17 October 2023

Foreplay carries with it the dynamic energy of the beginning and the first tender touches of the soul of our lover. It sets the tone of beauty and sacredness at the start of Tantric love making. As teachers Alina Halauca and Bogdan Radasanu explain to student Vivienne Rush, foreplay becomes an art when it is practised with imagination, patience and a great deal of heart.

Learn more about the Art of Foreplay in our workshops at Tara! We frequently have workshops on various topics related to eroticism. Next up is our Kama Sutra workshops starting 27th October 2023 with ‘The Art of Foreplay’. See more information here:

14 September 2023

 

We asked our students, “What do you perceive Kashmir Shaivism has brought to your life?”. Read their touching and meaningful answers below:

I am walking through a thick white fog. The earth on my bare feet is my only connection to the reason for my existence. I look for an explanation of my reality there but nothing substantial can be found in the dirt. From time to time in the fog I perceive the tips of white wings of benign presences. Then behind me to my surprise and delight, I hear the sound of horses hooves and the creak of wheels. My heart beats fast, my eyes stretch wide as two lights shine out of the mist. A golden carriage approaches. It is drawn by a black horse and a white horse. A medieval knight, rides out in front carrying before him the blunt sword of mercy. The knight, the horses and the carriage are resplendent in fluttery flags bearing Siva’s trident and a six pointed star: this is the livery of the house of Trika. I am humble in my simple cotton shift and quickly shake the dust from my feet as I enter the carriage of pure reality. From the window the view is magnificent. The air is shimmering with atoms falling in love. I see the knights armour dropping away. The roof of fog above is thinning showing patches of blue and black of starry night. I look behind me, all my belongings are strew along the road. Now they take the shape of fossils, the detritus of my ignorance turning to dust. The horses walk in rhythm, nodding their heads in agreement. The wheels on the carriage turn and fireflies leap and play, shimmering down the spokes towards the centre where they merge in a final flash of surrender. Around the golden coach there are butterflies in constant motion, turning from chrysalis to full flight then back to chrysalis again. “Which path is this?”, I ask the knight. “All paths are the path of the heart”, he replies.” I see I have taken the correct route. “All is mystery and wonder”, says the knight, “do not try to work it out, you are beyond mind, admire the view and all will be revealed.” I see the fog deep and white and occasionally thinning to reveal a golden beam of sunlight and a mystery within that only my heart understands. There is birdsong so I know I am not alone. The divine sounds are silent, only lightning in the air reveals their truth” – Vivienne. 

The Kashmir Shaivism course brought in my life a very direct path to the Heart of God. The awareness of the techniques and the exemplifications opened my being to more and more of what is possible. The techniques that are revealed can be extremely simple and very effective, for example a breathing technique that we learned has stayed with me after practising it for a few weeks and became one of my favourite tool to elevate my consciousness. 
I feel enriched and very grateful for everything that I received in this course.” – Jeno 
 

“Greater understanding of the individual nature and consciousness and the interconnections between them and profound connections of all things and beings.” – Josianne. 

From an intellectual perspective, the Kashmir Shaivism course has been helping me get a deeper understanding of the Tantric principles and practices. I usually find myself having “why” questions on the Tantra and Yoga courses, and this course has been providing the answers to some of those questions brilliantly.  
It has also been helping me get a deeper understanding of myself and the Universe as a whole. 
From an esoteric perspective, it has been one of the most direct ways of receiving Shiva’s grace. I have experienced some of the most beautiful states of His grace during the exemplifications in class” – Sasan. 

About KS, it has enriched my life in many ways. Mainly it is how different levels of understanding are revealed. So many things I had intuitions about, become explained. It has helped me trust my intuitions, and fostered a keener love of learning more. Connections between so many things. Expansion. Growth. Connectedness. Spirit running through us all and in all and everywhere, mystery, beauty, God” – Enrica 

Kashmir Shaivism was the discovery of a spiritual scientific explanation and model of existence and the Universe that co-relates with many of the subject we study to understand the Universe, with the difference that this is observable from almost any scientific lens and empirical experience. 
A profound initiation into understanding God, Universe myself and existence, everything.” – Cintia 

Lots of subtle information. Very structured course. I do not imagine where else I would find these materials. This feels like the knowledge and wisdom underpinning all the great religions. Knowledge to ponder in for a lifetime which will reveal new aspects to me as I grow and mature” – Scott 

Shiva linga, an iconic representation of the Hindu god Shiva

What do I perceive Kashmir Shaivism has brought to my life? 

I have studied Kashmir Shaivism for two years. In that time the rigid cages of thinking about my life, that I thought were real, the idea of myself that I thought was me, have fallen away. The teachings have sounded a bell of truth that I know to be true because it resonates in my heart. These days I am more courageous and less fearful of the unknown.  

All my life I wanted to know the purpose of my life, the purpose of all life on the planet, why I am here and what is existence. Kashmir Shaivism has provided me with many keys to unlock these mysteries and get a sense that there is indeed a ‘unique intelligence and wisdom’ behind the creation of the universe, a creator. 

At the same time the absence of full understanding is perplexing. Partial knowledge is indeed ignorance. I grasp an insight or have an aha moment then later on, I find it hard to recall. I feel elevated when I read the class notes then later on I try to recall the teachings and it takes me many repetitions to embed the knowledge. 

I perceive that Kashmir Shaivism blows my mind. Blows circuits in my brain. My attachment to thinking that life is one single earthly existence & I am here purely to enjoy the fruits of the earth. Having to unlearn before I am able to learn. Esoteric truth needing to be experienced by my awakened heart. 

