My heart is a garden within these flames
An online exploration into the Indian tradition of Sufi tantric Yoga.
Sunday 4th July 2021
5. p.m -8.15 p.m. BST with 1/2 hour break.
I will be holding space for a sensitive and decolonial exploration of Indian Sufi yoga in South Asia ( now present day Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) Based on a personal rekindling of ancestral teachings, restoration of devotional somatic practice, re- working patriarchal and hierarchal interpretations and reflecting on socio-political issues.
Sufi tantric traditions are neglected lineages in yoga today. They challenge our homogenised narrative of yoga, White- orientalist prejudices and come under fire from orthodoxies, Islamic fundamentalism and hindutva. Clearly quite radical, no reference is made to the Indo-Muslim heritage in yoga teacher trainings, at conferences or on social media. Despite this omission, the tradition has a lot to offer in making yogic psycho-spiritual philosophy accessible and relevant for yoga therapy and trauma healing particularly within our BAME/BIPOC communities.
Indo- Sufi yoga is rich, complex, poetic and non- denominational. Historically situated in indigenous, social movements that expounded an embodiment of love and surrender. It places emphasis on devotional experience and a direct relationship with oneness, coming back to the merciful moment, deep listening with feeling, unveiling illusions, drawing the self out of the self and keeping our inner space sacred to protect against fragmentation- austerities.
A crucial theme in Indian Sufi yoga is the articulation that our embodiment burns us, we experience suffering due to the transient and diverse nature of life. To prevent these flames from scorching us to break apart (excess suffering), an ‘inner garden’ is cultivated where anger turns to tenderness and pain to strength. The only flame present is the steadfast ignition of longing for the Beloved; fuel for transformation to a peaceful state of oneness in being.
Outline for the workshop.
5 p.m- 5.30 p.m. check in and situating ourselves
5.30 p.m- 6.30 p.m. Embodied alchemy practice.
I will share an interoceptive and proprioceptive practice emphasising soft, non-prescriptive movements, sense of agency, balance and devotion, feeling and vision to reduce adrenaline-cortisol flames (or amygdala induced fight and flight or shut down.)
This sharing is based on 25 years of critically evaluating asana to restore forgotten feminine- devotional elements and weaving in of kindred somatic forms from Indian dance and Ayurvedic body work.
We finish this sequence with an exploration of chakrasana from the bahr al hayat (The ocean of life, a Persian, Sufi text on hatha yoga) and contrast it to the modern day version which stems from a colonial interpretation of European gymnastics.
1/2 hour break
7.00 - 7.30. p.m. After the break there will be a presentation on background features of Indian Sufi yoga, how it developed from tantra, hatha yoga, Nath and Bhakti traditions in classic, vernacular, poetic forms as well as how Hindus and Muslims came together (when they did not necessarily see themselves through a politics of religious identity) to thwart social, gender and caste tyrannies.
7.30 -8.15 p.m. Open discussion for participants to reflect on the seminar: Does an ‘Islamic’ contribution to yoga matter? How can we address Islamophobia & cultural appropriation in yoga as well intercommunal tension within the Desi/South Asian community.?
Price: £20-60 Solidarity sliding scale.
Spaces are limited to 8-12 participants.
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