Tantric yoga may be practiced by anyone; even those who have sustained permanent disabilities, are paraplegic or cannot move freely. Classes are focused on breathing, mental purification, meditation, spiritual connection and visualization rather than endless exercising for personal gain.
Yoga students learn about stretches, alignments and postures and controlled movements to find the most profound inner peace. Yoga classes are non-competitive and are designed to help individuals heal, cope with stress, ease pain, relax and find emotional, mental and physical pleasure.
Tantric yoga is a form of yoga that is based on an ancient Indian tradition of cultivating inner peace. Yoga offers participants a channel to expel negative energy and emotion, clear and relax the mind, reduce stress, learn ancient mantras and experience deeply restful meditations that result in increased energy and a revitalized mind and body.
A quiet mind is one of the deepest benefits of doing yoga. Participants are taught to accept their bodies as they are and reconcile doubts about attractiveness. The mind is trained to transpose shallow thoughts, become still, quiet and receptive to the ebb and flow of energy. Essentially, tantric yoga is a powerful mental, emotional, spiritual and physical meditation.
What is American Tantric Yoga?
American Tantric Yoga is a hybrid form of yoga that combines aspects of traditional East Asian sexual and spiritual techniques and Western self-transformational therapy. Classes taught in mainstream American yoga centers reduce the risk of physical injuries presented with traditional Asian yoga techniques.
White tantra techniques, such as repetitive mantras, pranayama breathing techniques and energy harnessing and transforming asana exercises, can be learned in classes and practiced individually at home. Red Tantra techniques must be practiced with a romantic partner. Poses, alignment, breathing and energy flow is learned in classes, though the knowledge is designed to be used at home as a couple. This type of practice is essentially yoga for a healthier and more satisfying relationship.
Because tantric yoga is a meditation for relationships and the self, some of the lessons are sexually explicit. Breathing lessons are given that help delay, intensify and prolong orgasms in both men and women. Techniques are varied and range from timed, full breaths to bahdhas “breath of fire” exhalations that help boost energy. Classes teach couples how to exchange energy through reciprocal breathing techniques. This is an incredibly intimate practice. Couples should practice their breathing exercises together in class and at home until breathing is comfortably harmonized and feels natural.
Poses are taught for the most satisfying sexual pleasure, as are ancient forms of foreplay and exercises in impulse control. Students learn about seamless transitions between positions, how to support the partner comfortably and how to use positioning blocks or pillows to heighten the sexual experience.
History of Tantra
Traditional Tantra slowly evolved over hundreds of years in, what is today, the countries of India, Nepal, and Tibet. This form of yoga practice has been widely regarded, popular and widespread since its development around 500 AD. Tantra is one of the few types of yoga that is practiced in both Buddhism and Hinduism.
In 500 AD, sexuality and spirituality melding with yoga as radically unorthodox compared to other forms of religions yoga. Hindu priests, or Brahmins, depended upon Vedic yoga practices to “purify” individuals, though purification was largely dependent upon which caste the participant was born in to. Buddhist monks and nuns did not appreciate religious yoga practiced by civilians and initially protested the practice of tantra.
As history proves, the more powerful groups try to deprive the public of the right to practice a religion, the more the religious practice spreads. About 500 years after its inception, both religions accepted and commonly practiced tantric yoga. It is alive and well today, and has infiltrated both the Western and Eastern worlds.
Tantric practices led to the creation of many East Asian religious texts, some of which teach readers and followers’ yoga techniques that help release the spirit, open the mind and encourage spiritual, mental and physical enlightenment.
Tantra literally means to weave knowledge and wisdom into the cultural fabric of the world. Yogis believe that the entire planet and all living beings are interconnected and interdependent. To care for one’s own body is to help care for the planet too. It is one way to make small personal changes that can have a big impact and affect change.
Respect for Women, Couples and Sexuality
Ancient Asian practices are quite different from many modern cultures. Women are afforded great respect and are cherished through the practice of tantra. In some Asian religions, the female form is considered divine, or as important as a goddess. Sexual intercourse is viewed as a highly intimate and precious spiritual act that brings couples closer to the divine and to each other. Sex and yoga are combined to get closer to God and cherish the relationship between couples.
Tantra never shames sexuality. Rather, it sex is seen as a necessary aspect of gaining spiritual enlightenment. Not only is tantric yoga excellent for gaining sexual enlightenment, but it can also help practitioners develop superior strengths in and out of the bedroom. Those who practice ancient exercises are given the power to control certain body functions and reactions and overcome external stimuli.
Tantra practitioners, or Tantrikas, made sexual intercourse a vital aspect of spirituality. Because East Asian countries are very spiritual and believe that everything in the environment is holy and connected, sexual experiences are not burdened by pure or impure labels. They are a religious experience.
While less than 10% of religious text associated with Tantra are concerned with sexuality, it is a vital aspect of healthy relationships. Sexual tantric religious texts are among the world’s most popular ancient documents still in use today. Other religious documents deal with mantras, worship of deities, meditation and magic. Many of these old texts and instructions fall to the wayside when integrated into other cultures, though there is value in the knowledge they offer.
The Benefits of Tantra
Many world cultures are social and sexually repressive. Whether this be a societal norm or a religious requirement, it can be very difficult for people to un-train their minds to be more open about sexual pleasure with their partners. Tantric yoga is a good way to purify the mind and soul, let go of guilt and eliminate embarrassment with the body and its needs.
True Tantra is about overcoming ego and discovering humility within the physical body, psychic mind, and spiritual being. Using an open heart, pure intentions and intuition, couples are able to harness sexual energy and be more open and experimental in the bedroom. The benefits for couples are what has kept Tantra alive and popular throughout centuries of use.
Tantric yoga heightens sensory awareness, improves flexibility, stamina and blood flow and leads to more intense pleasure for couples. While it is wonderful for couples, it is also good for individuals wanting to improve their health and lower stress levels.
Follow Eastern religions is not a requirement of practicing Tantric yoga and enjoying its benefits. However, there are many aspects of Tantra that are very positive for followers to accept and emulate, such as respect for women and the power of femininity, respect for the male as a hunter and warrior and how to resolve problems in interpersonal relationships in healthy ways.
How to Learn Yoga
Learning about yoga requires students to practice and memorize body poses and postures along with breathing techniques. Manipulating body postures must be done in a way that is not too physically taxing for the student. Begin with a low-level set of poses and move into more difficult poses gradually.
Classes should be physically taxing, but not so much so that participants walk away discouraged or injured. If poses are too difficult or strain the back, a different set of poses specifically designed for treating back injuries should be learned first. After strength, stamina and health is improved, other poses may be learned.
Students learn about anasa breathing techniques and prana, a vital life force that helps cleans the mind, body and soul. Yogis of the ancient world believed that controlling this vital life force gives on the power to completely control the mind and bring about the absolute best human performance possible.
Liberating the mind and freeing the soul are just a couple of the benefits of tantra. Take the path to enlightenment by entering into a beginner’s yoga course. Master more intermediate classes and then enter into a Tantric yoga program that can help strengthen the minds, bodies and spirits of couples for the best life possible.