The Shy Yogi's Guide to Tantra
This article originally appeared on Yoganonymous.com
What it is tantric yoga, and where does it come from?
According to this article published by Marie Claire, "Tantric sex is an ancient Eastern spiritual practice. Like yoga, or Zen, it is practiced for the purpose of enlightenment. In the Tantric view, sex and orgasm equal spiritual awareness at its peak. When Shiva, male energy, and Shakti, female energy, come into a sexual union, it is believed to be the highest point of enlightenment."
Tantric yoga hails from northern India, Pakistan, Tibet, and southwestern provinces of China. According to this article, written by Yoga Journal, "Tantra’s origins are still debated. Some scholars believe that it began between 3,000 and 5,000 years ago, when the earliest yoga texts, the Vedas, were written. But Tantra did not come into common practice until the fourth century."
So who practices it? Currently, you can find formally trained yogis, and yogic newbies playing around with the tantric yoga practice, as it's making it's way back into popular culture.
Is tantric yoga all about sex?
Hardly—tantric yoga is all about being present in your body. When you are present in your body, you are more present with others. Tantric yoga helps your mind-body connection flourish by facilitating a stronger connection to the feel-good sensations already present in your body. All of this heightens your reactions to internal and external experiences (like sexual chemistry).
Do you need to hire a tantric yoga instructor if you're interested in becoming a tantric yogi?
Not at all! You are more than welcome to engage in tantric practices solo in the comfort of your own home, or with a loving partner. Tantric yoga encourages you to open up your energy, wholly and completely—which means the protective shields and barriers come down.
If you are highly sensitive to energy (ahem, healers we're looking at you), be scrupulous with whom you share your sexual energy. It's wise for energy sensitive individuals to do energy clearing techniques before and after your tantric experiences—that way you lessen the chance of having energetic cords stuck in your energetic, emotional, and mental bodies.
If you would like to hire a tantric yoga instructor, they are out there waiting for your call. Let them know what's comfortable for you, and let them know what stands as a personal violation (Hey, you never know).
Also be sure to communicate your intentions behind your tantric practices. Are you learning to practice with your partner? Learn about the history? Or learn easy ways to incorporate into your life for the purpose of more joy? Communicating these details helps your teacher create a more custom practice that can better suit your needs.
Where can you learn more about tantric yoga?
You can learn about tantra in tantric workshops, in books, on the web, and face-to-face (in your bed with your partner, wink).
We all love to believe we're experts on sex—but let's get real, tantra is a powerful tool and if we use it the wrong way, we won't get far from mediocre love-making. The best way to engage with the practice is to start slow, with an easy practice such as soul-gazing, and then slowly build up into a full practice.
Tantric work is energy work, so if the practice peaks your interest, don't be afraid to go out and get certified to find out what the practice is truly about. Here are a few resources to check out: