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?

5 thoughts on “Chocolate Yoga Gets in Trouble!

  1. I am assuming that that is the same church hall I rocked up to one wet Wednesday for Ellen Evolove’s Spirit Circle only to find a Hearst. I hadn’t received the email from Ellen who had cancelled due to flooding however had it gone ahead it would have been over the body of a corpse as the church people hadn’t let her know that there was a funeral at the same time. Having been born into a Catholic family I can categorically state that whether this site is Vatican or not it is still all about money..Total power totally corrupts and all that. So we accept, walk away or promote change. As you say it is predominately a Rainbow region therefore, leaning toward change, lets build our own. Build it and they will come. Non-secular Sacred Space. Everyone welcome!

  2. Hallelujah …….!!!!! At last the Catholic Church is being challenged to be accountable for the countless “sexual woundings” of innocent children. I am grateful to have the opportunity to express and declare my experience and opinion about my Catholic upbringing and how it affected my WHOLEBEING as an innocent little sweet girl, potential vibrant teenager whom existed on guilt and shame frequently, further developing into an angry, creatively repressed and chronically depressed woman. The emotional and spiritual confusion from my Catholic ethos is one to be very much questioned. The fear and violation inflicted upon young children which, in my opinion, caused conflict between sex and spirituality within the Catholic Church is very complex and political to say the least.

    Some years ago, I woke one morning and questioned, out of fascination, curiosity and emotional pain, what, where, why and how this blissful and dimensional energy of orgasm is and the power of it, which took me on a long and traumatic journey of healing and study. I now embrace with gratitude my loving sexual energy as a sacred and spiritual form. Infact, my passion is in supporting woman through their emotional turmoil to support and allow them to express and understand their own sexuality freely.

    Sjhara, you presented a powerful and honouring stand presenting your workshop at the Catholic Church. I commend you. I’m backing you 100% .
    Sexuality and Spirituality for me are one of the same thing, and I agree, “this” for a better word – must, need, is ready for change and we, as gods beings, born through the wonderment life force of sex and spirit, it is our “birth right” to own, honour, love and pleasure ourselves with the gift of “bliss” that has been given to us through our bodies and mind and not have this “glorious mysterious boundless gift” subjugated from us because of misery, ignorance, and the likes of political power.

    All the very best to you

    Lovingly,

    Angeleine

  3. hey lovely… your work is sooo apreciated… try the CWA Hall behind the Mullum civic… if it is big enough… and very cheap to rent … love and blessings on the coming birth…

  4. I admire your courage and passion ! I believe that sexuality is an important, spiritual aspect of the human being. However, some people have a totally view on it, different from mine and different from yours. Had you tried to organize this kind of event in a temple that worships the penis ( there are in certain parts of the world ) you might have been more successful. I am saying this because you were a bit overtaken with your enthusiasm: the church has the right to be cautious considering the reputation and scandals; the church HAS a secular established attitude towards sexuality. Reform and change sound good but people resist change and when you say sex the Church understands “scandal”, taboo, while you understand divinity, spirituality, the Church cannot at this point in time “transmute” its meaning into your purpose.
    Some people have absolutely no idea what yoga means, they think of it as a sect, for them is somehow obscure and the name of your event has very promiscuous vibes to them, especially given the reputation of some yoga teachers or groups that perform naked yoga or have sex with their students. The Church might have thought the event might turn into a mass orgy. After all the scandals and the decline they face and fear !


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