I feel uplifted by the information about the Tattvas, the 12 Kalis, the Rasas. 

It is wonderful to see the harmony, the symmetry and the complexity of the building blocks of life and the unfoldment of life in time & space crossing the three realms. Again leading me to a sublime experience of myself in which my consciousness is expanded for brief moments & in which I feel connected to the energies of Siva & Shakti, to the earth, to the mysterious sounds and energies of the phonemes, to the moon and to the five fundamental Tattvas. I nurture gratitude in my heart for not ending this incarnation in ignorance. For having broken through. 

The Kanchukas, sometimes seem cruelly immovable being so habituated to feeling that I am my limitations in creativity, energy, knowledge, happiness; limited to the learning I can achieve in this one life. 

Aspiration, spiritual practice & seeing myself as a cosmic being connected to universal forces then becomes very important. 

The multiplicity of Shakti energy forms,  seeing her in so many different forms, experiencing her in the form of blissful nectar, in the multiplicity of the Nityas, the eternal creatives.  

The nature of the energy of the Logos and the connection with the unfoldment of all life, is intriguing and I don’t think I truly understand it. I struggled to see sound as subtle. I struggled to see the breath as subtle. I struggled to see the veil of Maya encasing us in a bubble made of space and energies. I struggled to feel I was the entire universe and that the entire universe was in me. 

How I perceive Kashmir Shaivism opens widely the door to my poetic self & the door to my heart and this is a place that I wish to expand from. There is no going back.” – Vivienne 

A statuette of the dancing Shiva . India, Udaipur

About Kashmir Shaivism for me learning this has made me really appreciate life as this infinite mysterious phenomenon full of magic and to appreciate the connection of everything and understand things like synchronicity to a much deeper level. It has really made the understanding of creation so much more magical. I feel taken to a dreamland whenever I am exposed to this topic. Thank you Eleni and Nikos, I love your class and how you teach.” – Danielle 

The main benefit from my time in the class has been discovering a rich tradition that helps give structure and meaning to my spiritual experiences including meditation and that gives me some solid ground where I feel held and can grow further. I also learnt to observe my mind and emotions as they arise, noticing what thoughts and feelings were coming up for me without attaching to them” – Matthew 

Had insights that I could connect together with the teachings from different traditions, seeing connection with parallel belief systems and experiencing the correlations not just spiritually but with the wider world” – Chris 

Learnt to trust intuition and validation of emotions during meditations, felt a certainty and connection with Shiva and a deeper knowing that I have been on this path before” – Enrica.  

I found a philosophical framework and a model of the universe that makes sense and correlates with my personal experience as well as all the other sources I’ve studied. Also, the meditations go deep and have helped me to embody and awaken my soul”, – Elias 

Gave me practical tools and a framework to navigate life in a way that I found powerful for all areas of my experience” – Cerys.  

Kashmir Shaivism goes much deeper into Laya Yoga.  Sometimes I arrive in the class with agitated mind and then get into the class and leave feeling happier. Feeling the essence of the information. Change perspective on life and the Universe” – Rob 

Knowledge is a highlight. Became more conscious of the steps of this path. Classes: each one is wonderful and exciting, active and different. Wonderful meditations. Classes are engaging. When initially came to the course, came looking for answers in personal life. Found the answers!” – Ana 

Kashmir Shaivism course inspired me to reveal the Self. Inspired me to read more like I Am That. Wonderful to understand the essence of the universe. Feel addicted to the discovery of the Universe and connection to the human life and experience. Aim to look from the higher perspective in daily life and continue to change my perception. Information absolutely related to who we are” – Jonathan 

Lord Shiva. Photo courtesy of PixaHive

Kashmir Shaivism is a complete path of initiation that provides everything needed to reach spiritual realisation. At the essence of this elevated path is Shiva. It offers you fundamental keys for awakening the soul, for understanding deeper and deeper who you truly are, until finally revealing the ultimate Self – in the here and now. Learn more about Kashmir Shaivism through our in-depth biweekly course in London.

09 August 2023

“The fog revealed the stones rising up from a shimmering blue light.” 

 

I had the special opportunity to attend the Solstice Sunrise Meditation which took place on the morning of the 21st June from 4:30 – 6 am. I had never been to Stonehenge before even though I had passed the site many times. I travelled from London after my evening yoga class at Tara. I usually come in to class from outside London but because of the long drive and needing to leave early in the morning, I stayed at a colleague’s house. We left around half past midnight, picking up another Tara participant on the way. We weren’t able to sleep the whole night as we were so excited and full of anticipation.  
 
Stonehenge has been a sacred site for thousands of years and lies on important ley lines, ensuring that people have always gathered in this mysterious place. The drive took around two and a half hours, and we were pretty tired from not having slept. As we got closer to the site it was almost as if something changed, and you could feel a magical atmosphere in the air. It was foggy driving down the road adjacent to the site, so at first I couldn’t see anything. Then the fog revealed the stones rising from a shimmering blue light. It looked mysterious and wonderful, and I was very eager to walk among the stones, to feel the sacred energy. 

We queued for a while to get into the car park. There were easily seven thousand people there awaiting the rising of the sun on the longest day of the year. The walk from the car to the stones was around 20 minutes, and we joined the holy procession towards the stones, shapes and shadows getting lost and blending into the mist. We arrived a little late and we saw that our group was to the right past the security check point. I saw many of our colleagues but we didn’t have time to chat as Morgan and Bogdan were giving instructions on how we were going to form the spiral for the meditation. We had already downloaded the meditation track and had our phones charged and earphones at the ready.  

