Warriors, peacocks and transmutation

Warriors, peacocks and transmutation

We are in the month of Aries that represents the archetype of the warrior and the warrioress. It is the fiery energy able to initiate, to move through inertia, to fight for justice.  The initiator of transformation. Although we are about to transit into Taurus, I want to share a story, that always inspired me. It is all about warriors, peacocks and transmutation. And as I see the crazy news today, where battles are fought in the name of misguided power and control, I deeply feel the need for us, as yogis, to become ever more committed to our practices and to be brave to fight both the outer battles, in the form of our fierce commitment to our values, and our inner battles. The battles for deep healing, the battles for a life of love.

Once upon a time, there was a thousand-eyed demon called Tarakasura. Trough his austerities, he obtained a boon so he could only get killed by, no one else than, Shiva´s son. Shiva was very well known for her fierce asceticism. After the tragic death of her beloved Sati, who jumped into her father´s ceremonial fire feeling dishonored by him (by her father), everyone doubted he would ever marry again. Taraka felt powerful and indestructible, freely terrorizing and destroying all the three worlds, even the Heaven of the Gods.

The Gods fervently invoked the Maha Devi (the primordial Shakti, the Great Femenine power) through rituals, prayer, mantra and ceremony, so she would incarnate as a Goddess to gain Shiva´s heart again. She became embodied as Parvati, the daughter of the mountain and, after a very long story, she married Shiva.

All the Gods are happy. Now Shiva can have a son. But the love-making between Shiva and Parvati is so intense, and the seed of their love so hot, that no one can hold it. Not even Parvati. So she gives the seed to her sister Svaha, Agni´s wife (the fire God). But even her, that is hot and fiery, can only hold it for a limited time. So she put it inside the cold waters of Goddess Ganga. After a while, Ganga passed it on to the forest Goddess Aranyani, that plants the seed into the fertile soil. It is so that through all this different places, a symbol of the different yogic paths of transformation, a beautiful six-headed boy is born. Vishnu asked the six Krittika star devis to suckle the newborn baby. He took six separate forms until Parvati came and brought the six babies together again in an embrace.

His name was Kartikeya, also known as Skanda or Murugan. He became the Lord of War, and the best of the warriors, as this was his dharma. He is described in the Skanda Purana as brave and intelligent, a great devotee of Shiva, his father, and with the charisma of a leader that will guide Gods and men into battle to defeat  the demon Taraka.



And so it was. When, after a long battle, he killed such a horrible beast he thought, “how could I turn this disaster into beauty?”.  And so he transformed the thousand eyes of the demon into the feathers of the peacock. And the peacock became his vahana or vehicle of Consciousness, as a symbol of transmutation, of what it is possible to do with the ugliest of our experiences.



There is a similar story in Greek Mythology in which the Goddess Hera, Goddess of women and marriage, creates the peacock from Argus, a hundred-eyed gigant.

Since then the tail feathers of the peacock symbolize the “eyes of the star” and the all-seeing knowledge.



Such a beautiful way in which the ancestral wisdom tell us that the yogic power, the one that spring forth from the inner marriage of Shiva and Shakti, of our inner self and our outer actions, is all about transmuting experiences into beauty; about allowing creativity to flow from the battle grounds of the heart; about transforming grieve into hope, anger into acceptance, fear into love, limitations into wisdom. I felt many times inspired by this story. Inspired to create, to paint, to sing,… or to write. And you? In what do you transform your inner demons? 

Where are you being called to battle? 

How are you a leader in your community? If you are not yet, where do you feel the call of leadership in service to others?  

How do you transform the debris of your inner battles in beauty and wisdom? 

Transforming poison into nectar

Transforming poison into nectar

Is there a yogic practice more transformative than mantra? Mantra is an energetic device that works in the most subtle places inside your being. It is the power of the Shakti, the creative energy of the Universe, its vibration, creating sonic forms inside of you, dissolving limitations, birthing new structures, transmuting the core of your being at all levels, from the physical to the most ethereal.

