Until recently, Maria Porsfelt was known mostly as an inspiring teacher of Yoga, Tantra and meditation in Natha Yogacenter. However, in its Sunday issue on 31st May, Jyllands Posten newspaper tried to connect her name with a new scandal (they are trying to create) with the purpose of again attacking the Yoga school. To clarify this matter I contacted Maria and asked her some questions. She was kind, and over a telephone interview she openly and honestly shared her thoughts and feelings on the matter. Here is the interview:
R: For those who don't know you, can you please tell us something about yourself and your connection with Natha Yogacenter?
Maria: I started attending Yoga courses in Natha Yogacenter in 2001. I was a university student and I fell in love with a guy who was practicing Yoga in India. He told me about it with a lot of enthusiasm, and, as I had always wanted to practice Yoga and was very interested in it, I decided that this was the time to find out more about it, and we both decided to follow the Yoga courses offered by Natha Yogacenter. There I found out that their approach to Yoga was genuine and it was everything that I had dreamt of and more. In this way, Yoga became a very important part of my life. I temporarily interrupted my university studies and spent some years traveling through Asia, studying Yoga and traveling around Thailand and India, and it was a wonderful period of my life. It was during these travels that I met Jean Baptiste Miro. Upon my return from traveling, I resumed my studies at the university, where I am now doing my masters in philosophy, and I also returned to the study and practice of Yoga and Tantra with Natha Yogacenter. In general, I find the integration of my university studies and my activity in Natha very harmonious. I have always thought it is important to finish my studies.
R: What is your role in Natha Yogacenter?
Maria: I am the Chairman of Natha Yogacenter. I was elected by the board on the 16th of March 2008. The trust they placed in me was a big surprise, but probably my activity within the school was recommending me. However, my main activity there is to teach Yoga, Tantra and meditation.
R: On Sunday 31st May, JP newspaper published an article in which you are accused of participating in a sex movie. What is your reply to this accusation?
Maria: I am fully standing for all of my activities. It is a bit painful to see how my actions are presented in this twisted way by the newspaper. I was informed by my family and friends about what is going on, as I am not in Denmark in this present moment. When I read the on-line article in JP, I was amazed. From their description, I could hardly recognize the movie they wrote about in the way I knew it – they were presenting it as a ''pornographic movie'', something sleazy and perverse. In reality “Eve's Awakening” was made from a completely different perspective – a perspective of sublime and spiritual eroticism.
As I said, I have known Jean Baptiste for quite some years now – we first met in Thailand. Back then, he was making a documentary about eastern spirituality, and it was very inspiring. He is very talented and that project was both daring and inspiring. The same is with this new project of creating a transfigurative and spiritualized alternative form of eroticism, using artistic tools. When I heard about it, it seemed to be a good opportunity to help him give an artistic expression to the ideals and beliefs we both share regarding sacred love and love-making. We meant this project to be a ray of light in the darkness that dominates the adult film industry. The movie is meant to give an alternative to people, to the way they live their intimate lives, to give a more elevated and spiritual perspective upon sexuality and to give another perspective for living life in a way that is completely fulfilling and that would make them happy.
The idea was to gather some people who have experience in applying the tantric teachings in their life, then to find the artistic means to create the transmission of the spiritual message. It was a wonderful experience for me to participate in this project. We were talking a lot about finding the best way to illustrate the elements of human eroticism in terms of spirituality and Jean Baptiste was constantly pushing the team towards the most spiritual approach in order to fulfill the highest standards.
So, it was not at all a sex-movie, as JP presented it. It was about showing how intimacy can be approached differently and how it can become a beautiful act of love-making, with transfiguration, love and intimacy. It was only from this perspective that I decided to join this project, together with Miro. I trust him very much, I saw the other movies he made on various other subjects and I like very much what he does.
R: Do you feel the movie was loyal to this perspective?
Maria: Yes. When I watch this movie, I find it very beautiful and inspiring and it is something that I am happy to have participated in. I know that spiritualizing the erotic experience, that involves perfect control over the sexual impulse, is a daring action since the sexual energy is very powerful and many people allow themselves to be dominated by it. Yet we are not starting from scratch, our parents were the generation that started the sexual revolution so I don't see why we should now be less open...
R: But in their article, JP insinuates that there is a connection between Sublime Erotica and Natha. Can you make it clear – is there any connection between Natha and the production of the movie, from the financial or administrative perspectives?