It was time to get into our zodiac lines, as we would be positioned in the spiral according to our zodiac signs – Aries man, Aries woman, Taurus man, Taurus woman etc. The first group went into the stone circle itself to start creating a space for our group to gradually expand into, forming a tight spiral. We were guided into the circle in groups to join the initial group, and to form the spiral. There were so many people there, singing, chanting, drumming, there were people sleeping around the main stones and of course ever that bright shining blue light from spotlights lighting up the stones.  

To get into the spiral we had to step over people and ask some to move. The space was tight, and the meditation was one and a half hours. At 4:30, our phones and headphones ready, we began the meditation. At first I did not feel anything, but after around 15 minutes a very warm and reassured feeling enveloped my body. The music and the atmosphere carried my body and mind towards bliss. There were another two groups meditating in Denmark and Italy along with us at Stonehenge, forming an equilateral triangle. I really felt this energy as if it was amplifying the effects of our technique, calling the sun and at the same time engaging in a beneficial transformation for the good of humanity. I called upon all the British and English ancestors to help us in this task, and as I am Romanian, I also called on our Dacian ancestors. 

When the sun rose, I could hear people chanting although my focus was mainly on meditating. For me was very quick, I do not honestly know where the time went. After the meditation I walked around the stones, touching them, trying to feel who built them and for what sacred purpose. In our situation it was clear, the stones were like a power plant, channeling the energy of the sun while at the same time being rooted in the ground and capturing the telluric energy. I felt inspired and did Bhujangasana while feeling the love and being at peace.  

I am not sure where the journey will take me in the future, but I am sure that that day we made history, and the Earth is on its way to getting rid of the malefic states and energies that have plagued it for thousands of years. 

by Cosmin


We hold this special spiral meditation in Stonehenge every solstice. To join us next time, keep an eye on our events listing or sign up to our newsletter to be notified when new events are announced! We look forward to seeing you there!

23 June 2023

Unwavering virtue is the best of all medicines.

The Life of Milarepa is a book that reads like a poem and lifts the spirit at the turn of every page, a biography decorated with songs that seem to spring from the soul of Milarepa, where words alone seem not enough to express the intensity of his messages.

It is the story of Mila Zhepa Dorjé, also known as Milarepa, through the framework of twelve marvelous deeds: three ordinary worldly deeds and nine supreme deeds of peace and transcendence.

From a tormented first half of his life, where he succumbs to the lower aspects of reality by killing 35 people through his powers of black magic, Milarepa rises from the ashes with fervent, unbroken determination to purify his misdeeds, and finally attains liberation within one lifetime. His life is an example of an ardent pursuit to realise the true nature of reality through the path of yoga. 

“Through devotion to the teacher and the practice of the path, transform oneself into a perfect buddha, where the dharma is present everywhere one turns, where everything in the outer world appears as scriptures, where the profane is sacred.”

Finding his master is Milarepa’s first supreme deed and the start of his spiritual journey. A master-disciple relationship is always full of tests and this one was no exception. Marpa the Translator puts Milarepa through insufferable and exhausting hardships even before accepting him as his disciple. As happens with many other Tibetan masters (such as Tilopa with his disciple Naropa), an untrained eye may find it difficult to understand Marpa’s nuanced love towards his disciple and may not realise at first that all the hardships are hidden teachings on Milarepa’s path to enlightenment. 

For a long time, Marpa did not grant him empowerments or instructions, but Milarepa never lost faith and trusted his Guru.

Reading about Milarepa’s aspiration and his unshakeable devotion and trust in his lama opens the reader’s heart and triggers a deep aspiration within. In the following song, Milarepa highlights the role of a master for an effective spiritual journey.

The nine story tower that Milarepa single-handedly built, Sekhar Gutok, Lhodrag, Tibet.
“Then he sang this song: 
I bow at the feet of Lord Marpa the Translator. 
Those who wish to practise dharma: 
Without relying on a qualified lama, 
Though you have devotion, blessings are meagre. 
Without requesting profound initiation, 
The very words of tantra will trap you. 
Without using the tantras as an authority, 
Every deed you do leads you astray. 
Without meditating on profound heart-instructions, 
Saying you’ll renounce only harms yourself. 
Without applying remedies for mental afflictions, 
Your talk is dried-up empty sound. 
Without knowing the profound path of means, 
Although you make effort, little is done. 
Without knowing the profound essential points, 
Although you endure, the path becomes long. 
Without garnering vast stores of merit, 
Living for oneself alone is the cause of life’s round. 
Without giving up what you have earned for the dharma, 
Although you meditate, good qualities will not appear. ”

Milarepa’s life is a constant call to listen to our inner compass and follow our dharma, a reminder of the importance of spiritual practice over the mere accumulation of knowledge. As it is said in the Mahabharata, “Books are but a burden as long as we do not realise the truth beyond the words”. Yoga and meditation allow us to realise the truths of the teachings. Through them Milarepa was able to transcend the mind and win buddhahood. “Again and again I practised with no concern for words and forgot about literal meanings. Let scholars give literal readings of texts”. The following song gives us an idea of his teachings:

