“Overall my experience at Shri Kali has been very grounding. I came thinking I might have some kind of enlightening experience, but if anything it has been more of an undoing. My experience with the teachings and the practices here have felt really natural, like I am getting rid of anything superfluous. I went through a very specific time in the second month where I felt like the stories of my life were dying, the stories about myself that I realized were irrelevant. This was incredibly freeing, which is why I relate to Tantra being a path of freedom.
My most recent professional background was as a health professional and I was trained as an Acupuncturist. I had chosen to study Traditional Chinese Medicine as was in love with the fact that I could apply the principles of Chinese Medicine to anything I had observed or experienced in my life and also to metaphysics. This was very satisfying to me because it was both philosophy and medicine. Taking that out of the study context, where you are interacting with people and teachers who are living this lifestyle and then going in to the workforce again, I underestimated how difficult it would be to integrate these teachings while in the rat race. I started to feel like a fraud because I was working at these incredible places, doing a job that I loved yet I was not practicing what I was sharing. In my heart, I didn’t feel right with this. So I decided to come to Shri Kali after reading some of the long-term students stories, as it looked like a place where I could really integrate these teachings. At this point I could see that the teachings of Chinese medicine were very universal and I saw that there was a strong connection to Tantra.
I absolutely would recommend this school to others, as I have never come across teachings with a breadth, depth and inclusiveness quite like this. To me, the teachings has deepened my understanding of the different pathways I have gone down in the past and through the practices, really experience this philosophy that we are All One. In the practices, this idea of All One is really being integrated; it’s not just a theory. Shri Kali has been invaluable to me for that reason because I don’t see any other quest more valuable.
I think there really is a structure here to the way the school operates but within that there is that capacity for flexibility and there is that non-linear make up. For me, if anything, I am hyper flexible and I am quite comfortable in that realm so I haven’t experienced here a huge need to control. I enjoy it. We have been trained in our culture and in our schooling to value controlling every situation. It’s actually really lovely to see here when anomalies take place such as the power going out, or accidents happening, there is such a sense of flow, that if things don’t go as planned, you move and do as needed to make things work and if it doesn’t look like a particular structure, that doesn’t matter, because you are always working towards the essence of what you’re trying to do at any point in any time. True action when action is called for, rather than constant activity and stress. So it is quite joyful to see that flow happen. But at other times, you can see it is really a struggle especially for people around you because the guidelines don’t seem so clear. I wonder if there needs to be a balance?
I loved the Dharma, Artha, and Kāma and the Identity lectures by Whitney because to me that is true romance for sure. I actually find it really grounding that there are principles behind relationships. Our identity gets so wrapped up in relationships, and it is a massive topic for most of us. Within relationships there is a lot of freedom these days but there is still a lot of conflict and a lot of pain. Our cultural understanding and experience of our love and family relationships must still be missing something. To me, those lectures were incredible because I had a lot of questions and conflicts around those questions of what am I doing with my life and also around relationships and what it means to be in a good long-term love relationship or a marriage, so these lectures have put my heart at peace.
I am a big fan of the āsanas! It is really incredible how balancing they are for our bodies but how they work on the subconscious allowing any limiting emotions or patterns to dissipate. In the past I had spent so much time interpreting my dreams and analysing beliefs and while there is value in this, there is also great relief in allowing these things to move through your body and release, you don’t need to intellectualize the why’s all the time. You can just let it go because there is nothing else to do and there is nothing to fix. I have really enjoyed cultivating the ability to really be in my body and meditate.
I have been practicing a wide variety of yoga for about 12 years now but never really considered deepening in one fully. I percieved that there were many kinds of yoga to play around with – at different times I practiced Haṭha, Ashtanga, Kuṇḍalinī, Bikram, Vinyasa, Anusara and I enjoyed the variety. As much as I saw the relaxation benefits, I primarily practised to stay in shape and stay healthy. It was really incredible and therapeutic for some body and alignment issues I had. However in coming to Shri Kali, I have experienced yoga as a deep meditation, as a very symbolic path where I could continually deepen throughout my life. Yoga is for physical and mental health but it is also much more than that. You could say that my relationship to yoga has changed greatly. It made me realize how the culture of yoga in Australasia in many ways had become aerobicised and was often just another way, women especially, could control their bodies in a forum that was sanctioned as being spiritual. I really love that here at Shri Kali that the long-term student’s bodies are strong and supple but yet have a curviness and softness. I come from a family of curvy and soft people so for me that has always been a nice thing even if society likes to tell us otherwise!
Before I came here I had read a few things on Tantra but it was honestly pretty new to me and I didn’t know anyone who had explored it past reading a book or two. When studying Gnosticism and Taoism, I had seen the connections to what I knew of Tantra in the sexual practices, but was aware it was just a part within a holistic lifestyle science.
One of the things I most enjoy here is experiencing a community based on these principles, because this is a living science. I also love the variety of things we learned from Thai Massage to the traditional Indian dance with Monica, to all the lectures, to Ayurveda.”