By Sofia Diaz
Maybe, and, we never really know…my path of this word and reality called The Feminine, was instigated by the small group of Masters of the Balasaraswati Parampara, Chennai (Madras), South India.
I arrived at the door of my natya (bodily posture) Master, Srimati Shyamala Mohanraj of Parameshwari Nagar. She said, instantly, “Today is a good day to dance... maybe you can stay here starting on Wednesday.” It was a Monday, a million hours to get there, a huge slew of miracles to land at her door, but I did, and I was too tired to expect anything and certainly not in the “best shape to dance.” But I arrived, whether it was dance or fumbling, I cannot say, but she took me in.
I can only say now, in retrospect, that I was an avid “Tomboy,” committed to all skill sets that could physically “kick-ass.” I grew up with amazing brothers that taught me to not throw like a girl; and, I also had a deep intuition of privilege/blessing about being born a girl.
I spent the next 23 years understanding/trying to understand my own form as reflected to me by the overwhelming exquisiteness of the Balasaraswati Parampara of temple artistry as held by these masters that were willing to tolerate my awkwardness, only due to my heartful noticing of what they held.
Under my belt, I have to say, was an awesome Hatha Yoga Practice, not of the commercial kind, maybe better categorized as “the forest yogi” kind: ie: 5 hours of yoga, 2 hours of meditation, another chunk of time doing Chi-Arts - this was introduced to me as a “normal” spiritual practice (Thank God!).
After the first nine months of practicing under these masters (rhythm, music, dance, architecture), I returned to the US of A, and, I think/feel, this is where I truly noticed what I am referring to as the distinction of Feminine. I landed on American soil and instantly beheld a lot of unnecessary bodily suffering. Women’s bodily comportment, men’s tainted bodily suffering, wholly Moses! I couldn’t help myself, but to try to impart a smidgen of an answer that just seemed obvious: The Feminine.
I have been working at it ever since. Yoga, body, health, none of these terms even come close to what seems to me an obvious recognition of Light as our bodies. Yoga touches it, Health is the result of it, our bodies are the inevitable vehicles of IT, and yet IT remains slightly elusive to our times. The IT is the energy that we are made of, that has feeling and sentiment, that is unique to each of us and has the capacity to be universal, that answers the deepest call and nullifies the need to call out…ie: THE FEMININE.
From Tomboy to devotee is a journey I feel our world needs to make/take. A softening of intelligence to include the WHOLE body, including our own deaths and temporariness. But, inclusion into love of All, so tender and alive and surrendered it causes you to dance, and act fearlessly, to the tune that you breathe deeply, honor the moment of your own family, and are willing to smile into the death of everything you ever expected in order to bring and be The Beautiful, for one moment, or for all Time…The Feminine….
Sofia Diaz is a hatha yoga master, a lineage holder in the Balasaraswati lineage of the South Indian temple arts and a recipient of numerous meditation empowerments in both Tibetan and Shakta Tantric traditions. She turns the body wisdom practices she is empowered in into accessible teachings and practices for the modern western mind. Being an inspired woman practitioner, the rigors of her practice have resulted in great clarity and expertise in the domain of Feminine Spiritual practice, which she has been generously teaching for 30 years.
Sofia holds a Bachelors Degree in dance from Mills College in Oakland, California, and a Masters Degree in religious studies from the University of Colorado. She has most recently taught at the Department of Somatic Psychology at Naropa University and the University of Colorado in Boulder. Sofia has founded a school of Hatha Yoga and sacred movement arts in Boulder Colorado. Sofia is also a new faculty member of The Shift Network.
She has published writings on yoga and sacred movement in both academic and popular journals and travels frequently, teaching women’s yoga intensives throughout the world. To learn more about Sofia, click here.