“Then he sang this song: 
To the compassionate one I address my prayer. 
Contemplating the lives of past masters endowed with compassion 
Is itself the very oral instructions. 
Hoping to accumulate many is cause for distraction. 
Keep in your heart the essential instructions. 
Much this and that without the essential 
Is like many trees but no fruit. 
They may have their merits but they are not the ultimate. 
Studying them is not seeing the truth. 
They have much to explain but have nothing of profit. 
Take to heart that which profits—a treasure sublime. 
If it’s wealth you desire, concentrate upon this. 
Dharma is the path of means for taming afflictions. 
If a safe path you’d keep, concentrate upon this. 
A resolute mind is a master of contentment. 
If it’s a fine master you wish for, concentrate upon this. 
Give up the whining and sloth of life’s round. 
A rock crag with no one around is your father’s house; 
A friendless and lonely abode, the deity’s home. 
Mind riding mind is a tireless steed; 
Your body, a wilderness hermitage, a temple. 
Unwavering virtue is the best of all medicines.“
Milarepa (thangka painting), 2008, Author: Otgo Otgonbayar Ershuu, Source: http://www.mongolian-art.de/

All the hardship was not in vain. Milarepa at last received tantric instructions and departed from his lama. From realising the emptiness of worldly matters, he vowed to practise. “Those beings who want things with no essence can have them. A yogi, I go to achieve liberation”. This was his sixth supreme deed, where he detached from this world. “Even if I were a master of the entire world, I would still need to leave them aside at the time of death. So if I renounce these things now, I shall find happiness in this and all future lives. Doing so, my conduct is contrary to that of all other men, so you can say I am no longer a man.” Milarepa realises that a man, as Gurdjieff later put it, is asleep. Unless the inner eyes open, unless your inside becomes full of light, we are not awake. From the words of Gurdjieff, “Man is a machine. All his deeds, actions, words, thoughts, feelings, convictions, opinions, and habits are the results of external influences, external impressions. Out of himself a man cannot produce a single thought, a single action. Everything he says, does, thinks, feels—all this happens. Man cannot discover anything, invent anything. It all happens.”

During his intense practice in caves, Milarepa starts his awakening, attaining spiritual insights on the nature of reality. He would practise without eating, without moving his body even if that meant starvation, sickness or exposure. His thirst for realisation was greater than his fear of death. Here we see for the first time Milarepa as a master. He removed his fear of death and understood that all the phenomena of this world and transcendence are interdependent, and that only spiritual insight would lead him to transcendence. The following song illustrates poetically one of his intuitions on the essence of interdependence of all beings:

“The nourishing essence of solid earth 
And the light rain falling from azure skies—these two 
Form the interdependence that benefits beings. 
The essence of interdependence is dharma divine. 
An illusory body nurtured by parents 
And instructions of an authentic lama—these two 
Form the interdependence for doing dharma divine. 
The essence of interdependence is perseverance. 
A rocky cave in a deserted land 
And sincere virtuous practice—these two 
Form the interdependence for achieving whatever you wish. 
The essence of interdependence is emptiness.
Milarepa’s exertion in meditation 
And the faith of beings in the three realms—these two 
Form the interdependence for fulfilling the aims of beings. 
The essence of interdependence is compassion. 
The meditator practising in rocky caves 
And the patrons who bring him supplies—these two 
Form the interdependence for reaching buddhahood together. 
The essence of interdependence is dedication of merit. 
The compassion of an excellent lama 
And the enduring meditation of an excellent student—these two 
Form the interdependence for upholding the teachings. 
The essence of interdependence is the sacred commitments. 
Initiations that swiftly bring blessings 
And prayers of fierce faith and devotion—these two 
Form the interdependence for quickly meeting. 
The essence of interdependence is auspicious fortune.”

Milarepa renounced worldly happiness and achieved buddhahood by taming and mastering the mind. “The stallion of mind rides like the wind. To catch him, what lasso will catch him?… To catch him, catch with the lasso of non-duality. To tether him, tether with the stake of meditative absorption. If hungry, feed him the lama’s oral instructions”

He internalised the value of persevering in our practice, of tapas in our spiritual journey, and he exemplified the state of self-discipline, passion and courage of a perfect practitioner. He reminds us of the role that the law of cause and effect, karma, plays in our path towards liberation. “Because you have no conviction about the law of cause and effect, you have little perseverance in practice”

Practice for Milarepa was never confined to sitting in meditation. It meant practising virtue at the cost of one’s life. “I have understood that, in order to realise insight, one must strive without distraction to accumulate merit and purify misdeeds in the periods between meditation sessions”. His practical teachings are universal and highlight the Truth that lies in our inner compass. “Act in such a way that you will not be ashamed of yourself. Do this and even if your actions contradict the letter of some texts they will not contradict the intentions of the previous Victors”.

In the last part of his life, Milarepa took the task of benefitting sentient beings through the result of his practice. This is his eighth supreme deed. Finding life precious, he did not dare to waste an hour of time.

“Doing deeds that are of no use 
Will harm you, so set yourself straight. 
The yogin whose work is complete 
Has no need for a pile of busywork.”

Personally, the book was an impulse for my spiritual practice. It kindled my inner fire and my aspiration, and opened my eyes to spiritual tests. The intense longing of Milarepa made it tangible and I can still feel it inside myself.

08 June 2023

Having enjoyed the Pilgrimage to Canterbury in April again this year, I was very excited to be embarking on the second Pilgrimage of the season to my hometown, and the ancient Roman city of St. Albans in Hertfordshire. I grew up there as a child and lived in the district of St. Albans for over 26 years, so I was eager to re-visit this unique and historical city with a new perspective, with a pair of fresh eyes, and also a yearning heart.

The starting point was the village of Radlett, about 7 miles south of our destination by foot, where we gathered at 9.30am and were guided by our expert leader Andrew, to a quiet enclosed woodland green area to prepare ourselves for the aspirational day ahead. Our Captain Andrew, who has himself gathered many years of experience as a dedicated pilgrim on his own journeys, shared with us the true benefits and insights we might expect to observe and behold during this tried and tested pilgrimage route. He guided the group through consecrating the pilgrimage, and gave space for the opening meditation where each individual heart looks carefully inward, and is able to solidify and set their own intentions for the journey ahead.

