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tantra kula pilgrimage

 

*VARANASI*

 *HOLI FESTIVAL*

*KAMAKHYA TEMPLES*

      *KALIGHAT*     

 March 9-22, 2019

$3150 All inclusive starting at Kamakhya - Varanasi

$250  Reserves your space. 

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The trip of a lifetime

Join us on a 14 day pilgrimage as we travel through some of the holiest places in India. Here we will practice goddess worship using our bodies as living altars. Our practices will surround left-hand Sri Vidya Tantra rituals that create profound healing experiences and ecstatic awareness through awakening our Kundalini Shakti. 

Each day will begin with a physical practice of Kalari, yoga and pranayama. Kalari is the oldest known martial art form and is said to be the origin of Yoga and Kung Fu. These physical practices will strengthen the body and nervous system and create a container to safely hold the intensified shakti energy that is called in through these rituals. Our dear friend and teacher, Lakshman, will be leading us with mischief and mastery through Tantric pujas and Kalari practices. Lakshman comes from a lineage of Kalari Masters and Pujaris dating back thousands of years and is a lifelong practitioner of Sri Vidya Tantra.

We will all converge at the sacred Kamakhya Temple in Guwahati. This Temple represents the yoni (womb) of the sacred mother. Here we will have 5 days of ritual, prayer and puja, diving deep into Goddess worship at its primal source and connecting to our own bodies through prayer, power and pleasure. From Kamakhya, we will travel to Kolkata and enter the fierce power of Kali at Kalighat Temple. This temple offers an authentic experience of Kali at her wildest beauty, and you will walk away electrified and pulsating with her energy. From Kolkata, we will travel by train to Varanasi, the oldest living city in the world. It is believed that those who are cremated here are offered immediate enlightenment and liberation from samsara. In Varanasi, we will stay overlooking the Ganges River and explore the breathtaking beauty of this ancient city.

Our days will be rich with meditations at ancient temples, explorations of the ghats on the banks of the Ganges River and daily practices of Kalari, yoga and pranayama. Evenings will be filled with group celebrations and puja rituals designed to awaken the divine sleeper within each of us. Our last two days in Varanasi will be spent celebrating Holi, the magnificent festival of colors, where the entire city is overtaken with bold color and ecstatic celebration. 

 

 

Are you ready for the adventure of a lifetime?

  • Traditional Tantric Goddess worship 
  • Pranayama practice
  • Prayer and meditation at ancient temples 
  • Kalari martial arts practice
  • Tantric pujas
  • Travel India with Traditional Tantric lineage holders
  • Shyama puja
  • Yoni puja
  • Lingam puja
  • Ganges river sunrise/ sunset boat trip
  • The incredible India train experience
  • Open air markets
  • Traditional meal experience
  • Private tours through temples
  • Kolkata highlights
  • Ganges river prayers

THE DESTINATIONS

 

KAMAKHYA * KALIGHAT * VARANASI* HOLI FESTIVAL

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Without change, something sleeps inside of us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.
— Frank Herbert

 

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KAMAKHYA TEMPLE

Kamakhya, the goddess of desire, is depicted in this temple as a great stone yoni. This is a place to worship desire, creation, pleasure, and the great void. The Kamakhya temple is one of the oldest and most revered shrines of Shakti in all of India.

This temple is an important destination for tantrics, and it is said to be a necessary stop for all who are following the path of the goddess. Instead of worshipping a statue or image of Devi, there is a sculpture of the goddess' yoni covered with water and set deep within the center of the temple. This symbol of female genitalia, representing all of creation, is the main focus of worship and reverence. 

Traditional Tantric ritual is practiced here and pilgrims come from all over India to worship the goddess in this ancient place. The town surrounding the temple is steeped in history, and simply wandering the streets often leads to mystical experiences. We come here to to be absorbed into a different rhythm of life and to let our shakti begin to rise to the surface. 


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VARANASI

As the oldest living city in the world, Varanasi has a captivating and timeless beauty that makes you feel as if you are walking through a dream. Stepping into this timeless world is an experience that is vastly different from what we're used to in the west, and there is no option but to surrender to its rhythm. You will feel like you are walking into a National Geographic image of ancient India, and the scenery here is truly breathtaking.

People travel from all over India to the Ganges River to pray, to be healed, and release their karmas into the sacred waters. The ghats (steps) that line the Ganges are full of daily life and are always draped with brightly colored saris hanging to dry, women washing their pots, people bathing, children playing, painted boats floating down the river, Sadhus contemplating, merchants selling, and people just sitting and enjoying the sunshine. Walking through the streets of Varanasi and along the banks of the Ganges is an experience unlike any other.

This is the city of liberation. It is believed that dying and being cremated here at the banks of the Ganges will offer you immediate enlightenment. Here, death is treated with respect and celebration, and the celebration of death is woven into daily life.

 All prayers made here and all acts of worship are multiplied in their power because of the potent energy and spiritual quality of this Varanasi.


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HOLI FESTIVAL

Holi is the Hindu festival marking the arrival of spring. Also known as the Festival of Color, it is a two day celebration where the streets and people are overtaken with rich color, street music, dance parties and all night celebrations. It is a festival of fertility, color, love, and the triumph of good over evil. 

Holi is best known for the colored powder that everyone tosses into the air and at each other in an outrageous display of joy and freedom. On this day, you will see rainbows of color drenching the streets and alleyways of the holy city of Varanasi.

