This is a brave personal account from a courageous young woman, Charlotte Claire; a long term student of Tigress Yoga, who interviewed me for her blog at ‘The Babyfacedassassin’. With great delight I have been present to her deep inner process of transforming darkness into light:
Since depression is often associated with a loss of pleasure, isolation, disconnection and lethargy, you can see why I took an interest in Tigress Yoga. Here is a practical, alchemical, physiological process specifically designed for the female body to awaken inner resources that create an optimal state of vitality and wellbeing. While the ‘alchemy’ was a selling point amidst the jargon of psychiatric prescriptions often dished out to improve mental health, I was instantly attracted to Tigress Yoga (TY) because of the woman who created it. I met the founder of this contemporary tradition, Dévashi Shakti – a woman truly devoted to the sacred feminine, who is also generously loving, affectionate, compassionate, cheeky, intelligent, sexy and wise. Her whole-hearted dedication to forging a ‘school of feeling’ different to any other yogic and tantric path is much needed at this point in time for women.
‘Our disconnection from pleasure is caused from our disconnection to the earth, and therefore disconnection from our wombs and our instinctual intelligence that we have in abundance. I think the necessity to balance the evolution of a neo-cortex, dominant society with our primal sensual intelligence is the key to finding harmony within.’
Women are attracted to Dévashi’s teachings for many reasons but particularly with an interest in her uniquely feminised sensual and sexual cultivation arts stemming from ancient tantric and taoist forms. But the big winner for me when I acknowledged my own disconnection and signed up for a Shakti Lounge Retreat, was the education offered to me from a teacher upholding the benefits of being in tune with one’s own body. This meant my journey with psychiatric medication could safely end. I was about to re-activate the wondrous gifts lying dormant within me, and emerge from a chemical fog that no longer served me. My emotional and sensual intelligence would be fostered and fortified, the tigress way.
In Dévashi’s own words, ‘Tigress Yoga invites women to learn how to create a state of receptivity through her feminine body and to trust the physiological process and powers already available … Receptivity is the first step in allowing what is already there to have expression and be experienced fully without making it wrong, bad or trying to change it.’ Music to my ears was this approach to the often unsettling response of others in relation to my psychological and emotional distress. The fact that this invitation remained open to me, to come to a TY class, even if I just lay there in a depressive funk, sent the message that there was a space in community to be supported and strengthened, the gentle way.
A TY class enables space for a variety of expressions and has quickly become a sanctuary for women to feel, explore, navigate and nurture their authentic selves in a non-judgemental atmosphere, while simultaneously learning tools to connect with their own body. This is one reason I am so grateful that Dévashi has been carving out women’s circles, nationwide, introducing through the practical application of a yogic form, a feminine embodiment art and the creation of community. Connection with and being in the company of other womb-wise women, even when the urge for isolation beckons, is a breakthrough from depressive dimensions that keep us locked up, hidden and ashamed of our suffering.
‘There is a part of the healing process for a woman to recognise when she wants to seek help or connection. That volition from inside that says, ‘Yes, I want some help with this!’ is part of the healing process,’ says Dévashi. The loving care of allowing where yourself or someone else is at, rather than trying to be something else, is a signature gesture of the TY teachings and one that is assisting women to transform pain and suffering to self-empowerment.
It is also an indication of the natural feminine essence pervasive through Dévashi’s teachings, where gentleness, sensitivity, vulnerability, compassion and intuition are at the forefront of guiding women along their healing path. Have a read about why women have felt inspired to teach TY through their personal stories and beautiful revelations.
When I asked Dévashi, ‘How does Tigress Yoga calm the mind?’ her answer is one I think all people who feel trapped in their minds could benefit from:
‘Tigress Yoga is a grounded and systematic physiological process. The whole yoga is approached from beyond the mind. That’s a real gift for someone feeling stuck in their mind. By opening other resources in the body beyond ‘thought’, it can be a real gift to experience sensations and one’s own aliveness in other parts of the body … Women learn to trust that their body is a safe and powerful place to be, and I think that’s ultimately very empowering for women.’
I talked at length with Dévashi about the TY backstory and found a deeper appreciation for her work, granted she shared that her own surmounting of depression has inspired some of her work today. Her learnings from depression suggest that it can be understood as an over identification with the negative mind, as well as a natural sensitivity that when harnessed with care can bring a heightened level of receptivity. Years of study of self, spiritual, women’s, tantric and yogic development introduced Dévashi to self-empowering ways of being with and transforming suffering, in environments and communities where sensitivity is nurtured. Her deep exploration of women’s mysteries from a young age demonstrated the value of exploring one’s inner-world, and this inner-world-exploration is precisely what women can benefit from and be guided through graciously, in the company of Dévashi and the TY team. It is wonderful to witness the translation of a rich life of lived experience, ongoing study, years of private and group consultation, ceremonial guidance and personal commitment to Dévashi’s own and other’s healing journeys, culminating in ‘an ancient feminine approach to yoga with a spiritual-sexual wisdom’. Paw through the Tigress Yoga website for a new world of women’s ways.
‘If we can come back to a state of wholeness with ourselves, we can bring the world back into balance. And I perceive that as a sacred responsibility as women to bring our sensual aliveness to the planet and assist our healthy connection with the primal world to restore the balance.’
In a mental health care system that has created an industry on the imbalance of the human condition, surely we would be wise to consider Dévashi Shakti and the Tigress Yoga community’s example of how balance and harmony can be restored at an individual and collective level. How simple and accessible it can be when we turn to our own heart and body for healing, strength and guidance. Don’t it make you just wanna say meow-yeah? Or at the very least, bow down to the sublime potency of the divine feminine in and of us all.
Smiling in the eyes, heart and womb
Love Charlotte Claire
Visit www.thebabyfacedassassin.com for more info.