As we departed the sheltered green space at 10am, I looked up and noticed the first rays of sunshine breaking through a gap in the clouds, which gave rise to a glorious day ahead, and the skies soon opened up and continued to be filled with light, depth and warmth to accompany us on our trial along the pilgrims way. God had witnessed and heard all our deep longings and intentions, and so blessed us with his presence and watchful eye, with no clouds to mask or cover us during our special, sacred journey together. My own personal aspiration for the day was a very simple and yet powerful intention to become closer to God every day, as I move ahead on my own spiritual path. I kept this clear vision in my mind’s eye and very close to my heart, during each and every step we took towards our shared destination, but more importantly towards the final goal I had personally created for myself, within the wider group of moving and aspiring hearts.

The practice of walking in mauna is recommended to us at the beginning of such a journey, where we can each silently tune in to that special space within us, to help support and even magnify our personal journey and intentions. Some individuals ardently chose to maintain this deep inward and outward silence throughout the whole day and process, which I truly admired, and marvelled at their quiet commitment and no doubt more intensely felt effects received from the shared pilgrimage. For me, I took the opportunity beyond the first 15 – 20 minutes to engage and speak to my fellow Tara pilgrims who were also receptive, and we were able to outwardly share our experiences as we gently progressed along the nature-filled trail. This was headed by Andrew accompanied by the trusty four-legged Lalla, while Kieran and Eabha (completing the pair of divine dogs) walked at the back of the group, ensuring that no one strayed too far behind, and the group always progressed as one entire body, whilst different paces were also accommodated, along with the dedicated bare-foot walkers, and those members who could not help stopping to greet animals, or photograph key moments along the way.


The route we joined on the Pilgrim‘s way took us from the sleepy village of Radlett, passing by Hill Farm, Netherwylde Farm, Waterside Farm, the Moor Mill, and quietly past the villages of Frogmore, How Wood, and Park Street (where I grew up) before passing Sopwell House and Cottonmill Bridge, and delivering us at the foot of Holywell Hill (aptly named), before our final gentle ascent towards the open grounds of St. Albans Abbey. The tried and tested trail we adopted was primarily rural, with key marker points along the way, and having passed through the picturesque and peaceful lakes and ponds of Moor Mill Fishery, we more or less followed the River Ver (short for Verulam or Verulamium) all the way to the grand Cathedral, situated on a gentle hill at the edge of the city centre of St. Albans.

I personally found that the constantly changing and ever emerging surroundings allowed me to become aware of my direct connection with a variety of abundant nature, wildlife, and country pathways, which was not only refreshing and revitalising, but this kept me very rooted in my own personal goal. In doing so this naturally brought me closer with my own connection to God, as I was continuously able to observe, appreciate, admire and also transfigure the diverse natural world that accompanied and infused our Pilgrims walk. And this was a constant reminder to perceive and value the true source and creator of all things beautiful, natural, and alive, which we encountered on the journey. A very simple yet effective mind-set with every step I took.

Once we gathered in the gardens of the Cathedral, we walked around the outside of the magnificent Abbey in our own time either once or three times, to make this the centre-point and focus of our journey and destination. The Abbey itself was founded in the 8th century, and the present building is of both Norman and Romanesque architecture of the 11th century, along with Gothic and 19th- century additions, and at 85m long has the longest nave of any cathedral in England. St Albans Cathedral stands close to the site of Saint Alban’s death by the Romans – he was the first British Christian Martyr or Saint during the 3rd or 4th century. Afterwards we gathered again as a whole group to perform a final meditation, to help crystallise the gifts that this pilgrimage had offered to us, and we also heard some beautiful personal sharings from the group.

After enjoying some free time to explore the Abbey or venture into the historic city centre, we ended the day with the Evensong, a choral evening service of prayer and praise, accompanied by the Cathedral Choir, and using the traditional language of the Book of Common Prayer. The sounds of the collective choral voices resonated through the very centre of the Abbey at the heart of the cross, and reverberated deep into the tall tower looming above us. I felt myself at such peace, and extremely blessed from the day’s events.

by Jonathan Freeman

09 May 2023

The wisest way to look at world religions is to focus on what connects rather than what divides us. The ancient mystics deliberately hid meanings that have a profound, uplifting and unifying message within specific practices. Tantra teacher Foca Yariv had this realisation in his early life growing up in the Holy City of Jerusalem, as he searched for a common truth among the noise and hubbub of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Foca has drawn common threads from his knowledge of these spiritual traditions, and created a workshop that explores the unifying force between them, and ways in which this force can reinvigorate the yogi on the Tantric path. Get a sneak preview of this workshop, to be held on 12th May in London by listening to this podcast. Foca begins by telling student Vivienne Rush about the challenge of living at the crossroads of three world religions.

13 April 2023

In this podcast episode, Tantra and Yoga teacher Uriel Yariv shares with us about how to become more emotionally wise, and how to consciously heal emotions in a healthy and wholesome way, as well as about his own experience with healing emotions.

Listen to learn more about what emotions are, about what we think we ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ do with emotions, and about how through awareness of emotions, a process of alchemy starts to take place.

To find out more about emotional healing through the ancient spiritual practices of Yoga, Tantra, Mystical Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism, in combination with modern psychology, we had our ‘Wisdom of Emotions’ workshop on 22nd-23rd April 2023.

