BEST FOR: THOSE WHO ARE READY TO ‘BE TOTAL’ (A KEY OSHO MESSAGE) IN EVERYTHING FROM DANCING TO CATHARSIS
NOT FOR: THOSE SEEKING A PAMPERING SPA EXPERIENCE LOADED WITH MASSAGES
Since I’ve been on my spiritual journey, I’ve been told that I would benefit from being more centred, but I didn’t really get what that meant. I know that I’m often lost in my thoughts, but surely I am physically present too right? Wrong. And the penny finally dropped, along with my energetic centre, while staying at the OSHO International Meditation Resort in Pune. Here, I received one of the greatest gifts of my life – the sense of expansion that can only come with experiencing connection to one’s Hara*.
Prior to this trip, I thought the faint undercurrent of dis-ease that comes with inhabiting my head was just part of the human condition. For as long as I could remember I had a tendency to ‘brace myself’ against life by holding my breath. My irregular cycle also indicating the feminine rhythm of my body was out of whack. Now I understand that, to the detriment of my connection with Self, I had been physically contracted – burying grief in my body since childhood, and living in detachment from my Hara*.
What to expect at OSHO International Meditation Resort
The 28-acre campus is a lush oasis with wild peacocks in tropical gardens and white marble pathways offsetting contemporary black buildings. The centre is not considered an ashram, although it does have a commune feel with the maroon robed uniform (including maroon swimwear in the spa) inside the resort during the day. Note: you can bring your own robes as long as they are completely plain and long, shawls etc or you can buy them from the OSHO Galleria when you arrive. For the evening meditation, maroon makes way for white only. Sannyas (truth seekers) piling into the temple-like auditorium, bats flying overhead as night sets in, creating an awe-inspiring spectacle and a masterclass in Zen chic. Albeit a little cult-like, in a good way.
From dawn to late night, there are lots of activities on offer at OSHO International. It can be a lot to get your head around. The ‘Welcome Morning’ is helpful which includes an orientation to some of the key daily meditations, and the OSHO Multiversity courses have daily ‘tasters’. There’s also the option of individual sessions from bodywork to birth-chart readings while my highlights from the events schedule included the mini-rave every morning in the open-air sunshine of Buddha Grove with DJ and house tunes, and Dhoom dancing with the delightful Dilara.
I had a few incredibly profound experiences at OSHO International – too much to go into in one article. So, I shall save stories such as facing my fear to find light in the Darkness Meditation, or the wave of Self compassion that left me weeping tears of relief in the OSHO Kundalini Meditation. Instead, for now, I shall focus on the experience that has most stayed with me – finding my Hara*.
Firstly – What is the Hara?
The Hara is said to be our body’s energetic centre. Around an inch in diameter, it’s located about two inches below the navel, inside the skin. It’s where our umbilical cord would have been attached, and gave us life before we were born. When the cord was cut, we suffered trauma which caused our body to close.
For thousands of years, wise teachers from the East have talked about the Hara (or Tan Tien) and western science talks of the “abdominal brain” which interacts with all the organs and especially the intestines, where food is converted to energy. I like to think of it as my intuition, or gut feelings. And having the Hara open is the key to vitality and deep knowing.
Pre-Trip Prep – Bodywork
I believe that the seismic shift I experienced at OSHO International would not have been possible without the help of the healers I worked with before I left home.
When I did The Arrigo Programme in Somerset, I was hoping for some one-to-one psychotherapy sessions with Fiona Arrigo, but she explained that before talk therapy could be effective, we needed to work on the energetic mismatch between my mind and body. And that the process of coming back into my body will release the trauma that had me disconnect in the first place. So, over the course of four days I pretty much had back-to-back holistic bodywork sessions. And although I left this retreat feeling more integrated, I understood I needed to continue to breakdown blocks in my body, in order to find the pathway to my centre.
Everyone has a unique experience with the different bodywork modules, and for me, I found regular sessions of Craniosacral Massage Therapy with Amanda Tizard and The 10 Series of Rolfing with Lizzie Reumont, particularly powerful in clearing the pathway, before my game-changing trip to India.
OSHO International: Talking to Bodymind & Active Meditation
One of the Meditative Therapy courses I signed up for was the week-long OSHO Reminding Yourself the Forgotten Language of Talking to Your BodyMind which uses hypnosis to connect with BodyMind and restore natural balance to heal. After starting each day at 5 a.m., going wildly out my comfort zone and shaking everything up with the aptly named OSHO Dynamic Meditation, I would head straight to my course, looking forward to being hypnotised into what seemed like a deep sleep. Each time, coming round just as the facilitator brought the meditation to a close, with zero recollection of what she had been saying for the last hour. Then, after a few of these sessions, while also averaging about four hours a day of the active meditations – including my favourite OSHO Kundalini Meditation, I had a breakthrough.
Usually a very punctual person, I had some kind of mental blackout on timings which meant I missed a much anticipated, one-to-one regression. Annoyed with myself for losing an appointment and leaving the facilitator waiting, I aimlessly followed my feet until I found myself at the auditorium just as the Mandala Meditation was starting. Having missed the intro video, I imitated the group – running on the spot, knees high, and soon fell into a trance. My breathing unusually diaphragmatic, steady and easy. I was so full of life I could have run like that for days (which is most unlike me, as usually running has every cell in my body screaming at me to stop.) After this highly physical part of the active meditation, we sat down to sway from our centres “like reeds in the wind”. Suddenly, for the first time in my life, I felt safe to sink deep into my body. That was when I experienced a dramatic energetic drop – down to my Hara centre. Like something had cracked open to release energy that had been stuck for lifetimes. With the sensation of being as light as air, while also securely rooted, I couldn’t tell apart the sweat on my face from tears of joy. Simultaneously I had pleasurable shivers underneath. And the best part? They kept on multiplying.
After I left the auditorium, buzzing with this new juiciness, I read that the Mandala Meditation it is a powerful technique with centering as its aim. Later that day, this alchemic shift seemed to continue with involuntarily trembles which escalated into a series of mini convulsions. Like I was having some kind of tantric fit. Perhaps this was a tremor response in my body, releasing stored charge. Or it could have been my kundalini shakti rising. Either way, I was recalibrated.
Keeping The Feeling
Now a connection to my Hara has been established, my shakti, or life force energy, is free flowing. And I’m able to experience the sense of fulfillment that comes with living through my whole body. Since I’ve returned home, I find I’m more connected with my breath, it’s easier to quieten my mind, and even my period has returned to a natural rhythm – synchronised with the full moon no less. Each day I show gratitude to my miraculous organic life support machine, and tune in to its subtle language. I guess you could say I went to India and found myself. Yep, I am that cliche.
PRICE: The 14 day Living in Programme costs about £970 including accommodation in a single occupancy room, campus entry pass, 6 full course days in the OSHO Multiversity or the equivalent in individual sessions, the full daily meditation program, night events and the open-air classes in Buddha Grove.
NEAREST AIRPORT: Pune
TRANSFER TIME: 20 Minutes
First-Hand Visit Write-Up By: Emma Whitehair