Why Tantric Yoga Soul Gazing is Your New Favorite Practice
Communication occurs on many levels beyond talking and listening. Magic happens when the energy lines between people open. Soul gazing is a tantric technique that gives practitioners an altered state of consciousness by staring into another person’s eyes for ten minutes.
“Like iron filings being drawn to a powerful magnetic source, we experience ourselves as being ineluctably drawn closer to a shared feeling of union, relatedness and love. Where formerly we were two separate beings, we join together through the practice and become something that neither of us could quite be on our own.”
~ Johnson, “The Spiritual Practices of Rumi”
What is Tantra Yoga?
The Tantric practice aims to expand beyond perceived limitations of yogic philosophy and the asanas. When one meditates it is the space between thoughts where one begins to find a glimpse of inner peace. As yogis, we cultivate that space until the thoughts become less and less obtrusive, and the space between them becomes vast.
The exploration of the subtle energies within the body and their connection to the universe provide the opportunity to understand the purpose of life and the principles of union in new dimensions.
Try a Soul Gazing Excersize With a Partner
- Settle into a loose, cross-legged position (typically the larger person in Sukhasana first). Your partner then sits on your thighs and crosses their ankles behind your back.
- Touch your third eye centers (space between the eyebrows) as you both lengthen through your spines. Gaze lightly into each other’s eyes as you inhale and exhale through the nose.
- Place your palm on your partner’s heart center and have them place their palm over yours.
- Together, take five breaths, allowing a natural synchronicity of breath to emerge.
- Begin gazing into each other’s eyes. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but persist.
- Surrender to the intimate experience of both your and your partner’s heartbeat. Try this for 10 minutes.
Expand Your Capacity for Intimacy
If you’re practicing Tantra Yoga on your own or with a partner, you’re expanding your capacity for intimacy and union. With practice, we’re able to get up close and intimate with the beliefs and behaviors that hold us back from the intimacy we desire. In addition, Tantric techniques are provided to evolve beyond these barriers so that each and every one of us may thrive and prosper.
Purifying Through Fire: Creating a Fire Ceremony
The ancient Vedic culture, from which yoga is derived, has a long-standing tradition of rituals designed to pay homage to and communicate with the divine. In a Puja ceremony, one makes simple offerings in gratitude for the blessings they have received and to return a piece of these gifts back to spirit. In a Yajna, the ritual is more extensive. Here Brahman or Vedic priests communicate with specific aspects of the divine through the messenger Agni, the fire God. Yajnas, as prescribed in the Vedas, follow a specific template which include intention, offerings, and specific mantras to be recited. The following article describes the basic tenants of Yajna and Puja to provide a template for practitioners to create their own fire ceremony of purification and transformation.
1. Begin in Fullness
A central tenant in yoga is the notion of “purnam” or wholeness. All that exists arises from wholeness and is in itself whole. It is essential in our communion with spirit to understand that we are not separate from and seeking union; instead we are unified and remembering.
Purnam exists throughout the entire life cycle; from the blessing of a newborn baby to the cremation grounds of Varanassi, the wholeness of life is acknowledged through its entirety. As an individual soul, or, we go through a journey of transformation as our life unravels to reveal new layers of understanding. Regardless of one’s disposition, place in life, failures or successes, each individual is of “purnam” and as such, divinely whole. The practice of purification serves to dissolve the illusion of separation and bring the aspirant back into their knowing of wholeness.
As you prepare your body and mind for fire ceremony, do so from the intrinsic understanding that you are whole exactly as you are. Bring your whole self forward. Allow all parts of you, from the beautiful to unseemly, to open to the direction and guidance of spirit.