Two friends and I arrived in Florida on a balmy Monday, sunshine everywhere; a great relief from icy Detroit. Per our usual yoga immersions, we headed right to Whole Foods to first get the necessary energy supports: food, coconut water, and more, to help our physical vehicles maintain a strong, healthy space.
We were about to embark on a new journey of yoga we'd never experienced before, the winter solstice gathering in the Kundalini community. Two of us had been to many Kundalini immersions however the third gal hadn't. I was so proud of her courage to jump right in.
The first two days consisted of optional yoga workshops; so many to choose from. We settled into the prescribed Yogi Bhajan solstice diet for 7 days designed to help the releasing/cleansing process. Breakfast was a soup, lunch was a quinoa salad, oiled potato, ghee, and salsa. Dinner was mung beans and rice, salad, spicy onions, beets and carrots.
A wonderful part of Winter Solstice is that it runs entirely by Karma Yoga, or selfless service work. Long before you arrive, you are asked to sign up online for a job. I helped in the kitchen: one day chopping massive amounts of vegetables to feed 800 people, and other days sweeping the mess hall floor to clear out huge amounts of sand tracked in from outside. Everyone who attends is asked to give 2 hours of service a day. Everyone from teachers, musicians, administrative folks to students, and we all donated our time and effort.
I soon realized the focus of solstice is really 3 days devoted to White Tantric Yoga. I had done a one-day event last spring in Chicago. That was intense, to say the least. And even then, we only did one 62-minute meditation; the rest were shorter.
White Tantric is a powerful day of partner meditations done over a span of 8 - 10 hours with 20-minute breaks in between. Male polarity on one side of the row, female on the other. It is said that ONE day of WT clears 30 years of karma from your subconscious.
Our 3 days were the same: four 62-minute meditations and two 31-minute meditations! It was like jumping right into an "ironman." Most of the meditations are very active, holding each other's arms up for the 62 minutes! Oh my lord.
If you have a partner, great. If you need one, you can pair up with another solo person. My 3 days of WT featured 3 completely different partners. This is the ultimate practice in trust and true intimacy. Where else do you stare into someone's eyes, soul, touch and chant for an entire day much less three?
You learn to quickly enter a zone of being comfortable with the uncomfortable. Most of the meditations include staring into each other's eyes the entire time. Your knees are almost touching to maintain double lines so the Z-tantric energy can flow correctly. Your body starts to hurt from sitting so long. This means that you quickly have to let down your walls and be ok with not being in control - be ok with each of you working together to transform the uncomfortable - physically, emotionally and mentally.
All of a sudden, you are helping each other. The other person's leg may stretch across yours or you have to practically sit in their lap to be able to touch forehead to forehead and stare into each other's eyes, leaning on each other's forearms for 62 minutes! And remember, you may have never met this person until this moment.
Can I really let go of all my expectations, projections, fears, worries, doubts, let down all my walls and allow myself to be loved?
For this is the true definition of love. Not what we see in the movies.
True intimacy: In To Me I See. And then, ALL my deepest stuff came up. It took me by surprise, it was releasing so fast.
Day One: I didn't have a partner so I was matched with a man I had never met. It was a huge day of practicing patience and understanding for him and for myself. I didn't do so well and that was ok. I needed to go through those feelings and releases of expectations, anger and resentment that were apparently still in there regarding relationships. Ha, they were actually all mine.
Day Two: I partnered with my close girlfriend of almost 20 years. That was a cinch. We know each other so well and are really at the same place consciously, so we could easily adjust and work together through anything.
Day Three: This time I partnered with a different man who was a friend of a friend, but we really didn't know each other at all. Just a few statuses on Facebook since September. It was a beautiful experience to have a male partner again (very different from the man on the first day) with whom to ride the waves of the challenging meditations. He created a safe space and helped balance the work as we navigated through ups and downs. Although I was newer to this practice, he was not - he'd done this before.
I could feel my heart opening wide. So wide that it temporarily hurt to let that much universal love in. The expansion was so big. Thank you, Divine One, for showing me there are men interested in doing this work. I needed to see and most importantly, feel, this.
WTY is the most beautiful time for two people and also a room of 800 people (2,000 at summer solstice) intimately wanting to connect for 10 hours a day, 3 days straight. It takes so much courage, commitment and the willingness to not be afraid to be that intimate without sex, drugs or rock and roll. This is serious intimacy. No way around it.
I often glanced around me to witness so many couples, in relationship with each other, doing this practice. What a powerful bonding and healing practice to do together. You can do it with the same sex as we all embody male/female polarities, but I couldn't help but think that as a committed couple in a committed relationship, it would be an incredible practice to do together twice a year, if not more. How healing and deeply connecting for your relationship.
By the evening of the third WT day, I was vibrating with an overflowing, high feeling of love and incredible energy. It was pulsating through me so much that I literally couldn't sleep. I learned the next day that this particular WT focused on clearing the heart. Aha! Makes so much sense. One of the teachers sent us home with a 40-day meditation to help keep the heart space open and nourished with nectar.
I know that life doesn't always bring us the safest relationships along our journey, be they intimate, parental, co-workers or friends. However, at some point in our lives, may we somehow, somewhere, all be gifted the incredible experience to feel safe and supported enough to dive deep within ourselves through the divine love of another soul.