In India, Mahashivaratri is a time of fasting, a time of meditation, a time of chanting. it is a time fully dedicated to Consciousness in its formless form as Shiva, the Ultimate Reality. It is a night of mantra. It is said that, the effects of repetition of the mantra Om Namah Shivaya, of dissolving obstacles, of cleansing karmic patterns, of manifesting your innermost heart desires, of expanding consciousness, of remembrance of our essential nature of awareness and bliss, are multiplied by thousand. It is believed that, in this particular moment of the year, there is a especial energy that favours spiritual connection and growth. And to synch into that current of energy one must be awake, with the spine erect. Getting close to one of most magical and powerful nights of the year I would like to invite you, even if you do not stay awake all night, to take a time for yourself, to go inside and to repeat the Maha mantra.

It is interesting that the probably most important spiritual holiday in India, is a celebration of darkness, just the night before the Moon will disappear completely from the sky. Not really strange though if we think that Shiva, in the myths, always embraces the dark, the marginal, the rejected, teaching us that everything that Jung would call “the shadow” are places in our being where we find our true power. If we are able to make the transformation, of course. In the beautiful mythological story in which the Devas (the lights) together with the Asuras (the demons) have to churn the Ocean of Milk, a metaphor of the practice of yoga, and after the Ocean has gifted them with multiples presents as brilliant precious stones and several other treasures, there is a moment when, from the bottom of the Ocean, the most venomous and toxic poison emerges.

After a few moments of panic, and realising that all life forms could disappear from the Universe with the poison, all agree in calling out to Shiva. He comes, poised as usual. He takes the poison, he swallows it and hold it in his throat. He is neither intimidated nor allows the poison´s toxicity to enter deep inside his body. He holds it in his throat that turns into a blue color. And he becomes Neelakantha “the one of the blue throat”, the same color of the Visudhi chakra. The chakra of speech, of language, of communication. The bridge between the mind and the heart. The place of vibration, of sound. The place of mantra.

There is a great Tantric teaching in this story. Shiva neither rejects the poison nor hides it in a remote place.He transform it in the sonic power of mantra, in vibration, in pulsation. He extracts from the poison its essence, that is not other that his own essence and transmute it into energy.

Any poison that is in your life at the moment (and I am sure that there is more than one and some of them can be really toxic), take it, accept it, embrace it and during this magical night just repeat the mantra.

You can recite the mantra in loud voice. You can repeat it internally feeling the silenced sound vibrating inside yourself. You can sing it. In solitude or in company. In any way allow the mantra and your heart to melt into each other. Feel its healing power multiplied by thousand during Maha Shivaratri. And, as my teacher Sally Kempton instructs, repeat it with the conviction that “the mantra is not other than the Supreme Consciousness that permeates the Universe and it is not other than yourself”. Like the poison. Poison that with the churning (the repetition of the mantra) of the Ocean of Milk (your heart) will be slowly transmuting into nectar.

The alchemy of creativity

The alchemy of creativity

As I was getting ready for the Anusara Yoga Teacher Training in Morocco, a very especial course for me for multiple reasons, I invoke the energy of one of my most close and loved archetypes: the Goddess Saraswati, the power, among many other things, of language and communication; also the sacred energy of mantra. And just in these days that Saraswati puja was celebrated, and connected with my 2017 theme Transmutation, I feel like writing about creativity, about inspiration, about art and about all the ways that human beings we use to creatively express to transform our experience.

Saraswati is the Goddess of language, of artistic expression; the Goddess of both teachers and students; the Goddess of refinement. Through all my years as a yogini I have had a very close relationship with her. In fact, this relationship has been there through all my life, since I have been always a nerd, but in my pre-yoga life I did not know that we passionate and eternal students were channeling the energy of this beautiful hindu deity. Things of the destiny, that in spite of Kali, Durga or Laksmi that kept me really busy, she is the one that has the most privileged place in my puja. Between 2003 and 2004 I spent nearly a whole year in India. I really wanted to find a murti (a physical representation of a deity usually made of metal, stone or wood). I wanted it to be big, exquisite and preferible of Shiva Nataraja. Shiva in the form the Lord of the Dance de la Danza is another very significant archetypal energy in my spiritual life through different linages. Furthermore, one of my visits to his temple in Chidambaran, dedicated to the space element or akasha and with such a suggestive name as “Clothed in Consciousness”  literally saved my life (here there is another full story that I would write some other day but for now I will go back to the murti). It was there where I found the Nataraja of my dreams but for some strange reason, of those that only have a place in India, it was not possible to send it to Spain from there. I never got to know exactly.

