The date: September 7th, 2011
The place: TantraNova Institute in Chicago, Illinois
The reason: An Introductory Workshop to TantraNova Now you may be wondering who I am. My name is Magie Fotovatian and I am currently a college student doing her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
I have known Elsbeth and Freddy for a couple of years because I attended their first youth program.
Elsbeth kindly invited me to attend this Introduction and I gladly accepted the invitation as I wanted to be refreshed on what I had learned or forgotten at the youth program. I arrived with my friend at the appointed time and we were greeted immediately by that workshop’s assistant, Bob.
We were graciously ushered in and directed upstairs where Elsbeth and Freddy were waiting to greet all of the workshop’s attendees. I have to admit, I was a bit nervous. My nervousness arose from not knowing the people who were coming and how much I would be asked to share or what we would be doing.
My friend and I are teenaged college students, so we felt we might feel a bit out of place. However, there was a wide-range of people who attended from married couples to singles as well as people of varying ages. So while I may be young, I did not feel out of place at all.
Enough of the preliminary stuff, let’s get into what we actually did and what we, or at least I, experiences. Like I said, I was a bit nervous but my mind was soon put at ease when we began our first meditation of the night: the Guided Light Meditation led by Freddy Zental.
We were asked to focus our minds on our breathing, the expanding of our belly, in order to relax our minds and to forget the random dialogues in our head. Freddy told us to follow a light, slowly, from the bottom of our feet to the top of our head. He asked to focus on how each area felt as he told us to follow this ball of light we were envisioning throughout our bodies.
As we did this exercise, I felt a pounding headache as we reached the “third eye”, but this soon passed as we continued to the crown of our heads. I was confused and told my friend about it once we had finished the meditation and were asked to share our experience with a neighbor. I did not think much of it until we got to the next exercise.
The next meditation called “Chakra Listening Practice” was to help us become attuned to our chakras as well as to connect them and to guide our breathing. We started by sitting on our right hand and breathing deeply, focusing our breath and imagining it going out of our base center (or chakra) into the pillow we were sitting on. We went up through the next six chakras, focusing on our breathing constantly and taking a moment to notice how we felt and what we might sense in the various energy centers.
I was perfectly relaxed and at ease until we got to our “third eye”. My head felt cloudy and was beating with my heart. Then it hit me, why I had felt the headache in the previous mediation. My third eye had been constricted; it had felt disconnected from the rest of my body and specifically my heart chakra, hence the beating.
Once I recognized this and allowed myself to continue breathing and opening up this channel for connection, my headache disappeared. I was once again relaxed and at peace. For me, this was the most eye-opening exercise of the workshop. It seemed to me to be exactly what I needed, what I had been looking for out of this experience.
I found myself more relaxed and open during the course of the two-hour introduction. I had forgotten my previous fears of not knowing people or being asked to share too much. However, the evening was easy-going and we were never forced to share anything we did not want to.
The night for me was a perfect refresher course and really revitalized me. I wish to continue learning all I can and to keep on meditating and improving myself through what Elsbeth and Freddy taught me years ago.
I know, however, that not everyone who attends the Introduction is as lucky as I was to have attended the youth program or have any knowledge about Tantra. My friend’s primary concern was his total dearth of knowledge on the subject. He told me afterwards that he had never felt lost during the workshop and there was nothing that had confused him. In fact, he took away so much from the evening that he wished to come back and learn whatever else he could learn at TantraNova.
To conclude (I’m a college student, how else am I supposed to end this blog?), the Introduction was an amazing experience that ignited in me a passion to learn more about tantric practices as a way to get closer to myself. The workshop went by easily, enjoyably, and freely.
What I gathered from the workshop experience was that anybody of any age, profession or religion can attend and truly enjoy themselves. What is required though is an open mind that is free to enjoy whatever experience might come up during the workshop. This is not hard though as Elsbeth and Freddy are incredibly engaging, humorous and helpful, so the night ends up just being a breeze and you actually end up learning something about yourself.
At the end of the Introduction, practice materials were readily available for sale such as TantraNova’s Foundational Practices CD (which I myself have a partial copy due to the youth program, so this comes highly recommended) as well as some DVDs that reflect what is taught during their seminars.
I definitely feel that if you want to experience something interesting or get closer to yourself, that you attend the Introduction to do just that and carry home with you some materials to continue the magic once the night is done.
If you want to learn more, then you could always just come back to the TantraNova Institute and attend one of their workshops or have a private session with Elsbeth and Freddy Zental (trust me, they don’t bite).
The results: An awesome, self-informative, educational, intriguing and fun night.