Even before I knew what I know now, I sensed that being female and a yoga practitioner granted me special superpowers, or siddhis.
My first ever business name back in the day (10 years ago!) was “Jasmine Yogini” .
“Yogini” felt true and satisfying to me. I felt a visceral sensation of limitation whenever someone described me as a "Yogi" (male yoga practitioner).
I trusted my feeling, and proudly branded my first ever website and business cards with JASMINE YOGINI.
Fast forward five years or so of devout yoga and meditation practice...
I recall a time where my yoga practice became distinctly pleasurable.
I had the privilege of privacy, and the company of trees (I'd relocated to the forest after everything fell apart in a dark night of the soul)...
I had plenty of time on my hands and was practising a lot of yoga.
I'd quit my job and followed the calling to be a teacher. While I was no longer working for “the man”, I was (unknowingly!) apprenticing with the Goddess....
...and something radical began to take place.
Being in solitude and in nature granted a freedom to be more organic in how I moved.
Organic, and often orgasmic too - the most subtle movements or sensations inducing incredible pleasure.
The obedience I was accustomed to displaying when in the presence of my teachers made way for a rebellion in how my body moved.
The wilderness reminded me of my wildness.
I would stray from my mat and prowl the land, sensing through my hands and my feet.
My upright spine began to undulate, and my perfect poise became untamed.
I started to make sounds that helped my body to release when in yoga poses.
Primal, raw, deep sounds. And at other times, high pitched tones that I didn’t even know were in my vocal range that felt ecstatic.
None of my teachers ever told me to make sound (only that silence is a virtue!), yet It felt not only NATURAL, but incredibly healing.
I went on to read everything I could about the wild Yoginis and Dakinis - female wisdom beings -who were less widely spoken of in classical yogic texts.
Or, much like Mary Magdalene in the bible, their stories were kept secret, and the Feminine was kept suppressed.
Something always felt amiss to see pictures of predominantly male gurus portrayed on the altars of all the yoga schools I attended and as the authors of sacred texts.
So I dug deeper, searched wider, and also noticed that as I turned towards this uniquely feminine wisdom, these wild women, goddesses and dakinis found their way to me - through teachers, books, but most of all - through my body, and my utter willingness to listen to her and let her lead.
Still, I took great inspiration from the yoginis I read about, who were mostly topless, often adorned with skulls and bones, smeared in blood (or drinking it from their skullcaps!) and grinning voraciously.
Their hair grew long and wild and they were bare foot and bare breasted. They roamed in nature and congregated in circles with other yoginis, performing rituals and more often than not they were dancing (not meditating)!
Their sovereignty was awe-inspiring.
They felt like my kin; the mothers and aunties I never grew up with and didn’t even realise I longed for.
And yet their wisdom has found its way to me regardless. Whether or not they are in my bloodlines, I feel them in my bones as a lineage I am born of - and a legacy I'm here to leave.
The nakedness of the yoginis felt liberating after the modesty I’d been required to uphold in my yoga school.
I resonated with the “outcast” Yoginis who roamed in the forest and roared with the lions.
Their freedom felt true, and radical compared to the strict moral codes I'd adhered to so religiously (and blindly!).
This homecoming into my body, and my truth was the coming home I’d longed for.
I felt reassured that enlightenment could be ecstatic and bone tingling and embodied, in deep communion with nature and earthly wonder - not restricted to the silent stillness of meditation.
I noticed that as I gave myself permission to not have to move in a prescribed way, an incredible intelligence began to move me.
Wisdom streamed in, and poetry poured forth. I reclaimed my power. My pelvis purred, and my passion surged.
I didn't only experience shakti as unruly and wild - she moved through me as elegance and grace too - much like Goddess Parvati - another muse of mine!
Another few years later, having followed this thread devotedly- Shakti Yoga was birthed through me.
I had little choice in the matter, and have now surrendered to share this embodied feminine wisdom;
This yoga, re-wilded for Yoginis;
For modern day women who have perhaps forgotten they are wild, powerful, wondrous and wise.
My deepest desire is that we remember - not with our minds, but in our bodies.
And my calling is to remind you - what you already know, but have perhaps forgotten.