I travelled through India for months and only the last month, in the city of Pushkar in Rajhastan, I found a shop that looked like a trasure cave, filled with precious sculptures, loaded with energy. There it was the most beautiful and harmonious Nataraja I had ever seen. I reserved it right away and I returned one week later, after a magical trip in the desert. When I entered the shop I felt an intense presence, extremely intense, to my right. So intense that I could not but turn to look. There She was. Gorgeous, radiant, full of Shakti. I could not turn my eyes and even my body from that murti. She was  Saraswati, of course. I had to take a difficult choice because I did not have enough money for both and it was Her that made the journey to Spain.

After that long journey in India I moved to Barcelona, where I would teach yoga. It was my  return to Spain, to my country, after nearly eight years of absence. My first yoga class in Barcelona was February 5th 2005. It was Saraswati puja. From that day I always celebrate it. I also feel Her expressing through me every time I teach.

Back to transmutation, Saraswati evokes the energy of the muse. She is pure inspiration. She is the creative energy of the Universe and all the beautiful ways in which it manifests through us.  Saraswati represents all human capacities to create beauty.  Radically different from most other Goddesses from the hindu pantheon, that they are usually very connected with Nature, She represents the refinement of language, everything that makes us fully humans, the capacity of abstract thought, the possibility to evoke feelings through poetry, of reaching the heart through music.

Besides refined and generative of beauty through words, sounds, colors, images, this creative energy is profoundly transformative.  In a writing course with my dear friend Susanna Harwood-Rubin, we were asked to contemplate which were the rasas (feelings, flavors of existence) from which we more often wrote. I observed that I like to write from experiences of ecstasy and deep connection, but also many time from sadness, from pain and, sometimes even from anger and frustration. Getting inspired in difficult experiences and transforming them into words, finding the connection between what I feel, what I am going through and myths, stories, teachings, becomes an alchemical process through which the feelings transmute and the experiences take on a new sense.  The alchemical power of art is there both for the artist and for the ones that enjoy the artwork. For example, Picasso´s Guernica. Through his inspiration and mastery, he was able to transform a horrendous experience in a magnificent piece of art, full of symbols and full of feelings, that makes us live the horrors of war, but reminds us, at the same time, of the human capacity to create beauty from any situation.

This year I feel  Saraswati very present. Writing, creating, as a way to transform, new creative projects that bubble inside of me. It is my strong desire to have the steadiness and well doing so they get born. In the meantime I have been loving painting feathers, as if to transform the heaviness of the world into lightness.

Which feelings or experiences awaken your creativity?

Is there any experience in this moment in your life that you would like to transmute through artistic expression?


The subtle touch of spirit

The subtle touch of spirit

This is a year of symbols and sacred tools. They show up loaded with purpose and meaning. In december I got  a card this card on a reading (from Ariel Spilsbury´s 13 Moon Oracle)

The Sacred Tool of the Peacock Feather – TRANSMUTE

The peacock feather it has been a symbol of my path as a yoga teacher. I received one as a gift in my very first TT from my teacher Sianna Sherman, many years ago. Those where some of the most transformational years in my life and, that feather has been always in my puja as a reminder of the power of the teachings, the power of transmission and the power of the beautiful community in which I grew up as a yogi and as a yoga teacher. So I smiled when I got a new peacock feather in my life and linked to the word “transmute”.

In my last post I was talking about transmutation: a change of form, appearance, structure or nature. A radical change. A change that requires tremendous energy or time, like the energy implied in a nuclear reaction or the necessary time for a change in a DNA chain. From the yogic and Tantric perspective, when we think about radical transformation two different scenarios appear, that, as usual, are opposite and complementary.

On one hand there is the concept of “tapas”, the huge amount of energy we need to generate through practice and discipline to really shift the inner patterns of the mind and the external patterns of the body. Tapas implies effort but also constancy, dedication over time, clear intention and mental focus.

