How I Came to the Goddess

It’s been about 4 years of me actively seeking the feminine perspective in the Divine. Honestly, as has been my track record, I started looking in this direction because of excruciating physical pain. A little backstory: I broke 3/4 of my lower left leg while working as a ski patroller and had two surgeries: one titanium rod placed in my tibia and then another surgery to remove the screws that held it in place while it healed around the rod. This was in 2006 and 2007. The excruciating pain didn’t develop until about 8 years later. To combat the pain, I tried SO many therapies, traditional and non-traditional, but kept sensing that there was a deeper, more spiritual reason for the pain. I was part of a church at the time and tried all the prayers and “laying on of hands” and “soaking” practices and times that I could, but the pain got worse. It literally felt like my body was tightening and constricting, I would even use the word rebelling, against all that I was doing. I knew there had to be another way and the church wasn’t providing an answer or clue.

During this time, I began to actively teach Yin Yoga and found the slower, more meditative, contemplative, and inward focused style to be so healing for me; the pain in my body began to lessen and I could feel my body begin to loosen up. The word yin is Chinese and literally means: the passive female principle of the universe, characterized as female and sustaining and associated with earth, dark, and cold. The dark part of yin intrigued me and scared me. I had recently completed 3 years at a Christian Ministry School and darkness was always equated with evil, but I began to wonder if the darkness was where I actually needed to go…

I began to research and test this darkness and what I found was eye-opening. As with the Chinese, all other cultures equate darkness as feminine, the womb, night time, inward gazing, contemplation/meditation, the other half of the Divine. I had not heard any of this in my decade or so of Christian teaching! So, I cautiously began to explore this darkness, pushing boundaries, limits, and edges and continued to find healing for my leg as I confronted fears and began to find out for myself the difference between darkness that heals and darkness that is evil. (There is definitely a difference! I was thankful for my Christian training to build so solidly a foundation on the Divine to be able to test this limit and know that s/he had me, held me, and fully supported my childlike wonder and exploration and was Her/Himself the one providing the healing.)

This inward, dark, earthly journey lead me to many places: New York to study with Regena Thomashauer who operates the School of Womanly Arts, it lead me to co-lead a Goddess retreat in Greece to study more about her ways, and in late 2017, took me to India to study a modern culture that worships the feminine through tantra, temple worship, chanting, and yoga. All these things continued to lead me back to Her, to where She truly lives: inside.

What I’ve found is that so many modern religions shun things of the earth and elevate the “higher” perspective of the Divine. This “higher” perspective of the Divine is most often of the Divine masculine perspective and I think in large part because He is orderly, controlled, predictable, straightforward, and logical: it’s the mind and the brain. (For more about the differences between the Divine masculine and feminine check out my most popular blog: Are You a Sissy?)

I feel like I’ve gotten a 4-year degree on the Goddess: I’ve travelled, watched 100s of documentaries and movies, listened to podcasts and Youtube videos, read dozens and dozens of books and articles, taken hours of trainings and seminars and workshops focused on the goddess, had 1000s of hours conversations, and none of it fully satisfied, which is just Her style: she is constantly changing, drawing us closer, enticing us into her bosom, and awakening the scary places with not only compassion, love, kindness, and fun, but with a seductive like quality that I find irresistible. And this my friends, is the feminine, and, why I continue to be drawn to her. The pain in my leg is much less now, it still limits me in things, but I’m using it like a divining rod to lead me to the omnipotent Divine and all her/his magical and mysterious ways.

If you want to join my Goddess journey, I’m leading a weekly class called Goddess Fusion Flow and I’m planning another Goddess Retreat and workshops: all the details for those will be here when they are decided.

Jai Ma and namaste!

xxoo

My Not So Sublime Shakti Pilgrimage in India

This trip took me to places I was afraid to go: inside myself, with others, and deep into the Divine Feminine.

Amongst filth I didn’t know possible, hotels crawling with bed bugs, rats, black mold, and bats, we seemed to travel back in time to a culture of depth and rich history, visiting Hindu Goddess temples, some of which still practice animal-sacrifice, to study the remnants of matriarchal society, Goddess worship, and all Her beautiful aspects.

I fell to pieces here in India. The Goddess (a female representation/perspective/aspect of God) has picked up the pieces, filling in places with holes; I had no safe arms to crawl into, nothing familiar to steady myself with, I had to rely on Her, in me, and feel, cry, laugh, gasp, stand in shock, and experience all that is within and around.

