Chocolate Yoga Gets in Trouble!
Sexuality and Spirituality Workshop
Recently I was greatly encouraged at the Byron Spirit Festival by the number of Tantra workshops, the huge interest they sparked and the large attendance they received.
A few experiences with running workshops of late had scarred me and I was beginning to think we were destined to remain stuck in the old paradigm of fear, shame, guilt and judgement when it came to sexuality.
Generally, I feel quite inspired along my yogic path to bring sexuality and spirituality back into oneness. In fact wherever there is separation I aspire to bring divine union; whether that’s a separation of ourselves from the divine, our bodies, or our sexuality. To me this is the essence of tantra; bringing the separate parts of ourselves into union and oneness. We are spiritual beings as much as we are physical beings and we are sexual beings as much as we are spiritual beings.
Perhaps I live in my own rose coloured bubble, having grown up in the Rainbow region. But I was quite surprised recently to encounter the resistance still prevalent around sexuality and the separation of sexuality from spirituality. One of the yoga venues that had asked us to host a Chocolate Yoga workshop for them, got cold feet because we themed the workshop for Valentines & named it “Sexuality and Spirituality”. Apparently the clientele was too conservative for such a workshop, even though we clearly explained the workshop was chosen to be a celebration of love, offering a spiritual yogic experience, not a sexual one. With reassurance we spelled out there was no nudity, sexual acts, or touching; that we were working from a purely yogic and spiritual perspective. It was all about the transformation of our sexual energy into spiritual energy, using the kundalini yoga practice to do this. And yes, the celebration of the potency that our sexual energy holds for healing and spiritual enrichment.
Despite the earlier reaction from that venue, we went on to host a successful and utterly divine “Sexuality and Spirituality” workshop here in Mullumbimby. We had good attendance and received hugely positive feedback. Some of the comments at the end of the workshop were…
“I loved the sacral dance and the focus on harmonising sexuality (exactly what I am working on at present). I really enjoyed the space to follow my body and improvise with the cacao.”
“I felt a deep connection to places within that were previously unknown.”
“I felt high, blissed out, heart opened and in love…”
“The cacao brought me to a much, much, much deeper state & chocolate is very much sexuality!”
However after the event, much to my surprise, we were told we could no longer use the church hall for our workshops, because it was not in alignment with the Church philosophy! Presumably they were offended by the title, “Sexuality and Spirituality”. I have since resisted the urge to cry out “But we ARE in alignment – don’t you understand, we are bringing people to spirituality, just like you are!?” Ok granted, in a slightly different way…
Ironically though, I had shared this quote at the start of the workshop:
“Sexual energy is the most powerful form of energy known to us. It creates life!
In many religious traditions, sexuality and spirituality are regarded as polar opposites & sexuality is seen as an obstacle to spiritual attainment.
Not so in Kundalini Yoga! Instead of repressing or defeating our procreative instinct, we accept and rejoice in our sexuality and are then able, through yoga exercise, pranayama and meditation to harness and transmute that powerful energy for healing, rejuvenation, longevity, AND improving our human calibre & spiritual development…”
(Guru Rattana, Sexuality and Spirituality, p.10)
Did I call this in? Had I jinxed myself? Was I naive in thinking we could ‘get away with that’? We had advertised the workshop with flyers on the main street of Mullum after all.
Yet when I look at what is unfolding today with so many sex allegations within the Catholic Church and the Pope’s weary resignation I cannot help wonder whether the Church’s resistance to change is becoming its downfall. In my heart, the separation between sexuality and spirituality within the church is clearly responsible for the sexual wounding and the “hundreds of new allegations of sexual abuse by priests surfacing throughout Europe and the United States”
(http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/benedict_xvi/index.html). The growing movement within various church initiatives calls for reform; priests are asking for both the ordination of women and the abolition of priestly celibacy. But the stance of the Pope was to refuse anything other than ‘Radical Obedience’. This is depressing to say the least.
And yet ripples of change are taking affect anyway. Now the pope has stepped down, there is an opening. Change is possible. Opportunity is dawning. Clearly there still is much sexual wounding in the world and this change may be slow in coming. All the more reason to host and hold workshops on Sexuality & Spirituality, so we can be the change [we] wish to see in the world.
BTW. Chocolate Yoga is now looking for a new venue to host our beautiful Chocolate Yoga workshops, locally. Recommendations welcome! 😉
Was I being naive to want to hold our Sexuality and Spirituality workshop in a church hall? What do you think?