By Mary Kavanagh
With more and more people taking the approach of mindfulness as a way of bettering their lives, many are looking to meditation as a tool to help them with this process. Portlaoise based couple Mark Sutton and Karen O’ Moore are two people who know more than the average person about meditation as they run Tantra Awakenings.
Tantra is an Indian style of meditation which has existed for more than 5,000 years, and for Mark and Karen has become a lifestyle.
They work closely with both single people and couples to help them live a more conscious life and connect to both themselves, other people and the world around them. The couple recently appeared on RTÉ’s ‘What Women Want’, where they spoke to presenter Maia Dunphy about tantra and meditation.
They were working at the Bliss festival in Cork when they were filmed and them and a number of other facilitators appeared on the programme. They launched their business Tantra Awakenings about 18 months ago and have been very busy bringing the concept of Tantra to people not just in Laois, but throughout the country. They run workshops telling people about Tantra, and giving them tools such as meditation and breathing techniques. They also run a weekly meditation class every Monday in the newly established and growing yoga studio, Yogilibrium in Portlaoise.
Both Mark and Karen are internationally trained, and between them have nearly 30 years’ experience in Tantra and alternative therapies. Mark is originally from Wigan in England but moved to Portlaoise 15 years ago. Karen is originally from South Africa, and has been living here for the past 18 months. Both have travelled all over the world, spending a lot of time in India, the home of Tantra.
Some people when they hear Tantra, think immediately of sex, but according to Mark and Karen, this is a tiny aspect of a huge philosophy. “Tantra is about connection. In our workshops we do connection and meditation exercises. It is about accepting everything in life that comes at you,” said Mark. “It is about being alive, breathing deep and being more present,” added Karen, who said that people can do very simple things to bring more calmness into their lives. “Sitting down with a cup of tea and no phones or computers to distract you, and tasting and smelling the tea will make you more mindful. People can also do this with food while they are eating, savour every bite. This is not rocket science.”
Karen also spoke about enjoying the journey in life and not just focussing on the destination, as another way to become more mindful. “Tantra is not a religion or a dogma, it flows and it is whatever works for you. It is a very simple thing. Take some time off to be more present and it can make a world of difference.” She said that all religions can and do practice Tantra in their lives.
They work a lot with couples, to help them with intimacy or connection issues, but say that their tools can be applied to any relationship in life.
“Tantra is for everybody and anybody and we have has clients from the age of 19 up to people in their 80s from all different backgrounds. It gives people the tools to fix themselves and shine a light on what may be wrong,” said Mark.
He added that all the work they do with clients, they also do themselves, so in essence they practice what they preach. To find out more about Mark and Karen, visit www.tantraawakenings.org, check out Yogilibrium on Facebook or contact 083 3978707.
This article can be found in the Leinster Express (22 October 2013)
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Maia Dunphy's ' What Women Want' on RTE2
This article can be found in the March issue of Positive Life
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