To see what events we have coming up soon, see our events listing!

I had the opportunity to attend this particular workshop at Tara Yoga Centre in London. I had heard of lucid dreaming before and I experienced it personally. Many nights I was aware that I was dreaming and I would wake up just after having realised that I was doing so. I did not know that this state could be trained so that one could enter it whenever they wished. Having had many vivid dreams where I was aware I was dreaming all my life – later I would find out they were called lucid dreams, when the opportunity arose to attend such a workshop, I immediately took it. 

Our teachers were Maria and Morgan, both experienced in the field. Maria had been experiencing lucid dreaming since she was a small child, and Morgan said that every single one of us on the planet dreams, reassured me that I was in good hands. What followed was a very interesting history of how lucid dreaming has been represented throughout history. I found out that numerous ancient cultures from the Chinese to the Hindus recognised this special state, and many aspired to reach it when sleeping for numerous benefits such as clairvoyance, therapy and improving spiritual practice.  

We were taught about the sleep cycle, deep sleep, REM sleep, hypnogogic states and when lucid dreaming is more likely to occur. 

We learned that in the modern day in the West, lucid dreaming was first researched in 1975 and expanded upon in 1980 and most importantly in 2010. This was when modern brain scans proved lucid dreaming scientifically, and numerous experiments showed that people were conscious even when they were not awake. 

Morgan and Maria taught us the 3 main ways to lucid dream: 

  • DILD: Dream Induced Lucid Dream 
  • WILD: Waking Induced Lucid Dream 
  • MILD: Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dream 

The day also included numerous practical aspects of lucid dreaming. We did an experiment on awareness and concentrating on the five senses, as well as two lucid dream experiments based on the WILD method, for around ten minutes and thirty minutes. The second experiment gave the best results for me, in that I could actually feel myself falling asleep and start to dream, but I was also completely conscious of this happening, and could bring myself back into a waking state. I found it was very new to me and completely amazing!

    I also learned ways to document and keep track of dreams, from keeping a journal by the bed, to specialised phone apps and sleep friendly screen lights, to alarms that can wake you at night periodically so that you can document your dreams. 

    Over the weekend I met people who had very wonderful testimonies on their lucid dream states, and we all shared from our experiences. I would definitely do such a workshop in the future! It taught me many useful things that will enrich my spiritual practice, help me overcome fears and allow me to have wonderful all night adventures in my sleep. 

    Happy lucid dreaming everyone! 

    by Cosmin Maris

    16 March 2023

    When we are ill, we have one wish – to be whole again, to be healed. There is often a sense that we should not be ill in the first place and that as soon as the symptoms appear we need to get rid of them, by all possible means.

    But what if we approached our symptoms with a degree of positivity, as signals and messages from deep within us that will help us not only to heal but also to progress along our spiritual path? 

    Deciphering those messages is an essential starting point, as teachers Kate Wallwork and Nikos Frangi told student Vivienne Rush in this podcast, outlining some of the tools and techniques in Tantra and Yoga that can facilitate spiritual healing.

    Attendees to the workshop when you listen to the podcast, please note any questions you would like to take along to the Spiritual Healing workshop in London on Saturday 25th March.

    22 February 2023

    Eminent Yoga Teacher Gregorian Bivolaru is the author of the yoga course taught in Tara and our sister schools in the ATMAN Federation. Having dedicated his entire life towards helping people awaken to that which is divine, Grieg is recognised by many as having a high level of enlightenment and spiritual power, and as belonging to the highest category of spiritual guides, bodhaka.

    From the very beginning, Grieg’s approach to yoga was recognised as revolutionary and extremely efficient, and it was not long before his teachings began to spread worldwide, with schools in 30 countries currently. The fundamental axis of the teachings is the Law of Occult Resonance, a principle at the essence of creation that governs every manifestation of the universe and how everything inter-relates. The Law of Resonance is the primary key of the spiritual practice of Tara, and through its application, a whole new dimension to Yoga opens.

    When Grieg was asked to which spiritual tradition he belonged, he replied:

    You must understand that I cannot belong to any tradition that does not fully express the universal godly Supreme Consciousness. That is why I do not belong to any system in particular, and I aim to synthesise everything that is most inspired in a godly way, and the most genuine in all authentic spiritual traditions that I know, so that in this way, to all those who are prepared, I can offer new and brilliant methods for spiritual transformation and realisation, that are as quick and accessible as possible, and at the same time are adapted to any human typology. I am completely dedicated, body and soul, to the spiritual revival and enlightenment of those who aspire to this, and I will go until the end on this path, regardless of the obstacles that will be triggered against it

    – Grieg

    Countless testimonies suggest that Grieg is always present in the souls of those who are open towards his mysterious presence and spiritual transformation. His disciples say that he always helps those who ask for his support, who sincerely wish to merge with God in the purity of the heart. Emanating a special ambiance of spiritual effervescence and deep peace of the heart, in a godly way he enjoys any progress we make towards the discovery of our immortal Self, reminding us to always be grateful to God for this help.

    Grieg aims to promote universal teachings that can be applied by anyone, irrespective of faith or religion, and to awaken the human consciousness so that on a planetary level a new era of spirituality, called satya yuga, can blossom, where humanity will again live in accordance with godly laws, and come to recognise God in all that exists.

    Grieg’s life has always been marked by the exceptional and mysterious. In the short account below, there is a glimpse into the world of this remarkable man who has, despite many obstacles, dedicated his entire being towards helping people awaken to the divine life.