This struggle, this rupture, has given me the opportunity to make Her mine, to see Her strength within me, to know Her as my Goddess, to own the female image of God and all her aspects, flavors, and nuances.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I needed to be on this Sublime Shakti Pilgrimage, this trip was an answer to a deep aching prayer I’ve been praying, perhaps since the moment of my conception. This trip has brought together so many of the fragmented truths I’ve known and learned and felt and questioned.

There’s a primal wisdom inside us all and She wants to remake us into who we are meant to be, owning our dark places, standing in our truth, feeling our vulnerability, so we can know our radiance, no matter how hospitable or inhospitable our environment, how supportive or unsupportive our leaders, how familiar or unfamiliar each situation is.

To my fellow travelers who’ve been to India: I salute you. To my companions who experienced this 3-week pilgrimage with me: I love you. To those of you who prayed, reached out, and stood with me from afar, thank you.

What a gift it, you, and She is. Now, I get to walk this out in my home land…. ok. Jai ma.

xoxo

What is Yoga Nidra?

Yoga Nidra: meaning, yogic sleep, balances the nervous system and reduces stress through a simple, guided relaxation while you rest in a nest of props (or perhaps in your bed at home!). Yoga Nidra’s can be of various lengths, with the typical offering at 30-minutes long. Most people fall in and out of sleep, but sometimes you will be awake and alert, or you fall fast asleep right away! Whatever happens is perfect and the beauty of this quiet and gentle practice: it’s about resting and restoring.

I myself do these regularly; sometimes when I need a little pick me up, or when I’m processing through some stuff and just can’t quite get to the root of the issue, or when I didn’t get enough sleep the night before and I have committments that I need to be fully present for because a 30-minute yoga nidra is equal to 2-hours of sleep!

3 ways to get all the benefits of Yoga Nidra with me:

1. purchase 1 or 2 or all 4 of the Yoga Nidra’s I wrote and recorded via iTunes or Amazon: here. Plus there’s an in-depth, 20-minute explanation of the when, where, why, and how of yoga nidra if you purchase the entire album. Enjoy the benefits of this healing tool at anytime, anywhere, as your schedule allows with these MP3s.

2. Attend my Yoga Nidra & Restore weekly group class and get the added benefit of Restorative Yoga: simple yoga postures held for long periods of time with the gentle assist of a lot of props. This class is a 1.25-hour practice that balances our fast paced lifestyles and has an enormous capacity to heal physical and mental symptoms. I hold these in Redding, but I also offer these when I travel, so be on the look out and join me when you can: here.

3. Attend my annual spring Yin/Yang Hot Springs Retreat. Here we find solace, healing, rest, and fun in my most favorite place in all the world: Surprise Valley Hot Springs Resort. Everyone gets their own private hot-tub filled with hot spring water from this valley floor, and we recharge and rebuild with vinyasa yoga, yin yoga, ecstatic dance, yoga nidra, restorative yoga, meditation, pranayama (breathing exercises), with time for reflection, massage, adventure, fishing, hiking, hanging out with new and old friends, and soaking to your heart’s content absorbing all the healing benefits of the mineral enriched waters. This is a gift of divine pleasure that has far reaching effects not only for you, but for those you love and want to serve well: you can only give away what you yourself possess. This is recharge, this is strength, this is delight in a weekend away. Find the full details when they become available here .

Have you done Yoga Nidra before? Has it been beneficial for you? Let me know, in person, or below!

Namaste my friend.

 

Sacred Pleasure: holy exploration

Babies flirt and we find it adorable and good. Flirting = being turned on in the presence of others. And as it is for babies, it is natural, pure, and holy. Sexuality is power and as we own our own, we can embrace our God-given divinity as a sensual creature, light up the world, and live in abundance and success.

You can only give (to your children, husband/boyfriend, work, etc.), what you yourself possess. Come rejuvenate and heal your whole self, with care, with a community of like-minded women in this sacred act of pleasure. Full details and registration can be found at https://audreydelongyoga.com/special-events-2/

This pic is from my El Camino trip in September, taken during a time I felt bold enough to show myself as a woman. I even still feel fear as I post this pic, but that’s the point: I choose to not let fear hold me back and my work then inspires you to do the same. You can feel this difference. I’m not trying to manipulate you or make you feel small, I’m empowering you. This. This will be us together: empowerment to own your womanly-ness and then showcase it with holy reverence for all to admire and get turned on by.