ALL JOURNEYS HAVE SECRET DESTINATIONS OF WHICH THE TRAVELLER IS UNAWARE
— Martin Buber

PRACTICE TOGETHER

Tantra * Kalari * Yoga

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TANTRA

We will practice Sri Vidya Tantra to open our minds, hearts and bodies to be able to accept divine experience. The rituals are practiced by worshipping the power of the goddess through our own bodies, in the belief that each of the chakras holds a different spiritual significance. The human body is seen as a sacred space where each chakra represents an altar and is a powerful place from which to worship. 

Sitting in a safe and trusted circle of practitioners and led by a trained pujari, we will connect in to the divine force that exists within our own bodies. This will allow us to acknowledge the power and sacredness of our body/ mind connection and we will begin to transform our relationship to pleasure, sexuality and prayer.

Left-Hand Tantrics believe that all of our potential power is sleeping inside each of us at the base of our spine. This power is called Kundalini Shakti, and the goal of left-hand tantra is to awaken this force. Once this has been activated, it opens our hearts, allows us access to our personal power, and stimulates our creative genius. 

This path can be controversial because it engages with taboo elements of sensual pleasure. These taboos are seen as having great spiritual power and can connect you powerfully to the divine or it can lead you astray. Teasing these taboos can be dangerous if not practiced with awareness and guidance.  

The tantric path requires great discipline and teaches us to have razor focus amidst intense experience. It is considered 'warrior' training for daily life and it is important to note that the left-hand path is often misinterpreted as promoting indulgence in pleasure. In order for one to have a healthy relationship with pleasure, one must learn to not indulge mindlessly. This can lead to addiction and a numbness.

Tantra is a coming home to the body. An awakening through the senses as a spiritual practice. While Tantra is not exclusively about sexuality, developing heightened awareness of your bodies sensation and breath will help you deepen your sexuality and allow you to experience more intimacy in daily life. Tantric rituals invite you to listen with your body and to awaken the electric shakti energy that is within you. They encourage you to build a relationship with your breath and with the world around you, and will allow you to experience pleasure in all things: including your physical body, your sexuality and your connection to the earth. 

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KALARI

Kalari (Kalaripayattu) is one of the oldest physical art forms in the world and is believed to be the origins of many of the martial and healing arts that exist today. 

It was created for warriors and healers alike, and is known as the tantra yoga of martial arts. Kalari helps to embody the power and fluidity necessary to lead with tenacity, and teaches us how to encounter each moment with greater instinctive connection and awareness. This practice helps us connect our minds with our primal bodies by inviting our Kundalini-life force energy to rise through a series of primal postures. 

The purpose of the Kalari practice is to give one a transformative psycho-spiritual experience by synchronizing the mind with the body. 

It involves the art of activating 107 energy points in the body, which can balance and correct the body’s energy. It aims to make the practitioner not just a warrior, but also a self-healer, and one who can also help others with their healing energy.

 


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YOGA & PRANAYAMA

Yoga and pranayama will be a part of our group practice.

Yoga was developed 5,000 years ago in India as a comprehensive system for wellbeing on all levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. We will be integrating the physical purifying practice of Yoga Asana with practices for mental, emotional and spiritual healing.

Pranayama is the practice of merging the mind with the breath and controlling one's life-force. It is said that the quality of your breath determines your quality of life, and developing a pranayama practice can help you to bring more lifeforce and mindfulness to everything you do.

Many studies have been done to document the beneficial effects of yogic breathing in treating common disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, COPD, and asthma. Studies have also suggested that slowing down and controlling the breath can improve longevity. 

Breathing is the physical part of thinking and thinking is the psychological part of breathing.” – Ayurveda

About THE GUIDES

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Lakshmanan Gurukkal

KALARIPAYATTU & SRI VIDYA

Shri Ramesan Lakshmanan, the Gurukkal of Kalarigram, hails from a traditional Kalaripayattu family (Hindustan Kalari Sangam, estd. 1950) based out of Calicut (Kerala, India). He has made it his life-mission to revive and restore this ancient art form; and rediscover the wisdom that made Kalairpayattu the bedrock of the very culture and tradition of Kerala’s classical dance forms.

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Miriam Elyse

TANTRA YOGA PRACTITIONER and ACUPUNCTURIST

Miriam Elyse is a licensed Acupuncturist, certified Tantra Yoga instructor and founder of Pleasure as Medicine. She has her Master’s degree in Science and traditional Chinese Medicine  and has been practicing acupuncture for 11 years. She began studying Tantra Yoga for her personal practice during acupuncture school and experienced first hand the profound affects of awakening shakti within the context of healing.

Her experience with yoga and meditation at a young age put her on a healing path and helped her find a way out of a dark place. Yoga helped her experience confidence, power and grace in her body for the first time as a young adult. She began studying with healers from Native American and Tantric traditions to deepen her understanding of healing the body and mind through ritual. Miriam experienced such profound effects with awakening shakti through Tantra yoga, her work today revolves around helping others to access this inner power. Today she has a private practice in southern California, holds monthly workshops and leads retreats all over the world.

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Nikhil Varagiri

KALARI INSTRUCTOR

Nikhil is a devoted practitioner and teacher of Kalaripayattu at Kalrigram in Auroville.  He travels throughout India teaching and participating in demonstrations and theatrical performances when he is not busy teaching at Kalarigram in Auroville or cruising around with us as we experience India. 

 
 
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Rachael Hensley

The Savage Yogi

Rachael has been practicing tantra and guiding students through India since 2009. In love with the culture and history, she has found that Sri Vidya Tantra has liberated her in ways that traditional healing modalities could not. She has studied mantra with Sri Amritananda Natha Saraswati at Devipuram, Kalaripayattu with Sri Ramesan Lakshamanan at Kalarigram, and Tantric Yoga with Psalm Isadora in Los Angeles. She is the behind the scenes 'fixer' for groups as they travel through India.