What is Tantra Yoga?

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What’s the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the term “Tantra yoga?” For many people, it’s something sexual. If you relate tantra with sex, you’re not wrong, but that isn’t the only type of Tantra. The truth is that Tantra Yoga brings pleasure, but it doesn’t always have to be sexual.

So yes, what you’ve heard about tantra yoga is right. It can definitely be orgasmic and improve your sex life. It does so by helping you connect with your inner self. Practicing this form of yoga means getting back in touch with your energy and body. Tantric practices focus on enhancing spiritual and overall growth and well-being.

Yoga, particularly tantric, improves your mind/ body connection, and it’s pretty different from tantric sex. If you’re confused about what tantra yoga is, here’s a detailed guide for you. We will discuss what tantric yoga is, how it differs from regular yoga, its poses and benefits. So without further ado, let’s get right into it.

What is Tantra Yoga, Exactly?

Originating from Asian regions like India and Tibet, “Tantra” is an ancient spiritual practice. While there is quite a lot of awareness in these regions, people worldwide associate Tantra with Tantric sex, a form of intercourse involving spirits along with the body. However, sex doesn’t define Tantra and is, in fact, only one part of the spiritual practice.

The word “tantra” has quite a few literary meanings. It can mean “to expand or weave,” or “technology or technique.” Owing to the latter translation, many people believe tantric yoga to be an inner technology, as in a subjective method instead of an objective one.

However, it is vital to note that the contextual meaning of the term “tantra” has evolved over the years. Before it meant technique, tantra meant “loom” or “weave.” Combining the two different meanings with yoga, the idea of this yoga form weaves together many yoga techniques to tune in with you, others, and the universe. Tantra yoga is becoming popular since it helps you connect with your deepest desires, so you can achieve your goals. Not to mention, practicing tantric yoga with a partner can improve your bond as you both connect on a deeper level.

It involves a combination of yoga forms, breathing techniques, and spiritual practices. Things like mantra chanting, visualization, pranayama, and mudras allow you to study your inner self and the universe. In fact, these tantric techniques help to cultivate and establish kundalini energy.

Activating the kundalini energy means encouraging a healthy and positive flow of the chakras and nadis. Increasing the flow of the chakras leads to the crown chakra, which literally means “to spill from the top” or “overflow.” Ultimately, the crown chakra creates “Samadhi” or “enlightenment.”

Tantra yoga deals with the yogi’s entire body. It benefits:

  • Your Physical Body
  • Your Emotional and Mental Body
  • Your Wisdom Body (known as your inner teacher in yogis’ language)
  • Your Energetic Body
  • Your Bliss Body

According to Tantric yoga’s concepts, these bodies have their strengths and weaknesses. These strengths and weaknesses are buried deep down inside us, which often makes them hard to bring up to the surface.

A person will unconsciously stop responding to their inner self when they’re unable to bring their strengths and weaknesses to the surface and deal with them. As a result, they have absolutely no control over their desires and self. So, Tantra Yoga helps reach a state of bliss and connection.

Tantric practices, particularly tantra yoga poses, are deeply rooted in Hatha Yoga postures. Additionally, it weaves together other yoga techniques and styles like Karma, Bhakti, Raja, Kundalini, and more. That said, Tantric yoga goes beyond standard yoga traditions and asanas. In fact, it may be related to gemology, mystical teachings, Buddhist chanting, astrology, and Ayurveda.

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Tantra Yoga Techniques and Benefits

It is vital to learn about the basic concepts of Tantra to understand tantric yoga techniques and how they help. Tantra yoga basically originates from Shiva’s and Shakti’s worship. According to yogic experts, Shiva and Shakti are the two static and dynamic principles of the universe. The Shiva represents destructive, static, and masculine energies. On the other hand, the Shakti energies are typically creative, dynamic, and feminine.

Tantra yoga develops subtle bodies of spirit and energy, which help create a bridge between your physical body and the divine universe and your spirit. This development primarily focuses on Kundalini activation, and Prana’s cultivation and purification. But, how does Tantra yoga do that?