Maria: No, there is no connection between Natha and Sublime Erotica from any financial or administrative perspectives. Furthermore, the insinuations they made about the finances of the movie are off the scale. Miro put all his finances into this project and the whole team participated without any financial gain so that we can make this work. You know how hard it is to start a new project, especially when it is not known by many. And this is another thing that makes me so upset about this article. Besides the fact that the newspaper presents a very beautiful movie as something vulgar - it also insinuates that it has something to do with my everyday job as a teacher and as Natha’s Chairman. If I had had another job (like working in a bank) – for sure the journalist would not connect things in this way, but since JP has a clear goal of discrediting Natha Yogacenter (which is obvious to any person with common sense that reads their articles, considering they continuously refuse to publish our replies), they invent things and they twist the facts. From my perspective, it is ridiculous to make this connection and I take it as an offense. If the journalist had tried to call me I would have clarified this for him... but that would probably have ruined his point, and anyway he was running out of points in his hidden agenda.
In conclusion, I state clearly that there is no financial connection whatsoever, and no administrative connection between Natha and Sublime Erotica.
Natha and Sublime erotica are two different activities in my life. My involvement with Sublime Erotica is that of a private person, doing something which I believed and still believe is right. I know Jean Baptiste is an excellent director, and by participating in his movies I was involved in an interesting project, which I consider as being of great help for those with an open mind and with less inhibitions regarding sexuality, and who are looking for an alternative that makes them happy and free. This activity is not opposing in any way the things that I teach in Natha, because in fact this movie is built on some of the Tantric principles that I teach. Anyone seeing this movie will see at least that it was not meant to be pornographic.
Making this connection between me and a pornographic movie is meant to discredit me and the school and since they didn’t make any pornographic movies they are making this one appear as such. From there, with a series of insinuations the connection is made in a forceful way in order to obtain the scandalous effect.
R: This is not the only article. There is a series of articles against Natha Yogacenter, accusing it of being a sex sect. What is your reply to this series of articles?
Maria: I am still amazed. I would never have imagined seeing such strange journalism in Denmark - particularly in its obsession with the sexual aspect, making a big scandal out of it based on lies and by twisting the truth. There is so much emphasis on this, instead of mentioning all the wonderful courses and workshops on other subjects that we have in Natha. I am surprised that JP only focuses on some sexual stories and is trying to turn it into a scandal. Especially in my country I would have never expected these things to happen because we are supposed to be quite free and more relaxed when it comes to sexuality. As I mentioned we had a sexual revolution – Denmark is one of the places where this sexual revolution was initiated! And this was even in my parents’ generation! I am very surprised to see that my own generation is less open. Now I can see that some journalist is trying to create hysteria in the media – over a few movies with an erotic subject - which is completely far out. In these movies the eroticism is presented in a very beautiful and harmonious way and if those who criticize these movies would bother to watch them, they would change their opinion; they would see that it is something very different than the way that they present it, but it is clear that they only want scandal. They are not interested in finding out the truth as nobody made any effort to contact Natha or Sublime Erotica. This shows that they just want to find any excuse to attack and hurt Natha.
As for the sect accusation, I think that my life as it is would not be possible in a sect. They have insinuated that the students in Natha are isolating themselves from society, family and friends. Since I am in university and I’m also in good contact with my family, how can I fit into such a sect? It’s easy to label an organization that cannot defend itself because you don't publish any reply from it as a sect. Anyhow, if Natha was a sect, be sure that I would not be there in the first place and also this interview would not take place.
I hope the authorities will have the discernment to see the true face of Natha Yogacenter through this smoke screen that JP is trying to create. I assure you that I wouldn't have dedicated a big part of my time to Natha if that school would have mistaken spirituality with pornography. On the contrary, the teachings offered by Natha Yogacenter on the subjects of Yoga and Tantra make a very clear distinction between spirituality and sacred eroticism on the one hand and sexual perversions and uncontrolled sexual desires on the other. The spiritual methods that are offered can allow anyone to control and even transcend the inferior impulses. Since the journalist describes the movie ''Eve's Awakening'' as pornography, and also insinuates that Natha is teaching such things or is gaining a financial advantage from this, I must say that I am in doubt of his good intentions and his honesty.
I invite anyone who wants to discover what NATHA is to visit the school and to have a direct experience. There is nothing that can replace this knowledge.
R: Thank you for your time and for these clarifications. We would like to ask you some more questions but you mentioned in the beginning that we have limited time now. We will come back to you later, maybe after seeing if JP publishes NATHA's reply, now that NATHA is making an official legal request for the newspapers to publish it.
Maria: Yes, you are very welcome. I'm also looking forward to the newspaper’s public clarification following this series of mistakes. Goodbye.
Interview taken by Arthur Lederer