WLCA: Teaching Tools to Make Life Better
It is a word that conjures up crazy sex positions or long hours of love making in most people’s minds, so seeing a class titled, Tantra Yoga Vinyasa: Awakening the Sacred Channel, listed on the first day’s schedule for Wanderlust had me intrigued. Taught by Rod Stryker, a man that is a sparkly representation of what health and vibrancy looks like at 56, I was excited to see how a Tantra yoga class would play out.
Wanderlust introduced me to Rod Stryker in 2011. In the last few years he has taught me many tools that have changed my life for the better. Through his instruction, I learned of the yogic viewpoint that there are four main desires of the soul, and how we can connect with our true purpose through understanding these desires. Knowing this information has helped act as a compass to find my north. His eloquent way of explaining the ways in which yoga can help us create our highest potential made me excited that this was my initiation into this year’s festival.
As Rod began the class explaining with a joke and a twinkle in his eye that we would be sticking to the clothed version of Tantra, the vibe in the airy yoga space became light and delicious. It was apparent that this was not going to have anything to do with making love, but it was going to be just as blissful. By first explaining that the class was a way of creating energy flow within the spine – our true life force – we began a friendly and self-loving practice of pranayama, asanas and meditation. The class left me feeling as if my spine was glowing with a healthy golden light that extended to every cell and every fiber of my being, drenching me in positivity.
I left the yoga tent walking on cloud nine, but little did I know that my Rod Stryker happiness buzz was just beginning. I decided to attend his SpeakEasy lecture later in the day and came away with more tools of blissfulness for my handbag. For the first time in my love affair with yoga I came to understand and feel through doing the truth of why pranayama and meditation are just as important as the asanas. Explaining it with beautiful clarity, Rod expressed how asanas are incredibly purposeful as they help the body to release memories, but asanas are not yoga.
True yoga is a state of being.
By interweaving pranayama and meditation into our practice with asanas we create the absolute meaning of yoga. As explained by Rod, pranayama allows us to expand our lives through the power of our breath. The breath is more powerful than the body. From moment to moment your breath is reflecting your emotional state, and when you start to control the breath it affects the mind. And that is where the power of pranayama comes in. Pranayama, I learned, literally has a major impact on the nervous system and brain just within a few minutes of doing it. By learning to control the breath, you learn how to control the mind.
Where pranayama can help us shift our mind, meditation can help us shift our entire way that we see our life. Rod explained that the consistent act of meditation – even if it is only ten minutes a day – can literally open up the mind to a new way seeing life. It helps us to see the path that will lead us to the greatest amount of happiness.
As the lecture was coming to a close, Rod’s final words resonated deeply and helped me to see how asanas, pranayama and meditation are to be woven together…“Asanas relate to the past. You bring your day with you to the mat to release it through asanas. Pranayama relates to our relationship with the present. We have to be in the moment to control the breath. And meditation relates to the future…by creating a consistent practice, it has a residue of positive effect for the future that will change your life for the better.”
~Shanie Matthews is a dedicated yogi and happiness advocate. She aspires to be the best person she can be while helping others do the samewith her website www.MyHappyPath.com.