To a chocolate-loving woman like me, chocolate yoga sounds like the only way you would get me remotely interested in yoga. Sjha’ra is facilitating chocolate yoga at this year’s Starlight Festival of Healing.
Okay, so what is chocolate yoga?
Well, like our name suggests, we mix the two things we all love the most: chocolate and yoga. There’s a magical synergistic effect when we combine cacao ceremony with our daily spiritual practice, yoga. It takes it to a whole new dimension!
How does cacao differ from cocoa and why is it so spiritually significant?
They both come from the same source, the Cacao plant. But they are vastly different. While cacao is chocolate that remains closest to its pure, more natural superfood form, cocoa on the other hand is heavily processed and at much higher temperatures, which effectively destroys most of the beneficial nutrients and certainly the medicinal and spiritual properties.
Not all cacao is created equally either. Don’t assume because it’s organic, raw, Fair Trade cacao bought from a health-food shop that it will have a high vibration suitable for spiritual purposes.
What I’ve learnt from visiting cacao farms around the world in my search for a pure ‘ceremonial-grade cacao’ is that it needs to be specifically prepared and produced. There are so many stages and steps to creating high-quality, high-vibration cacao. These range from origin and bean variety through to pre-harvest, harvest and post-harvest processing right through to the honouring of the land, the spirit of the plant and the connection of the people. Not to mention how it is prepared by the ceremonialist!
The cacao shaman whom we worked with called ceremonial-grade cacao the ‘forgotten plant medicine’. In ancient times the spiritual elite within the Mayan, Aztec and Olmec cultures used it as a facilitator to lift the veils to the other realms, in order to bring back wisdom and power. It was known as the heart medicine, and the food of the gods.
This is why I love to work with the sacred earth medicine of cacao – so I can assist people to journey deeply into their own hearts and feel their connection to our earth mother and the great spirit.
How does cacao help facilitate mind/body connection?
Mind/body connection is always there. It doesn’t need facilitating as such as it never goes away. But cacao does have powerful mind-focusing, heart-opening and muscle-relaxing effects. So it can help us to remember and feel this connection. Perfect for yoga and meditation.
What will the chocolate yoga session at The Starlight Festival involve?
I will be offering a magic mix of cacao ceremony and kundalini yoga, so we can experience and embody profound ways to weave sacred ceremony into our yoga practice. Our journey starts with an honouring ceremony: we will drink the cacao (as a hot chocolate), invoking the cacao deva and call for her medicine ways to bless our yoga practice. Then feel for yourself the depth and heart-opening presence of the cacao as we move through a kundalini yoga practice. A potent blend of asana, meditation, pranayama, mantra, mudra and dance will really get the energy moving for a fresh new year!
Starlight Festival of Healing runs from Thursday through till Monday at the Bangalow A&I Hall & surrounding pavilions. Price: $20 admission. 4-day pass $50. Locals 2-for-1 day 4 & 5 January. www.starlightfestival.com.au