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While reading the book Contact Yoga by Tara Lynda Guber, which features partners in yoga poses connecting through seven energetic points in the body, I became greatly educated on how these seven points represent our strengths and weaknesses in life and relationships.
These seven points, which correspond with the seven chakras from root to spine, form places of connection where important energies flow back and forth between people, or not. They also energetically hold the essential bonds and treasures that make a relationship vital including Trust, Passion, Commitment, Love, Communication, Vision and Union. If any of these points are weak or missing, the relationship suffers due to hidden places of conflict within them challenging these treasures, forming our blocks known as Fear, Surrender, Struggle, Vulnerability, Distance, Illusion and Ego.
In Contact Yoga, two people’s energies move in to postures serving their desires for spiritual union with self and other. Making contact with these points helps break down barriers, opening the door to greater emotional connection and intimacy.
How many of us have heard the term “blocked?” We hear the word thrown around repeatedly as today’s modern-day psychological disease for the reason few of us advance to our greater potentials in life and love. Yet, isn't true that many of us are blocked? But for most people, knowing the term alone doesn’t help to break through their manifestation. However, if we begin to explore behind the specific actions and/or behaviors that form our “blocks” we may unravel their mysterious power.
As mentioned, we all long to have strong and stable relationships consisting of:
However, they seem hard to actualize in their positive form. The reason being they all have a specific opposite or shadow counterpart. It helps to visualize the actual “block” better by knowing its counter action loud and clear.
Let’s think about the word “love” for example. According to the practice behind Contact Yoga, the specific block to love comes from its counterpart action of vulnerability, or lack thereof. If we are not willing to become vulnerable, we can not access real love. And we all avoid becoming vulnerable because, let’s face it, we’ve all been hurt and exposing ourselves to vulnerability is very risky. In today’s world we are actually teaching ourselves to develop ‘tougher skin’ taking us even farther away from a root desire for vulnerability. A choice of Cause and Effect in motion.
The first point of contact, the first chakra and foundation of a relationship is Trust. The specific block to Trust is Fear. Approaching life through fear will prevent a life of trust. Again, I can see how connecting to fear over trust leads to this consequence. The next point of contact and treasure is Passion blocked by its counterpart action and shadow Surrender or lack thereof. If we do not approach what we love, SURRENDERING, we cannot reach the experience of passion in a passionate way.
Struggle blocks the next treasure known as Commitment. This word alone scares people, making the idea an immediate mental struggle. So in struggling with our selves, we immediately block the potentially-positive choice to commit.
The fourth treasure and point of focus in Contact Yoga is Love blocked by the non-willingness to become vulnerable. The fifth treasure is Communication which is blocked by its counterpart Distance. If we act distant and are holding our thoughts and emotions in distance we cannot achieve communication with a partner. Yes, I see that. We run far away when we really have so much to say. It is unfortunate how we are all acting out our shadows rather than our light. (But that’s another article!
Our blocks of Illusion impede upon the sixth treasure of Vision which is our ability to see things clearly. To see someone clearly requires going past the illusions of projections and assumptions of what we think we want to see. And finally, Ego blocks the treasured goal we all want of Union.
These hidden areas of conflict are to be embraced, brought in to focus, and transformed where we can then harvest their gifts and the great reward of a life of SAFETY, JOY, FREEDOM, INTIMACY, RAPPORT, CLARITY and GRACE. When passion and desire arise, it can be frightening, but if we surrender to the flow of energy, we experience the joy that passion and pleasure bring. To risk vulnerability is to find intimacy. To have clear communication, we must risk honesty and the reward is inspiration and deeper rapport. To see someone clearly, we need to pierce through the illusions and receive the gift of clarity.
Because the body holds our wounded pasts, we can access awareness in to these areas through the practice of Contact Yoga which puts two people in the same pose at the same time forcing the bodies to touch these centers of stored thoughts, beliefs, memories and repressed goals and desires between the bones.
I interviewed the Contact Yoga creator, author and yoga activist Tara Lynda Guber, who lives in Los Angeles with her husband of over 40 years, Peter. They live this practice daily. Her book also features a slew of celebrities and world renowned yoga teachers engaged in Contact Yoga poses.
EW: Why do you think people are so afraid to get close to one another?
Tara Guber: People are afraid of the death of the self. We all fear not being understood, wanted, accepted and protected. This is a natural state we must accept and overcome, in spite of our fear, if we are to know the deep benefits of true and lasting relationship.
Swiss psychologist Carl Jung said, “We don’t become enlightened by chasing after figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” By bringing our shadow elements to light, we remove the barriers that keep us from union. The shadow aspects of the seven Points of Contact represent places to be embraced.
EW: Is it our natural tendency to experience intimacy or is it something we have to force and break through to reach?
Tara Guber: True intimacy is a profound gift of life we must earn. Intimacy cannot be “forced” as it is not the result of power, but the consequence of trust, love and surrender. Everyone wants to be acknowledged by another person. Touching is Healing! In Contact Yoga, we hang, breathe and let go…
EW: How does society currently define ‘relationship’? Is it just a goal or label?
Tara Guber: I do not think about how society defines ‘relationship.’ I embody the Seven Points of Contact in all my relationships and by doing so evoke those same qualities in others. And if they do likewise, the ripples extend ever outward. One can give it or get it in this practice. For example, the spine holds awareness. A back bend can open mind and body setting us free to move out of a state of thinking. Even though my husband and I have changed our lives and environments through the years, these points of contact have remained a constant for us and reflect the beliefs we share and strive to live by. It is also through my continuing practice with my Contact Yoga partner Ken "Nateshvar" Scott that I have come to learn what true Union is all about.
The body holds a powerful truth and the gift of Contact is when two become one.