Do you ever feel like you're not a good enough yogi — that you don't spend enough time meditating and doing asana? Me too.
I used to feel like I was a bad yoga teacher — someone who wasn't living up to the title. See, I like to wear stylish clothes and love when my Vogue and Vanity Fair magazines arrive in the mail, and I also get an indecent amount of pleasure from good dark chocolate. So because of all this I figured I wasn't really a true yoga teacher, just a gal teaching yoga.
But that's when I discovered Tantra — a yoga practice that can help us love our life and have a deeper spiritual connection to everything in it. In Tantra, our whole life is a spiritual practice. By maintaining awareness, anything we do, encounter or create, can be a way for us to gain access the soul — our connection to the universe.
So let's say that you love reading Vanity Fair, or even US Weekly. When done with awareness, this can actually be a spiritual practice. (I'm serious!) Think of how much we all react when greeted by images of models who we think are more attractive than us, or of celebrities who are being pointed out as making some horrible fashion mistake. Whether these images are being heralded as beautiful or highlighted as silly, we can use this as a way to access and live from our soul.
(Hang out with me here for a second, I promise I'm headed somewhere enlightened ... )
Approaching a magazine like this spiritually, means taking notice of whether we're feeling inadequate, or if we're judging. Our ego has taken charge. So if we can see the ego's judgment firsthand, we can also drop the reaction. We accept that the reaction was there and that its purpose was to teach us how to let go of our insecurities, which can cause us to judge or feel less than worthy.
With this practice, we can eventually move through these insecurities with love and acceptance, or sometimes, they will release instantaneously. Only then can we enter into the peace and spaciousness of our loving soul.
Et voila! US Weekly has just become our very own spiritual teacher.
Now, try to imagine this teaching expanded into other areas of your life. Let's say you know someone who just drives you up the wall ... you can't stand being around this person because you hate how you feel when you're around them. Many of us have these people in our lives, but there's usually a cosmic reason for it.
Believe it or not, these people are actually teachers. They're here to show us what gets in the way of being connected to our soul and living our awakened life in the here and now. They're here to teach us what limiting beliefs we're carrying that don't serve us; that keep us from being our best selves. So it's not this person who bothers you who's the trouble — it's how you react to them.
For example, an architect I'll call "Laurie" really didn't like one of her fellow female architects at work. Why? Because the other architect constantly praised what Laurie was wearing and it drove Laurie nuts. When we look at this scenario, we might ask: "Well what's so bad about that?".
When examined on a deeper level, Laurie's reaction wasn't actually based on what the other architect was saying. It was based on her belief that if the male architects in the firm overheard these compliments, they'd stop regarding her for her skills and talents, and start thinking of her as just a nicely dressed woman. Turns out Laurie was afraid her male colleagues would lose respect for her.
So it would appear the other female architect was actually a great cosmic gift, helping Laurie to see her own insecurities and gifting her with an opportunity to let them go.
Tantra understands that this life we've been gifted with has so much more to offer us than distractions and judgment. Everything we do, encounter or create, can be a way for us to access our connection to the universe.
Whether we're in the midst of doing something we love, or being deeply challenged by something we hate, we are having a spiritual experience. This very experience has the potential to unite us with the deepest source, realigning ourselves with ease, liberation and love.