Winter Retreat Day 3: Tuesday, February 25
Today’s offering is from a dear mentor, teacher and friend, the renowned Aditi Devi. We met while living and working at Tara Mandala Buddhist Retreat Center in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Her biography is included at the bottom of this post. If her practice lineage calls to you, please visit her website http://aditidevi.com/.
“My dear sister-friend Arwen has invited me to offer a simple practice for your online winter retreat focusing on the base of the body, the pelvis. In my own spiritual lineage, we move energy into the pelvis to bring more life force (aka shakti or prana or chi) into our bodies. I want to offer a simple breathing practice to support you in coming into a more subtle awareness of your inner worlds that originate in the pelvis.
This practice can be done at any time of the day and I have a special preference for just after arising or just before bed. Find your way to a comfortable sitting position (on the ground or in a chair) with a straight, yet not rigid, spine. Let there be space in your elongated torso and ease in the pelvis. As you settle in, notice that we have a habit of holding our stomachs in which can cause tension in the pelvic region affecting our overall good health. Here, we let our bellies soften and find ease.
We will let a Sanskrit stanza lead us into this simple breath practice. As you read, let your breath flow in through both nostrils; bring your breath deeply into the pelvis. Then, exhale through both nostrils. Your mouth will remain closed for this practice and your tongue may rest ever so lightly on the roof or your mouth, a little behind your teeth. As you breath in this fashion, you may feel a stirring in your pelvic region, an animation, or perhaps even a little discomfort. There is no need to do anything about any of these sensations. Just let your breath support your encounter with yourself and your own inner worlds here.
Breath flows in, breath flows out,
Traveling always the curving path of the Goddess.
Breath flows spontaneously of its own will.
Thus all breathing beings
Continually worship Her.
Be conscious of this unconscious prayer,
For She is the most holy place of pilgrimage.
She wishes for you to enter this temple,
Where each breath is adoration
Of the infinite for the incarnate form.
This stanza comes from a book entitled The Radiance Sutras: Tantra Yoga Teachings for Opening to the Divine in Everyday Life is by Lorin Roche (2008, pp. 82-83) and based on the ancient and powerful Vijnana Bhairava Tantra. If you have an interest in Tantric goddesses, this small book may be of interest as a resource for you.
May your retreat be fruitful and rejuvenative. May all beings benefit.
Love and blessings,
About Aditi Devi Ma
Aditi Devi began the study and practice of South Asia Tantric traditions more than 24 years ago. As an initiatedyogini, pujarini (ritualist, priestess), lineage holder, and authorized teacher, she has lived and practiced her sadhanawith adepts in Nepal, India, and Tibet. Aditi Devi Ma’s practice, teaching, research and writing focus on the embodiment of the divine feminine in the Shakta Tantric traditions of India and Nepal. She earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Asian Studies, and was a Fulbright Scholar and college professor.
Aditi Devi is authorized to teach what are called the Kali Practices focusing on the reverence of women as embodiments of the divine and awakening in the body, in deep relationality. When not wandering, Aditi Devi Ma’s teaching home is in Boulder, Colorado. Here, in the midst of a deep yogic community, she teaches privately, offers regular Kali Puja and Kirtan, yoga, and meditation. She is also a faculty member at the Integral Center.
Her first book In Praise of Adya Kali: Approaching the Dark Goddess Through the Song of Her Hundred Names(Hohm Press, 2014) is available directly from Aditi’s website www.aditidevi.com.