Tantra Sadhana

mudraToday is our precious day off from our hectic volunteer schedules here at Mount Madonna. Getting up at 5:30am for our daily yoga, meditation and pranayama session has been difficult at times and really challenging, especially as we both have diligently practiced Dinacharya each morning prior to our 2 hour morning yoga class. This morning we instead chose to arise at 4am as we were asked to participate in a Tantra Sadhana practice. On Thursday morning, Amita (the teacher and first female Puja Priestess here at the Center) asked slaDE and I if we practiced the 3 bandhas (interior Body Locks used in Yoga – Jalandhara Bandha {Throat Lock}, Mula Bandha {Root Lock} and Uddiyana Bandha {an Upward Abdominal Lock}), and if we had practiced it consistently over a 3 month period. As I had learned about the bandhas when I first learned Ashtanga Yoga asana in India 6 years ago, I have regularly used at least 2 of the bandhas in my practice (Jalandhara not so much). This was one of the desired requirements for participating in their Tantra Sadhana ceremony as taught by Baba Hari Dass at MMC. slaDE has lesser experience with using the bandhas in his practice, but as they needed a 7th couple, we were both invited in to the circle. Those undergoing their YTT 500 (yoga teacher training) were especially encouraged to join in this sadhana (a spiritual practice). From the email we received, these were the prerequisites:

Requirements are:

  • a working knowledge of the 24 hand mudras preceding meditation and the 8 following meditation;
  • intermediate pranayama practices (including Bhastrika, Sahit Kumbhaka, and the Maha Mudra series);
  • intermediate asana with some breath retention (modifications will be given);
  • and the ability to comfortably sit for roughly 2-3 hours, staying in the circle for the entirety of the practice.

In order to move forward with this practice, we need, but are not limited to, 7 couples: 7 men and 7 women. Gender difference is the only stipulation to create a couple; you need not be connected romantically to form a pairing.

We were delighted at the prospect of particpating in such a spiritual practice reserved for the community members who were longer residents, practitioners and residents here at MMC. What an experience this would be, we thought. Truly I had NO idea. Prior to this morning, slaDE and I practiced the hand mudras as taught by Babaji. The 3 hour ritual was an amazing ceremony that invoked a pinnacle of male and female energies. Couples were placed in one big circle, reflecting an infinite wheel / the 6 chakras. The 7th pair were the facilitators and the altar, seated in the centre of the circle. There were beautiful observances of prayer, meditation, asana and advanced pranayama over the entire span of 3 hours. It was incredibly powerful, deeply moving and challenging at times (especially knowing that I couldn’t fidget or move from the room … I’m was born restless :)).

The Maha Mudras explained:

Jalandhara Bandha {Throat Lock}

  • a Bandha for your throat, the throat chakra and the thyroid gland, stimulating blood flow and letting you breathe freely

 Mula Bandha{Root Lock}

  • stimulates your nervous system while moving muscles consciously that you have never moved before

Uddiyana Bandha {an Upward Abdominal Lock}

  • better digestion, no sexual problems, self-esteem and a healthy blood flow are only a few benefits of this very effective pose

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