It’s been a journey for me to embrace my womanly beauty and feel comfortable in it enough to show it off, but I’ve been embracing the discomfort and found incredible healing: my own and yours. Come with me as we go deep, deep into the divine art of woman.

My Camino Experience

I sit here with tears streaming down my face as I re-read and remember my Camino experience, which I share below.  I spent 2-weeks hiking along the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain in September and October of 2016 to raise funds for the non-profit Friends of Indreni. Our walk was specifically to fund a dorm in order to ensure the education of older children, since the distance is too far for them to travel. I was more than happy to help such a cause and teach therapeutic yoga to the rest of the Camino travelers in my group.

So, here it is, My Camino Experience:

Challenging has been the most frequent word I have used when I talk about our 2-week Camino pilgrimage, challenging, but I would do it all over again, in a heart-beat. There is nothing like this path; walked upon for 1000s of years by people of differing faiths and ages, a variety of languages heard by people all there for different reasons, yet, we are together. A comradery exists with Camino pilgrims, those on the path with you in the moment, and those you meet after it’s completed. It takes a unique individual to willingly choose to hike 12+ miles a day, with little to no rest days, putting one foot in front of the other, over and over and over again for 8 or more hours a day, up and down 1000s of feet of elevation, meandering around cows and their cow-pies, scampering over slippery shale and rocks, placing one foot in front of the other along miles and miles of pavement and lush green fields, over mountain tops and through valleys; it takes someone willing to go beyond the easy, a seeker of significance and greater meaning, someone looking for truth. I found this, and so much more on the Camino. It was challenging, for obvious reason, but also because I’ve had a leg injury that has kept me from walking much farther than from my front door to my car for a few years now, and yet, I walked the Camino (or about 120 of the 160 miles); and, I am all the stronger for it. Sometimes, we really can do more than we ever think possible or imaginable, even with a lot of pain. This experience was worth every headache, each discomfort, each twinge of pain (mental and physical), because, really it’s not about me (or you) anyway, there’s a bigger reason for it all. Sometimes we have to get uncomfortable and placed in challenging situations to see how great we, and life, really are. This. This was the Camino for me. So, I’m now left wondering, when are we doing it again?! I’m up for teaching yoga again along this magical sojourning. Want to join?

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4 reasons why to go on a yoga retreat

There is something special about traveling, even just a little ways from home, and embarking on new adventures. A yoga retreat can offer many new and exciting experiences but true to the spirit of yoga, it can be the much needed refreshment and rejuvenation that one needs in our fast paced lives. After my first yoga retreat experience, I was immediately inspired to host my own and offer this incredible gift to those that I love and teach. A yoga retreat can truly be a life changing experience and one I hope you get to know. Here’s a few reasons why yoga retreats are so wonderful and why I think you’d like them:

1. It’s about rejuvenation. 

However long or short, a yoga retreat gets us out of the familiar: patterns, surroundings, habits, and offers us the chance to slowdown, breathe, to look at what’s truly important and to be. With this new perspective, we find appreciation for the simple and a refreshment from the everyday, only to gain the reminder just how amazing every day truly is.

2. We meet new, like-minded friends. 

I’ve traveled alone to nearly every yoga retreat I’ve attended and I’ve made some deep and lasting friendships, friendships that are some of the most special and important to me now. A yoga retreat brings together people who care about growing in the yogic principles of compassion, truthfulness, giving, awareness, equanimity, purity, contentment, cleansing/health, consciousness, and celebration of the spiritual (this list is of the yamas and niyamas: part of the yogic path developed 1000’s of years ago). Coming together, with people you know or don’t know and sharing in this beautiful growth, can be very impactful and lasting.

3. We can take our yoga practice deeper. 

A retreat offers the opportunity to dive in and focus and practice meditation, pranayama/breath, and asana/physical postures without the distractions of kids or work or our spouse or the laundry. We can go deep and build new habits, all while a safe and supportive environment, and usually in a beautiful(!) setting. During a yoga retreat, we can truly experience, yoga: union.

4. A yoga retreat is a time for you. 

We can only be as strong for others as we, ourselves, are strong. You work hard and give a lot. A yoga retreat is a much needed and restorative break, so you can go back, able to give more, ans be healthier and happier for those you love and work with on a daily basis. A yoga retreat is just as much for you as it is for those around you.

I host several retreats a year. Join me, or find your own, and enjoy this rich gift.

xoxo