Tsa Lung is not trending on social media. It is not the latest core workout gripping Hollywood. It is not a package holiday that requires you book a Sherpa separately. Tsa Lung is a self-healing practice that engages the mind, body and spirit with purifying breathing and gentle yoga exercises that clear physical and emotional blockages.
Originating in Tibet more than 17, 000 years ago, Tsa Lung (Channel Wind) is relatively unknown in our nook of the universe; and, like all best kept secrets, its revelation leads to greater and greater discoveries.
Four years ago and far, far away from Tibet, in Cork City, Ireland, a rain-washed city sliced into islands by the river Lee, I was in the early stages of my spiritual journey, and the very human drive of want guided me. I wanted peace. I wanted fulfillment. Authenticity. Creativity. Happiness. All the good stuff.
Between my wants, I met Mary Sky, an energy healer and shaman, who facilitated a weekly Tsa Lung practice on the top floor of a lavender-and-fuschia-painted building on one of the oldest market lanes in the city. Somehow I had managed never to see this shockingly bright building in the seven years I walked up and down the Coal Quay, but I immediately recognized what I desired most on Mary’s face and in her presence—peace and love.
From there my desire pulled me away from the simple pleasures of my Tuesday nights –digesting dinner in front of TV in my warm, dry house (that had been a stable 100 years prior) to walk through a cold, wet web of streets and climb the lavender building’s creaky stairs. The sweet, earthy smell of incense grew stronger the closer I came to the summit of the Tsa Lung sangha where everyone sat Indian-style on a cushion and radiated peace.
I bowed my head when Mary rang the prayer bowl but kept my eyes open to watch and learn. Over the span of several weeks, I sank deeper into the practice, closed my eyes for longer periods of time, and felt an increasing harmony with my fellow sitters and with the three main stages of Tsa Lung—the Inner Refuge Mediation, the Nine Purification Breaths, and the five yoga exercises, which I will briefly explain:
The Inner Refuge Meditation provides us access through the three doors of enlightenment – body, speech, and mind. We rest our attention and connect to a deep sense of stillness in the body, then a silence of speech; and, lastly, a spaciousness of mind.
Throughout meditation, the mind may wander. It is simply doing what the mind does. By being aware that the mind has strayed, we can redirect it; and, eventually, we may notice the borders of the body and mind soften and dissolve. We may feel a stillness of being, a silence of being, a spaciousness of being.
The Nine Purification Breaths is a focused breathing technique that clears negative energies of anger, attachment and fear. In the Tibetan Bon tradition, these are the three root poisons that block us from realizing our full potential and true bliss. Before clearing these root poisons, we must first give them our full attention which can be uncomfortable and seem strange since our normal pattern is to spend an exorbitant amount of energy (and money) trying to avoid feeling anger, attachment, and fear, among other unpleasant emotions.
Integrated with awareness and breath are five gentle yoga exercises that stretch and massage the body. Each yoga movement clears negative and blocked energies and opens space for positive energy to flow freely. As with the Inner Refuge Meditation and Nine Purification Breaths, the five yoga exercises enable us to rest.
Counter to our society that tells us we are valued based on what we do, what we achieve, what we have, the Bon Tradition reveres rest and believes the soul is restored through rest. Tsa Lung is ritualized rest. It reassures me that when I allow myself to rest, I am doing all I need to do. When I rest in the practice, I let go of the demands of others and the demands I put on myself, which can be the most damaging.
Four years into my relationship with Tsa Lung, I continue to want a lot of good stuff, but my desire has changed from wanting to possess what others have to wanting to cultivate and nourish what I grow. I stay committed to Tsa Lung to maintain and restore the peace and self-acceptance I’ve found.
Since moving to Beaufort a few years ago, I established a community Tsa Lung practice. Presently, we have a lovely home at Effervescence Yoga Spa in Port Royal every Sunday at 4 p.m. Please join us if you want to rest, if you want to feel peace, if you want to restore your soul, if you want an antidote to the poisons of anger, fear, and attachment. No previous yoga experience is required and all desire is welcome.
For more information about Tsa Lung, please visit ligmincha.org or you can purchase the book Awakening the Sacred Body by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche. If you are interested in joining our Tsa Lung practice, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.efferevesceyogaspa.com
Emily Davis-Fletcher is a poet, writer, and advocate for love. Her poetry has been published in several journals including Southword, Crannóg Magazine, the Irish Examiner, and The High Window, among others. She is a joyful member of Lowcountry Spirit Writers, Otram Slabess poetry group and Threshold Choir. She facilitates Tsa Lung at Effervescence Yoga Spa and teaches poetry workshops. Currently, she is manifesting a poetry chapbook, an artist residency in Ireland, and a joyful, creative, abundant life.