Carta del Oráculo de las 13 Lunas de Ariel Spilsbury

Card from Ariel Spilsbury´s 13 Moon Oracle

One the other hand, there is the process that is called darshan in the Hindu tradition. For example, a spiritually awakened being, through transmission, can bring an alchemical change of structure in your being. It doesn´t need to be a person. It can be a teaching from a book,  a puja or any kind of ritual, a moment of profound connection with nature, a life experience. Sometimes just a light touch, like a feather touch, brings a deep shift of vision and that is the most profound of the changes. (Sometime this is literally done this way and the teacher touches the student on the top of his head with a peacok feather to transmit a stroke of illuminated awareness)

In some way, this polarity in the process of transmutation takes me back to the idea that  for the practices to be sustainable in time, they have to participate from two elements: the fire (agni) and the nectar (soma). The intensity of our effort, that energy from the practice that with the power of our intention is able to destroy and create Universes, and the light touch of Grace. A blow, a breeze with such refined, elevated, precise, awakened energy that is able to bring about the most transformational shifts. The light touch of spirit that with subtleness, and not by any means less intense and radical, generates a momentum of quickening, of acceleration, of ripening.  

I leave you with a contemplation:

Where or when in your life have you felt the subtle touch of spirit quickening the processes of change in your inner self or your outer life?

How does it feel to be softly pushed towards the vortex of transmutation?

I would love for you to share your experience…

2017 Transmutation

2017 Transmutation

I love the practice of creating a theme at the beginning of the year. It provides me with focus and meaning in every step I take; it offers me direction when I get dispersed in the messiness of life; it give me direction when I lose my North. This year the theme springs forth from the bottom of my being, from the rawness of darkness, from long times of contemplation and as a gift from all the experiences that I have lived, and I am still living, both external and internally. The idea showed up constantly and it was fully confirmed in a reading using the 13 Moon Oracle by Ariel Spilsbury, that also revealed to me a symbol, that among many things is a symbol of beauty. But today I want to focus on the concept of




Change in form, nature, or substance; to change something completely, especially into something different and better.


  • The action of changing or the state of being changed into another form; metamorphosis
    • 1Physics The changing of one element into another, either naturally or nuclear reaction
    • 2Biology historical The conversion or transformation of one species into another.
    • 3The supposed alchemical process of changing base metals into gold.


We regularly experiment Nature dynamic rythms. Most of spiritual traditions will teach us to accept that the only permanent thing in life is change. We are constantly changing. But the concept of transmutation does not refer to minor changes or the changes we continually perceive, but to radical transformation: the change of a chemical element into another, that needs of the alteration of its essential nucleus; the transformation of lead into gold, the dream of any alchemist; the transformation of a species until it has such characteristic and different features that has become a new one.

Immersed during several months in a transformation cocoon, I feel this process of radical and deep change happening, not in a linear and logical way, but like anarchícally bubbling, becoming a new me in many ways. At the same time, we all live in a world that is undergoing abrupt big changes, huge readjustments happening at a geological level, at a biological level, at an economical, social and political level. We are witnessing the collapse of old structures and empires, a real growth crisis, like if the Earth and humanity´s hormones went crazy in adolescence mood.

As above, so below. As inside so outside. I truly believe that they main transformation in this moment in time is our inner transformation. We feel it in the collective psyche crying out to heal its wounds. People is seeking ancient teachings and practices, get together in sisterhood and brotherhood circles, reclaman the power of the femenina and the Goddess, reclaiming the power of the masculine too. In the same way we see how the old paradigms do not serve in our societies, our obsolete mental patterns do not either. We are in an individual and collective mission. I am not sure if this is the best time to live in this planet, but no doubt these are interesting times to evolve and leave a meaningful print behind.

We are called, as individuals, as a society and as a species, to transmute. What you do for your personal evolution matters and makes a difference

One of my favorite definitions of yoga is as “a technology of transformation”. Yoga offers infinitude of practices that teach us to observe and change stagnant patterns in our bodies, in the breath, and in our minds. It is said that, due to the interconnection between the different bodies or “koshas” of our being, even changes at the DNA level are possible when we allow for radical changes of the inner structures of our self. Without doubt, yoga can be and is an incredible ally in the process of personal and collective transmutation. If, as I do, you feel that we are in need of a radical change, start from the closest. Starts with yourself. Cultivate the values you long to see outside and commit to them.  One of the major discoveries along my 20 years of practice is that, in the process of learning to deal with my personal resistance to change (nobody says this is an easy goal), I feel much more compassion and empathy to the people in the world that is basing their choices in fear and that is looking for protection in the external powers that brings more and more control. And this world for sure needs much more compassion, empathy and love towards those who do not share our same vision.

If you do not like what you see, try to radically change something inside of you or in your way of living. My wishes for a year of growth, transmutation and metamorfosis, so every one of us can become its most powerful and beautiful version of themselves.

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