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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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Hello Richard, and thank you for being our Aquarian student of the month. The idealist always looking to the future, fiercely independent and free-thinking, liberal and progressive yet strongly opinionated, emotionally detached, yet loving friendship. Humanitarian and altruistic, creative and imaginative as thinkers, visionaries and leaders… Does all that make you the Rebel with a Cause?!
Am not sure am a ‘Rebel with a Cause,’ as yet! But I definitely have my goals in life, be it spiritual, humanitarian, business, family, health and otherwise. And through a process of reading, people I associate with and general thinking, I tend to feel if we are going to set goals, we may as well make them big!

But seriously, it is quite a description. Would you say you are a typical Aquarian? Do you see these qualities coming through in different areas of your life?
I am still yet to study all the star signs, (just in the middle now!). However I do feel myself nodding in agreement with what I read and hear about Aquarians. Lots of examples in my life do seem to fit the mould of a typical Aquarian.

With that sense of independence and freedom, and being known for thinking ‘outside the box’, does it make it difficult to be part of a class, school, or other group?

In a certain way, yes. But am working on becoming more consistent and ‘grounded’ with this. And do see how ‘internal happiness’ can be created with being part of a group, as much as the perceived ‘happiness’ of having freedom, which I have tended to be more associated with in my life.

 

There must be advantages that outweigh these difficulties. What has being part of this yoga school given you?

For sure there are advantages. Massive ones. Having been a strong believer for many years that the greatest challenge to face in life, is the’ battle of the self’, the school provides many teachings and practices to help win this battle. In fact it has made me aware of many ‘challenges’ that I had not even contemplated. The list just keeps growing, which is great!
And in terms of groups, the Yoga School is a great one to be in! I’m enjoying being part of a ‘class, school or group,’ as it were. It has become important to my life. It has really helped deal with the challenges that life continues to present.

It’s a blessing to be around such a wonderful group of people that are within the school. Such a great ‘circle of influence’, certainly helps make the process easier in overcoming this ‘small’ challenge of ‘independence and freedom’ we spoke of.

As the wonderful shakti Oprah Winfrey says,”surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher. Life is already filled with those who want to bring you down.’

I know that on occasions life has got in the way and you are currently having your second or third bash at the third year of the yoga course – I’m sure it’s not just stubbornness or loyalty, so what is it that keeps drawing you back?

Second attempt! Although I have made it to fourth year Tantra so some great positive steps forward for consistency is being created! But over the last two and a half years I have spent a lot of time out of the country, embracing my independence, so I allowed this to be a distraction.
With both courses having their own individual teachings, they both add value to my spiritual and personal growth. For sure, sometimes I’m ‘challenged’ by the teachings but then I also know there are going to be some great learnings provided too, so am keen not to miss them.
It’s like one those great TV series that have been made. There maybe some episodes that are not as good as others, but it’s still engaging enough that I don’t want to miss one and thus this brings me back for a re-run of year 3!

Is there something in particular you feel you had to learn, or an attitude you had to master?
I very much enjoy learning and mastering the state of a Vira, for what it means in life and in love.

Being an air sign with a love for understanding the ‘big picture’, have yoga and tantra helped you to cultivate this, or forced you to completely re-think what you thought you knew?

Many aspects I had never really given attention to in such depth before the courses. So the ‘big picture’ has been cultivated and greatly enhanced as a result. The courses continue to help me refine and give greater clarity to my thoughts and beliefs.. And just at the beginning!
But certainly many questions have been raised that I had not consciously voiced before. And greater coherence has been given to feelings that I had, but had not consciously expressed or given focus to. The timing of when I came across the course fitted perfectly for where I was in life. In a practical sense it has certainly taught me to appreciate the journey more, as I try to understand the ‘big picture’.

Your spiritual life is obviously important to you – you have spent time in India with teachers there, as well as doing the courses here with us, but you also have a busy work life; How easy do you find it to combine these two worlds? Do they conflict or complement each other?

For me they complement each other. I enjoy the contrasting worlds of business and spirituality and the challenges that arise.
For me there are many qualities that are taught in these two worlds. To name but a few. Determination, patience and persistence was initially developed and needed to be a success in the business world. Empathy, love and understanding of myself and others, has been more developed within the spiritual world. Of course these qualities are not mutually exclusive and are present, developed and valid in both. These qualities, and more, can certainly complement the ‘two worlds’. Although the inner journey has become more of a priority to me, both helping me towards my goals of life and to contributing to the world we live in.

And finally, when a friend heard I was interviewing an Aquarian and saw that amazing list of qualities, she thought out loud “Mmmmm, I wonder what they’re like as lovers?” Can you shed any light on the matter!?

Great question! However can’t reveal everything us Aquarians hold dear in this interview. Some things are better experienced. But I hope she has the pleasure of an Aquarian lover. The joys will all be revealed then!

Thank you, I’ll pass that on! So, thank you for doing this interview. Any last words of wisdom to leave us with? One thought that has been with you today…

Keep smiling. Whether you feel you want to or not. It’s hard not to feel good when smiling!

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The beginnings of any love relationship are always magical, free, intense and full of happiness. Attraction is strong and powerful and we are able to love unconditionally. We feel intensely polarised by our lover, and very open. However, we often forget the source of our passion and love in such moments. As we ignore the source, we begin to consume the relationship, moment by moment, and as a result the flames of our passion slowly die down, and this is why many beautiful beginnings don’t go so far in the long term.

Tantrics believe that being conscious of all the processes at the beginning is a key to long term fulfilling relationships. There is a certain energy, a certain excitement and feeling we should savour and then evoke later, to make every moment, even 10 or 20 years down the line, like a new beginning; falling in love again and again and again. Tantrics talk about evoking the energy of the beginning. By doing this, we make every future moment a new beginning, and keep the flames of passion alive.

So how can we do this? In those moments when you are with your lover and also when you are not, bring into your awareness those wonderful feelings from this initial period and let that excitement, that buzz, fill your being. It’s about bringing them into your consciousness and not leaving them forgotten in the subconscious depths! By doing this repeatedly, you will feel how your relationship develops an aliveness and a new-born feel.

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The path of tantra is always said to begin by knowing and accepting where we are starting from – it is very difficult to successfully navigate a journey if we don’t know where we are originating from.

This requires inner honesty – often the person we lie to the most is ourself!

To be able to recognise our own starting point, it is tremendously helpful to learn about the archetypes of gender, soul and personality – if we don’t have the key to the map, how can we navigate its features? Fundamentally these are the landscape we need to traverse, or understand from an altogether higher perspective, in order to get to know and realise our true divine nature – this is exactly why we deal with so many archetypal energies in tantra, and why these are exemplified to us by guides who know them fully. Part of what makes tantra an accelerated path is the ability to learn by assimilating knowledge and experience from teachers, and therefore bypassing the much longer route of suffering that would normally result from the ignorance of such principles.

The Enneagram workshop will help us decode the personality types which make up our egos, to understand why we react the way we do to certain situations and why we get along with certain people and clash with others. These are somehow constructed upon the framework of our soul archetypes, which are the aspects of our fundamental gender.

 

To get the ball rolling, here is a link to a highly insightful, and entertaining (“it’s funny because it’s true!”) talk by an Australian psychologist called Allan Pease, about the fundamental differences between men and women: