May 14, 2011

Sexy time with Alan Finger: WTF do orgasms have to do with yoga?

Getting Sexy with Alan Finger…at the Yoga Journal Conference.

Oh, Alan Finger. He’s so likable, which is probably why he is what Yoga Journal calls “one of the most successful entrepreneurs on the yoga scene.” He has several New York studios, several books, and an attitude somewhere between The Dude and Santa Claus, with looks to match.

He started his class at the Yoga Journal Conference in New York this afternoon seated cross-legged on a chair. “We’ll get started soon. There’s just such a long line for the ladies room. I walked by and I felt such compassion!” Of course we all laughed.

He began his lecture by saying “Usually in Tantra, that misconception [that it’s all about sex] is there.” But it’s not all about that, he went on. “We don’t deny anything. We use what is right there for us to help us evolve.” Of course, this particular course was all about sex.

Finger’s long introductory lecture was rather dense and wide ranging, touching upon quantum physics, the big bang, the ego, karma, and of course orgasms. But from when I can tell, this was the main point (Please forgive me, I am abbreviating and paraphrasing): when you are having sex with someone you love, you can make it a better experience – with more love and meaning – if you can teach yourself to draw that orgasmic (shakti) energy upward, through the core and to the head, and prolong that feeling.

To that end, if you do a daily meditative and pranayama practice (the breath looks similar to kalabati breath, but with equal emphasis on the inhale and exhale) that focuses on drawing the shakti energy from the sacrum up to the head, you can reach your goal of better, more meaningful sex.

Be mindful: this is not for those who are pregnant, anxious, with infections, or otherwise holding too much pitta.

So after the lecture, Senior ISHTA (Finger’s NYC studio) teacher Jean Koerner led us through a short, simple, but detailed asana. “We are aiming to unkink the body, so that the energy can flow,” she told us.

After a short savanasa, Finger led us through a long meditation. I won’t try to recreate it here for you. But if you are interested, you can take one of the two classes below tomorrow, or buy one of his CDs that will be available in the yoga market tomorrow.

After class I asked Finger what he wants people who take these courses to get out of them. “Better sex,” he said.

Kidding! Here’s his real answer:

“If there is one thing, it woud be to find themselves, know who they really are, which is really the goal of yoga. If I can spark that in the people I see here, I’m very happy.”

Tapas: Accessing Your Core Power

Alan Finger – Course ID: M4FING

Sunday, May 15 — 8:00am – 10:00am
Main Conference – Session 4
Mixed Levels

Core strength is one of the most critical components of meditation and kriya yoga, because it develops tapas (extreme focus), which is required to sense the energetic body. We’ll start with a lecture by Alan on how to direct energy through your three lower chakras for meditation and samadhi. Then senior ISHTA teacher Julie Wilcox will lead us through an asana practice focusing on core strength and the development of tapas. We’ll end with Alan guiding us through mediation, kriya, and samyama techniques.

Lecture and asana.

Sweat and Samadhi

Alan Finger – Course ID: M5FING

Sunday, May 15 — 10:30am – 12:30pm
Main Conference – Session 5
Mixed Levels

Samadhi is the state of yoga, or nondualistic consciousness. According to Tantric philosophy, this state is our true nature and birthright. We’ll begin with a teaching of the kriya yoga technique Sa-Ham, which is used in a strong asana practice to bring energy in from the universe to the body. Then senior ISHTA teacher Sarah Platt-Finger will teach the asana practice, which begins with heating flow and ends with restorative postures. Finally, Alan will guide students through a meditation using the Ham-Sa kriya technique to purify your consciousness.

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