Tantric yoga uses the physical body to activate the energies through mudra, shatkarma, asana, and pranayama. Asana is the part of yoga that involves physical postures, whereas pranayama refers to breathing exercises. Pranayama is a common practice in Hatha yoga.

On the other hand, Mudras is an intense fusion of asana, pranayama, bandha yoga, and hand gestures. Also known as Kriya, Shatkarma involves esoteric techniques and exercises that help purify the body and cleanse your energy pathways.

Likewise, mantra, yantra, and puja are spiritual practices that help develop the spiritual body. Mantras refer to certain Sanskrit sounds that manifest divine power. Meanwhile, Yantras are geometric forms that are considered sacred. Yantra forms encourage visualization and concentration that are vital to Tantric rituals like Tantric yoga. Puja, on the other hand, originates from India and is a form of devotional worship. Deriving from Hinduism, it involves offerings of light, gems, water, food, and incense.

Tantra Yoga vs. Mainstream Yoga

Yoga has several health benefits, including physical fitness and improved mental well-being. But, most people turn to yoga for self-realization, and to connect with their inner selves. Yogis and experts believe that yoga can help eliminate instabilities of the mind. In fact, they believe practicing yoga can reorientate an individual’s personality. It incorporates the mind, body, and spirit, making improving people’s self-awareness.

Originating thousands of years ago, yoga was initially just intuitive and meditative. People would practice yoga to reach a state of bliss, self-awareness, and realization. In yoga, attaining consciousness is usually a part of Samadhi, also known as enlightenment. Back in the eleventh century, there were few yoga modifications, and Hatha and asana yoga practices were still unknown.

It won’t be wrong to define Tantra as an approach to Yoga. In simpler terms, Tantra is a combination of yoga lessons. These yoga lessons exist to transform people’s perceptions of the outer world and the universe. So in a broader sense, tantra involves practices and texts that have similar effects to yoga. It is meant to take you to a place of self-realization.

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Tantra Yoga and Sex

Regular yoga practices demand suppressing your sexual desires. Yogis believe that sexual desires can take over and have a negative impact on your senses. As a result, sex becomes an obstacle to achieving a pure state of consciousness.

So when people practice yoga, they automatically start looking down on sex. For that reason, many people prefer advanced yoga as it views sex in a more positive light. It provides excellent insight into the benefits and importance of sexual energy.

On the other hand, Tantra encourages paying attention to your sexual desires. It pushes you to derive your energy from sex. Experts believe that sexual energy can largely contribute to self-awareness in humans.

In the nineteenth century, Tantra yoga made its way to the West as an exotic sexual-spiritual practice. It can deepen intimacy and connection among humans. The Western interest in sexuality and spirituality further popularized Tantra yoga as a yoga technique for sex in the 60s and 70s. Considering classical Tantric teachings, tantra is, in fact, big on sacred sexuality.

Practicing Tantra helps reject tabooed views about sex, transforming your negative perceptions into positive energies. Although a lot of people struggle with accepting this notion, your sexual energy can indeed provide you with an intense awakening.

The perception of sex is probably the biggest difference between other forms of yoga and tantra. And since yoga has always rejected sex, tantric yoga became a symbol of sex entirely.

Tantric Yoga Poses for Partners

Tantra Yoga typically involves a vinyasa practice, meaning you switch from one posture to another. Besides posture, tantric yoga practices include pranayama, meditation, and breathwork. Practitioners use these techniques and spiritual teachings to connect with their bodies’ subtle forces, bringing their strengths and weaknesses to the surface.

1.      Boat Pose

The Boat Pose helps stretch and strengthen the body. When you practice it with a partner, this tantric yoga pose can do wonders to help you connect with your inner-self and your partner.

In this pose, the partners sit down on the floor facing each other. Their arms should stretch outside the legs and reach for each other’s hands. They bend their knees and lift their legs to place their feet against each other’s soles. Holding this position after lifting their feet in the sky is key to achieving the benefits of the boat pose.

