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Wake-Up Call

Tias Little makes moving toward spiritual awakening available to open ears and open minds.

By Richard Rosen

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Kundalini awakenings don't come easily. At least that's how they're often presented to wide-eyed yoga students, eager to find a path to enlightenment. Kundalini is the serpent power coiled in the base of the spine waiting to be drawn upward through six chakras, or energy centers, so it can activate them and your consciousness along the way. These sudden awakenings might seem inaccessible to the average person—even the average yogi—says Tias Little, a Santa Fe, New Mexico, yoga teacher. But we can all access and begin to awaken kundalini in our daily life, says Little, in this series of recorded spiritual teachings called Dharma Talks.

In these four CDs, he explains that, rather than being a distant force available only to the most dedicated practitioners, kundalini plays an important role in regulating physical and mental health. Each 30-minute talk (and subsequent audience Q&A) is full of practical advice—along with some sound Buddhist wisdom—on how to use Patanjali's Yoga Sutra to manage your kundalini for a high quality of life.

A dharma talk is a guide to virtuous understanding and action, traditionally delivered by an experienced Buddhist teacher. Little begins his series on moving toward self-realization, or awakening, by examining dormant spiritual (or kun-dalini) energy. Later, he goes on to discuss the classical yoga restraints and observances, called yamas and niyamas. He also draws on lessons from the Bhagavad Gita and the idea expressed there of selfless action—or action that doesn't cling to its products.

This discussion of action leads seamlessly to a talk on the nature of change, a central concern of both Patanjali's classical yoga and Buddhism. Attachment leads to universal suffering, says Little. That, in turn, provides the raison d'etre for classical yoga practice, which isn't so much a search for God or the Self as it is an all-out attempt to avoid future suffering. Little, always practical, illustrates how asana practice can teach you the subtle awareness needed to first discern attachments that cause suffering and then transform them into opportunities for self-exploration. This kind of intense awareness,

Little reveals on the last CD in the series, naturally leads to your true nature, heretofore hidden behind a veil of delusion. Little's own inspiring insights into how you can access your kundalini are further illuminated by numerous quotes from a wide selection of authors, Zen masters, and poets. These dharma talks aren't for everyone. Little is serious about his teaching, and he demands constant and focused attentiveness—much like in meditation—and a willingness to step out beyond your own comfort zone and consider yourself and the world from an entirely new perspective.

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