    Youth and the call of cosmic consciousness

    Gregorian Bivolaru, or Grieg, was born on 12th March 1952 into a humble family and grew up in the village of Tărtășești near Bucharest.

    From a very early age, Grieg had a special character, with a natural inclination towards contemplation and an immense desire to know. For hours and hours, the little Gregorian would stay in the library corner of the local village store, reading all the books he could find in his modest village, in order to allay his thirst for knowledge. Grieg amazed both his family and his teachers with his profoundness, maturity and wisdom that exceeded his age by far.

    Even as a child, Grieg intuitively knew that he would have an exceptional destiny. He had dreams and visions in which he experienced godly revelations – a cosmic consciousness beginning to beckon him. In the following he remembers such a ‘dream’:

    I heard a kind of voice that sounded from all over and nowhere that called me. I had the revelation of God in an ineffable form, and I knew that when I awoke later I still had the feeling and I cried with happiness. I had found something magnificent and eternal. It was a feeling that kept brimming over my being. That was but a voice that had manifested and called my name three times

    – Grieg

    Adolescence – the discovery of Yoga and the enchantment of Eastern Spirituality

    During his adolescence, Grieg began to visit the large libraries of the capital where he stayed for days in a row from the opening to the closing of the library, insatiably reading books from a wide range of fields – Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Philosophy, Psychology, Parapsychology, Hypnosis, Alchemy, Sexology, Medicine.

    Upon discovering the fascinating Eastern spirituality, however, he intuited that he had found something of fundamental value that could lead him towards the ultimate truth. Enchanted, he started to seek out the fundamental yoga treatises, which were kept only in the secret depositories of the libraries and which he himself would then translate directly from English and French.

    Grieg went deeper and deeper into the yogic practices and study of the sacred yogic scriptures, as well as of the works of some modern sages like Ramakrishna, Sivananda and Yogananda, and he successfully practiced the techniques he encountered. By the age of fifteen, Grieg was practicing Yoga for eight to nine hours per day.

    During those years, Grieg often had recurring dreams about himself being a Tibetan Yogi of high spiritual attainment. As a result of these dreams, he had many recollections of various yogic techniques that he started to practice with amazing results. Perplexing synchronistic events would link the events of his dreams with the events of his daily life. Gradually, Grieg learned to recognize the significance of these events and to later put them together into a coherent system of fundamental spiritual truths of huge proportions. 

    Because of this, he was able to attain in a very short time, by practicing on his own, a whole series of accomplishments that are generally considered paranormal. All these experiments culminated at the age of 19, when he had a decisive breakthrough and attained the state of spiritual awakening (the revelation of the Supreme Self, known in Yoga as Atman).

    Teaching Yoga under Romania’s repressive communist regime

    Grieg spent his childhood and youth under the regime of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, in a country that was suffocated by the pressure of the iron curtain and was under the mute terror of the infamous “Securitate” (the Romanian Secret Service). For fear of any tendency of freeing people from the influences of the regime, as soon as any person would display any interest towards non-materialistic fields that were far away from the accepted State philosophy (namely, dialectic materialism), they were placed on the blacklist of the Securitate.

    Grieg’s activities very quickly brought him to the attention of the communist authorities that were very reticent to any “stepping out of the box” and strongly condemned any spiritual activity. The Securitate began to systematically follow him and monitor his activities. When he began to share letters with certain famous spiritual personalities from abroad (such as Mircea Eliade, the famous Romanian historian of religion), his pursuit became even more incessant.

    Thus, in 1971 (before his 20th birthday) the first abusive intervention of the Securitate took place. By giving a totally fictional, absurd reason (they ‘had to search for weapons that had been stolen from a storehouse’), the Securitate searched his entire house and left with all his spiritual books, all the journals and notebooks he had made related to the spiritual path, and all the correspondence with the people from abroad that he kept!

    It was in that same year of 1971 that Grieg began to teach yoga. His first class was of just 14 people. Yet, in 1972, when he wished to begin a new group of yoga practice and he had placed posters around the city in order to announce this, the Securitate blocked the phone number (given as contact) on the respective posters, sabotaging his activities.

    Thus, with many obstacles, Grieg taught yoga openly, in various cultural houses and student centres, until 1982 when the great scandal around the Transcendental Meditation Movement in Romania was set up, an occasion on which the Ceaușescu regime arrested and imprisoned tens of thousands of students of the Transcendental Meditation Movement (completely destroying their careers) under the accusation of ‘suspect mysticism that might lead to the destabilization of the state’.

    Yoga and meditation made illegal

    Following this event, Ceausescu forbid all spiritual practices, especially the ones originating from the Orient. Even the teaching and practice of Psychology as an independent academic discipline was outlawed for fear of communist propaganda being undermined. Meditation & yoga were made illegal in communist Romania, considered activities against the state, a situation that was without precedence in the entire world (not valid today)!

    Nevertheless, by courageously taking on much greater risks, Grieg continued to teach yoga “underground” and in the following years the Securitate surveilled, bugged, ransacked, arrested and tortured Grieg and several of his students.

    In 1984 (aged 32), Grieg was arrested and imprisoned on the aberrant accusation that he planned to make a group of yogis that would annihilate Ceausescu by paranormal means! This paranoid masquerade served the excuse for the Securitate to imprison Grieg (for an undetermined time) whilst his prosecution was pursued, during which no information about him was released, nor any outside communication with him allowed (with friends, family, lawyers).

