YogaMaYam

This site is for learning and sharing about Yoga. Topics include teaching, asana, meditation and a nurturing forum for questions about your Yoga practice.

What is Tantra Yoga?

Written By:
Ananda Prema Shakti (Felicia Case)
© EarthStar Publishing, Inc.
(Researched data from Rahish Johari)

Tantra means “to weave.” Tantra Yoga weaves in all the sciences – astronomy, astrology, numerology, physiognomy, physics, chemistry, alchemy, ayurveda, psychology, mathematics geometry, and so on – to provide a practical means of realizing the highest ideals of human knowledge. Thus, we can study the tree of life itself, rather than limiting to a single branch of the tree. Tantra encourages us to partake of the pleasures in life, with discernment, discipline and moderation.

The primary aim of Tantra Yoga is to expand awareness of all states of consciousness, whether in wakefulness, dreaming, or sleep. To accomplish this we need a kind of ‘deprogramming’ and ‘reprogramming’ of our human computer. Our birth provides primary programming and if we are content enough, we see no need to change. However, when into a single life comes great difficulties, or when we seek something beyond our limited program of life, we begin to open to new possibilities to alter our old awareness level. Those who are led to a Tantric life are often first taken through a symbolic death, in which life, as they knew it, has been extremely and profoundly altered. Like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, Tantra lowers a veil and reveals that death isn’t necessarily next, and that there is indeed MUCH, MUCH more to life than what meets the eye. When the question arises in the aging battle-weary psyche, “Is this all there is to life, love, sex, work?” The path of Tantra unfolds to teach us that there is indeed a vast new world to explore.

First, Tantra Yoga leads us to identify the various factors that influence our thoughts and feelings, and to transcend the obstacles to our evolution. The main obstacles are: ignorance, intolerance, attachment to our animal nature, and selfishness. Through Tantra Yoga we learn to create peace, harmony, and order within ourselves, promoting one-pointedness and centeredness that helps us to free and move through obstacles.

Next, we begin to see in everything the universal product of two opposites: yin and yang, light and dark, gravity and centrifugal force, push and pull, in and out — the reigning static principle (rest, holder of power) portrayed by the symbolism of masculine Shiva, and the dynamic principal (movement, energy power, creativity) symbolized by the feminine Shakti. Energy undergoes many changes, get distorted and then reorganizes itself during the period of rest. Thus the mysteries of life present as the continuous process of preservation and destruction, reorganization and re-creation that goes on forever. Tantra Yoga believes that the world has the energy of Universal Mother, Durga, the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer: Guardian of the cycle of Birth, Life and Death. Thus in Tantra Yoga, this feminine ‘She’ is an aspect of the Divine.

Tantra yoga asserts that desires, pleasures and comforts are natural. Further on the path of Tantra we come to understand how the misuse of these instincts leads to agitation, loneliness, anxiety, dissatisfaction, selfishness, addiction, and misery. Tantra offers practical tools for balancing desires, pleasures and comforts to help unfold our sensual and divine nature without guilt and hangups.

Many immediately think about sex when the word Tantra arises. While there are different aspects to applying Tantra to various areas of our lives (the physical side of things being one of them) Tantra Yoga is not about wild “triple x dot org.” Tantra is not sex. Tantra is Yoga. There are indeed mysteries and practices, which are romanticized and guessed at in the Western world.  By combining sacred sex with Tantra Yoga we are meant to conserve and redirect the sexual energy to create alchemy (transmutation of ojas into tejas, a more subtle level of radiant energy that is sattvic in nature), and not to expel and dissipate the energy through frequent orgasmic release. For most serious practitioners, over a period of time, a change in the expression and expenditure of our sexual energy is one of the fruits of Tantra Yoga.  Base drives and desires are transmuted into a more pure, sacred psycho-sexual-spiritual expression.  By actually decreasing and containing so as to not always lead toward the goal of  release (an apanic action of the body which depletes vitality and the life force), a fuller sexual and sensual life can be experienced. Focusing too much on the physical side can unwittingly undermine and sabotage a relationship. Undersatiation or oversatiation and the resulting numbness can kill love just as underwatering or overwatering can kill the most beautiful plant. Through balance a couple can ‘stand in the gap’ of intimacy, slowing down time and accentuating the pleasure of the experience, rather than trying to always ‘achieve’ or bring about release. There is no longer a goal — no pressure for climactic ends. Like being in a boat approaching a water fall, the excitement builds and builds … then the boat is pulled off to the side and moved back up river, beginning again and again without having to plummet over the falls which ends the experience. The highpoint where we feel most truly alive is suspended and extended, and we are taken into a different rhythm of time and space. We stand ‘in the gap’ of a moment, in a true state of mindfulness.

In deeper sects, redirection and transmutation of the electrical charge of kundalini shakti through contained sexual release occurs through vajroli and sahajoli mudra.  These practices are certainly not mainstream and are best undertaken with the guidance/studied teachings of a guru/teacher who has experience.

As we continue on the journey, Tantra weaves fully into our lives and demonstrates that indeed “Less is More.” This applies to all senses, be it having to do with food, touch, hearing, seeing, thinking, and feeling. Tantra invites us into the whirling dance of life, within the parameters of sacred reverence, truth, purity and most of all, moderation.  If we partake all the time of good things, overeating, and never getting hungry, we get numb and satiated.  By practicing moderation of the senses and true mindfulness, suddenly life tastes very good.

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