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Valentine's Countdown to Bliss

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Coming from the culture that gave us yoga, kama sutra and tantra, I decided to do something fun for Valentines’ day and give my readers some tips for evoking that fire and passion in your relationship, not forgetting that ultimate bliss is in connecting with your heart.

Day 1, Tip 1- Bath and Detox Ritual :

Indian culture is rich in rituals. We bathe deities in milk, honey, butter, flowers as we belief that each woman is a goddess so we can awaken that divine self in her by looking at our body as a temple.
Prepare your body first. A gentle detox is a great way to get that renewed energy. Start with decreasing one food consumption from your diet that may be excessive – sugar and alcohol would be my first consideration. Before you head for the morning coffee, sip some hot water and lemon , wait at least 15 minutes for digestion to kick in before you consume anything else. Eat more vegetables and grains and avoid a lot of cold foods in the winter season. Only when your body feels balanced can you feel your mind relaxing to create that passionate adventure. If you are run down, take a warm bath with rose or lavendar oils . I usually put flower petals in my tub as flowers are a gift of nature and reminds me of my beauty and the need for self- love first. For a more comprehensive detox plan, please e-mail me.


Day 2: Detoxing the Mind- Unblocking Energy Channels :

Our thoughts govern how our body responds to pleasure and intimacy. Many of us have blocked energy vortexes also known as chakras from time to time through stress, illness or emotional pain.
The key to sexual and sacred fulfillment is to notice this stagnation and release it. Meditation opens up these channels to unite you to your divine essence. Before you begin any practice, become deeply aware of where you are holding tension and then have your partner or yourself do a gentle massage. To get a better understanding of chakras and how they manifest in your being, I recommend Kavida Rei’s book “tantricsex- a path to sexual bliss” which is a great book for any couple wanting a deeper connection in their relationship. It is a great gift as well.
For a journey into the deeper spiritual practice of tantra, I recommend, “Yogini , unfolding the Goddess Within” by Shambavi Lorain Chopra who demystifies Tantra and shares from her heart, the living truth of Tantra.

Day 3, Tip 3 :Get into your body with dance:
It is much more than a cardio workout or moving of your limbs.
It is a connection to your spirit. When there are days I just can’t sit in my lotus position and meditate, I move my body and loose myself in the trance of my favorite music. This is particularly useful if you are in your head quite a bit. When you get into that trance like state, you let go of your inhibitions, your mind’s imposed limitations of any imperfections of who you are. Put on something that will make you feel sensous, alive and sexy. Get creative and bold- dance like no one is watching.( except your beloved who will enjoy the treat!) Everyone can dance so even if you think you cannot, just move your body and let go of that thought. It adds energy, play and closeness. Go on, move that body….

Day 4, Tip 4 : More than chocolates and roses, The gift of time:
I hear this a lot, particularly with families with children. “I barely have time to take a shower much less be in the mood for my lover” seems to be the common phrase with moms with young children. How do you rekindle that passion when the to do list becomes overwhelming and exhausting?
Many parents forget that in order to give love, they have to receive love. Love is what gives you energy to finish the to -do list and enjoy intimacy with your partner. Here are some suggestions for parents with children.
1) Make a list of all the things that you have to do on a daily and weekly basis. Mark the ones that are priority, can wait and my wish list to get done. Three separate columns in decreasing priority.
2) Share this list with your partner/spouse in a visible manner. On a fridge door, next to a night stand or a coffee table.
3) On days you are running on reserve, remind yourself, that it is OK to take care of yourself first. Communicate to your partner what you absolutely need done so your mind is not wondering off to that check list. This is a two way communication and applies equally to those who are stay home parents to working parents. Office days can be just as challenging as home caretaking days so have compassion for each other for time to rest.
4) How to receive love? Pause intermittently between preparing the kids meals, laundry list, the cooking and cleaning and really look into your children’s faces. Receive their love for they are pure souls who have the capacity to give you unconditional love. It’s in their eyes, smiles and laughter that your energy gets restored and your heart full again. When you function with a full heart rather than a racing mind, your capacity to give love extends to your spouse and others around you.
5) Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen on a day you are needing self -love if some of the items on that checklist are not crossed off. You know its not going to be the end of the world if that laundry does not get done. Practice saying “no” to nourish yourself. Time is a gift to yourself and to others around you.

Day 5, Tip 5 : Love a stranger instead:
It’s so easy to say I love you to someone whom you have some kind of expectation that they will love you back. Human nature thrives on this feeling of reciprocity so we get excited about making the moment special, creating first impressions, getting that special gift, making the day as perfect as can be. Passion overflows in abundance of kisses, hugs and sensory pleasures.
This Valentine’s Day, can you pause and ask yourself if you can love a stranger or someone whom you have not spoken to for years because they have hurt you?

One of my favorite teachings that helped me open up to this is called Vedanta, an Eastern philosophy that simply says the Spirit in one being is the same as mine, irrespective of race, age, gender, social or economic status. Two beings can have a completely different body and their minds may be unique as well but the heart
(Spirit) is pure, infinite and always reaching for the same goal, that of happiness. It just gets veiled and blocked by layers of fear, betrayal and pain. Try the following, the return on your effort ( which by the way becomes effortless) if you don’t think but feel, may surprise you.
1) Next time you see a homeless person or a veteran needing food on the streets, can you just acknowledge them with a smile or a hello? For many of them this simple gesture is equivalent to a thousand hugs.
2) When you see signs such as “please help, need food”- can your mind not go into that judgment mode of whether it will be used for a drug or alcohol habit? That one dollar you give may not buy him that pack of cigarettes but it might just get him that coffee to keep him warm on the cold cemented streets.
3) Is there someone in your life that you wanted to reach out to but kept putting it off for various reasons? Our mind plays all sorts of recordings with lyrics such as ” not the right time, let that person initiate something, it is a morally wrong thing to do, what would other people say?” The lyrics are literally endless and exhausting. Listen to your heart in silence. The Universe is always giving you messages as to what your next step ought to be. Take a chance in love and see how you turn fear into courage, uncertainty into a favorable outcome.
4) In a world of digital and social media, there is no reason you can’t text, e-mail, ping, poke, you-tube, tweet to say, “I love you” to someone whom you have not spoken to for years. An estranged family member, your first love, someone you know who is not well and simply needs a few encouraging words? Better yet, send them a snail mail (remember those?) and keep our postal guys gainfully employed! I love my 82-year old ex mother in law who till this date remembers to send me a birthday card every year. She makes them herself with watercolors of lilies and natural landscapes.
5) To receive love, send out loving thoughts to the world around you. In Indian scriptures, it is said that we are in a period of Kali Yuga characterized by war, violence, hunger and general human vice. It is believed to last 432,000 years! But wait there is hope! If we become lighter with our thoughts, more conscious of ourselves as spirits and love one another, we could end this period by 2012! I don’t know about you but I’ll take a year over 432,000 years anytime! On Valentine’s day, try acknowledging the people who have inspired you, shown you what love is all about even if they are not physically present with you. I remember when I was nine years old and I would look up to my mother and ask ” Mom, are there a lot of Mother Teresas in the world?” and she simply smiled and said, ” We are all one.”


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