    Grieg protests

    Grieg decided to protest in a novel way to draw attention to his case and the completely abusive attitude of the state. He managed to spectacularly escape the maximum-security prison – the first and only time in the entire history of this institution – some say through using his paranormal endowments. Because there were no actual grounds for accusing him in the first place, Grieg did not hide himself from the authorities. Yet, the corrupt Romanian justice system again abusively sent him back to another prison and kept him with chains on his feet, as was done with the most dangerous criminals. Grieg spent 18 months in prison just for being a yoga teacher.

    In 1989, Grieg was again arrested and sent to Poiana Mare Psychiatric Hospital, a desolate and pitiful place, notorious for being a detention centre where undesirable political dissidents of the Communist regime were condemned, often to gradual extermination. (Over the two years 2002-2003, a report showed that 155 ‘patients’ died at the hospital [1]). Indeed, the drug prescription to be administered to Grieg would have killed any normal man in a few weeks. Yet, the doctor who was supposed to administer this treatment risked his career and refused to apply what was demanded of him.

    Grieg’s teachings spread worldwide

    Following the Romanian Revolution in 1989, the communist regime officially ended in Romania. Romania was now apparently free and yoga was permitted again. A commission was urgently established and Grieg was subsequently freed from the prison-hospital of Poiana Mare. Wasting no time whatsoever, Grieg immediately opened the yoga course (in January 1990) and also legally founded MISA or the Movement for Spiritual Integration into the Absolute.

    Romanians, thirsty of outer and inner freedom, literally flocked to his courses and in a very short time Grieg’s students were in the thousands. Practically he created a new avenue for the Yoga practice in Romania. He collaborated extensively with the Romanian Ministry of Health and with the Association of Psychosomatic Medicine of Bucharest, and helped many people to heal themselves from terminal diseases with the help of yoga practices, as well as establishing Ayurvedic centres.

    Grieg’s teachings continued to spread further and by 2004 yoga schools offering his yoga course had been opened in more than 30 countries (all schools becoming part of the ATMAN Federation), making it one of the most comprehensive and intensive yoga courses in the world, and perhaps the largest yoga movement in Europe.

    Grieg’s spiritual mission and the enduring persecutions

    Although the communist regime had apparently ended, Grieg’s harassment continued more-or-less openly over the years, accompanied by a persistent ‘smear campaign’ by the mass media – having the purpose of fully destroying his public image. In fact, according to a study by Soteria International (a human rights foundation), Grieg and MISA have proved to be one of the most popular subjects in post-communist Romania, with over 8000 printed libelous articles against them and over 10,000 reports in the TV news!

    History has often proved that is difficult for society to accept the inspiration of deeply beneficial, evolutionary tendencies of a revolutionary spiritual reformer (like Gandhi, for example).

    What I have to do will not be convenient for some groups of people because to remove the dust from the genuine spiritual traditions that were kept to our days and to bring to light again the primordial tradition in its pure form, to put at everyone’s disposal certain essential modalities to access the supreme divine truth or to shake from the ground the prejudgments and narrow dogma of the current mentality will attract numerous hatreds, conflicts and hostility.
    What I have to offer can help many people to find their true essence that is their immortal divine self, Atman

    – Grieg

    The mass media have constantly aimed at distorting, despising and mocking his activities and efforts to promote genuine, universal divine values. Yet Grieg continues without hesitation with his personal mission in bringing forth the planetary spiritual revival, despite the numerous personal attacks, slanders and even assassination attempts.

    When Grieg was asked many years ago about his spiritual mission, he answered:

    I came to help people and that is why I do not consider it is the case to unceasingly defend myself against the mountains of slander that were or will be pointed at me. I am not interested in a personality cult or declaring spiritual principles, like the pharisees, without living by them.

    The mission that I took in front of God consists in first of all an action of orientation, coordination & enlightenment of all those that are prepared and who aspire towards this. I have not asked for nor waited for gratefulness, admiration or veneration. Those who hurry to judge me should judge me on the results of my actions, by the fruits of my spiritual message that I offer to everyone and not by their assumptions, suspicions or phantasmagorical projections full of meanness.

    I have never stated that I can perform miracles. All the miracles that occurred blossomed in the souls who are open and pure, who have followed the method that I have offered, or that were performed through my being through the tremendous help from God. All those who have truly understood what I have offered and are my genuine disciples are a vivid proof of all these aspects by the spiritual transformations that occurred in them

    – Grieg

    Political Asylum in Sweden

    In March 2004, in a desperate attempt to create an event that would draw the public attention away from an imminent government scandal, the prime minister of the time, Adrian Nastase ordered the arrest of Grieg, setting up a legal file backed up with the full support of the media. ‘Operation Christ’ was the largest police operation since the communist regime in Romania and involved armed troops bursting into the ashrams in Bucharest, holding down innocent yoga students at gunpoint and confiscating spiritual materials (books, etc) as well as personal items.

    Forced by such dramatic circumstances and believing that he would stand no chance of a fair trial in Romania, Grieg fled the country and was granted protection and political asylum in Sweden. (Currently, this is one of the very few cases in the European Union where a citizen is protected against another state inside the Union).

    Over the years, important voices from Romania’s post-communist democracy, including the reports of Amnesty International and the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, have spoken against these glaring abusive behaviors by the various state departments against Grieg and the schools offering his teachings. Eventually, in 2010 Gregorian Bivolaru was found not guilty by the Sibiu Court of Law in Romania. The court decision mentioned that the incriminating deeds are nonexistent”.

    Currently, Grieg has residence in Sweden, continuing his rich literary activity of writing yoga lessons and books on various spiritual issues. He has written more than 35 books, and he continues to write and deliver an impressive number of lectures for international congresses and events. He also answers thousands of letters and messages from all over the world from people who ask for his advice.