2.      Yab Yum

In this pose, one partner sits cross-legged. This person is usually the bigger one of the couple. The partner sits on the bigger partner’s thighs, ankles crossed behind the back. Then, they slowly lean inwards and allow their foreheads to touch. The partners’ backs should be straight as they breathe deeply and slowly. They can either gaze into each other’s eyes or keep their eyes closed. As the partners stay in the position, their breathing eventually synchronizes.

3.      Hand-On-Heart

Hand-On-Heart requires the partners to sit with their legs crossed while facing each another. Ideally, one partner should place their right hand on the left side of their partner’s chest, where the heart is located. Then, they place their left hand on their partner’s right hand, which is resting on their chest. Placing hands on the heart and tuning with the beat increases the harmony in the heart chakra.

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Solo Tantric Yoga Poses

Here are some solo tantric yoga poses that help increase self-trust, realization, and awareness.

1.      Chair Pose

  • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Inhale as you bring your arms overhead
  • Exhale as you suck your belly in
  • Bend your knees so it looks like you’re sitting on a chair
  • Put your weight on your heels and take three to five deep breaths
  • Then return to the standing position slowly
  • Repeat this tantra yoga pose five times, at least

2.      Corpse Pose

  • Lay down a yoga mat and lie down on it with your back straight
  • Separate your legs, allowing your feet to peek from the sides
  • Rest your arms on the mat on either side of the body
  • If you want additional support, you can tuck your shoulder blades in
  • Take deep relaxing breaths and stay in the position for at least five minutes

3.      Half Boat Pose

  • Lay down your yoga mat and lie down with your legs straight
  • Bring your legs together while pressing your shins together
  • Start lifting your heels and stop when they’re about six inches above the ground
  • Draw your hips towards your heels engaging your core
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds before bringing your left knee closer to your chest
  • Hold your breath for a few seconds again and then bring your right knee towards your chest
  • Keep switching sides up to ten times, at least

4.      Mountain Pose

  • Stand straight with your feet feet-width apart
  • Press your feet firmly against the floor
  • Lift your kneecaps, engaging your quads
  • Make sure your spine is straight and aligned as you bend your knees
  • Take a deep breath before lifting your ribs away from your pelvic bones
  • Inhale deeply and slowly exhale, taking ten to fifteen breaths at least

5.      Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend

  • Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart
  • Step out your feet to the sides, forming an inverted V with your legs
  • Press your feet firmly against the floor
  • Start bending towards the floor until your hands touch it
  • Then gently bend your elbows, aligning your head between your legs

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Purpose of Tantric Yoga?

Tantra yoga is a combination of various yoga techniques and spiritual practices that help promote connection and spirituality. This form of yoga aims to help practitioners tune in with their inner-self, others around them, and the universe. It promotes feelings of self-love, self-realization, and self-consciousness.

How Does Tantra Yoga Differ from Kundalini Yoga?

Kundalini yoga aims to cultivate kundalini energy that increases the flow of energy in the heart chakras. Kundalini yoga involves physical positions and is more technical than Tantra yoga. Tantric yoga focuses on spirituality and can be much more subtle. While tantric practices involve physical poses, they can be very simple and easy.

Can you Practice Tantra Yoga with a Partner?

Tantra yoga primarily focuses on connection with one’s own self, others around them, and the universe. So, you can practice it solo to connect with your inner self or with a partner to strengthen your relationship with them. Partner tantric yoga poses include positions that synchronize a couple’s heartbeat and breathing, which ultimately allow you to connect and improve the bond you share with your partner.

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Bottom Line

Most people are aware of the health benefits of yoga. It can relieve stress to improve mental health while the postures promote fitness. You can improve your yoga lifestyle and go up a level by incorporating tantric yoga into your routine.

It is excellent to practice solo or with a partner. Tantra helps connect with your inner self to increase self-awareness and consciousness. It can also help you connect with the outer world and others around you. This article discusses in detail what tantra yoga is, the misconceptions surrounding it, and it’s  techniques, benefits, and poses.