful experiences you would like to share from the last few years?

The camps have been the most memorable and transforming moments. In that first polarity camp I felt a huge expansion of my heart and a feeling of love and peace and happiness coming from within myself, and not directed towards anyone or anything specifically but rather to everyone and everything at the same time. I had not even heard about a similar state of being before, so having such a tangible experience of it at the very start was a wonderful and unforgettable grace.

And finally, if you had the chance to give one piece of advice to the world, what would it be?

Mmm, I really don’t know how to answer this question. I think if I had a genuine single piece of advice to the world I would know without having to look for it, so I will abstain for now 😉

Thank you!

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Life as a tantric practitioner means living life fully and consciously, rather than withdrawing from life’s experiences. This means interacting with the energy of life, shakti, in all her manifestations and aspects. Shakti can of course sometimes be daunting and intimidating, particularly in areas of life we are less familiar or confident in, so it can be helpful to look at other areas of our life for inspiration.

It is said that you can tell what kind of lover someone is by looking at how they eat!

From this example, we can realise that the relationship we have with shakti is the same on all levels, whether it is the relationship we have with our sexual energy, with our lover, or with life in general. We can learn a lot about ourselves and others by examining behaviour in this way.

 

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Hello Giorgiana, thank you for being our Pisces student of the month, although your birthday is right on the cusp with Aquarius. So which do you identify with most?

Hi. Thank you too!
I used to identify mostly with the Aquarius part and qualities and ignore the Pisces part, which actually represents the energy or resonance for my future evolution…
But this has changed in the last year and a half since my spiritual guide said to me that I am more Pisces than Aquarius, and now I’m paying more attention to all the aspects.

You do seem to have the qualities of Aquarius, being truthful, just, curious, with an affectionate personality, frank and imaginative, but then also the generosity, compassion, faithfulness and caring of Pisces. Maybe this is part of the Piscean mystery – not easily categorised?

Yes, it is very possible. Also, being on the cusp between two zodiac signs gives you the attributes of both of them, harmonising these influences, but also bringing the energy of the void between these two which has its own qualities. At least this is how I feel it, but it might also explain why people (even astrologers!) always find it difficult to guess my sign.

So how did you find the yoga school?

My best friend back in Romania had been doing yoga for more than 20 years… then I received a flyer advertising Ayurveda courses with this school, which I joined for a year, but then on arriving in England it took me 5 months to find Tara Yoga Centre. Probably I was not asking the right people!

Coming from a background of geological engineering, what appealed to you about the yoga teachings?

Well, I feel that this life is more than what they teach you in the regular schools, and the amount of knowledge in this course is impressive.

I hear you have a love of Speleology – caving. With all the famous stories of yogis meditating in caves, have you ever tried this yourself, particularly the practice of kaya kalpa, which is done in the kind of complete darkness you only find deep underground?

Yes. I love it. Funnily enough I did it just before starting the yoga course. The underground space is peaceful, full of love and connection to the Earth… But now, in England, just sometimes during the night without the beautiful support of the cave…

Certainly it seems you have a love of exploring mysteries, has your yoga practice revealed some of your inner mysteries?

It showed me that the mystery is bigger than I used to think it is…

Have there been particular breakthrough moments in your spiritual practice?

The tiny moments take you step by step to bigger realisations, and all this helps me to discover myself more, and shine.

What would you say to anyone considering exploring yoga and tantra?

To follow their hearts and to enjoy the mystery of life and love.

Any final words of wisdom?

Love is all that matters.

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Learning to give and receive massage is an art. Part of this art is to develop our conscious awareness of touch, and of all tactile sensations.

Our body is constantly caressed by various stimuli but we are rarely completely aware of the sensations. When we bring awareness to the sensations and feelings that are evoked, we suddenly discover that we are relaxed, in the present moment, and our consciousness begins to expand.

Here is a very simple exercise of awareness. Find objects to touch, and simply try to be very aware of the sensations and feelings that are generated. Be as conscious as possible. Do it very slowly, with maximum awareness.

Another way to focus on the sensation of touch is to become very aware of the feeling of the water falling onto your skin when you are in the shower, and how it makes you feel.

When you are in the wind, try to become very aware of the touch of the wind on your skin, and how it makes you feel.

And when you are being touched by someone else, be very aware of the feeling in the part being touched.

If you are very aware, you will feel a special sensation in the heart, as a feeling of openness or expansion.

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