Tantric yoga is a type of yoga that focuses on self-love and finding ecstasy by connecting with your body. A lot of people assume that it has a sexual nature, but this is not necessarily the case.
Tantric yoga can be used to enhance your sexual experiences, but the goal of the practice is to connect with yourself and to align your mind and body.
Tantric yoga can help to relieve stress, anxiety and depression and can help you to achieve a greater level of self-awareness and understanding. There are lots of different tantric yoga poses that you can try, but here are some of the best ones.
1. Upvistha Titli Asana
This is the seated butterfly pose, and it is a great one to start with as it is suitable for beginners. Sit down on your mat with your legs out in front of you.
Spread your knees out to either side and bring the soles of your feet together so that your outer ankles are touching the mat. The distance from your pelvis to your feet will depend on how flexible you are – if your hips are tight then your feet might be quite far out in front of you.
Relax your legs to let your knees drop, opening your hips and stretching your leg muscles. Gravity does most of the work with this stretch – all you need to do is keep your back straight and your abdomen pulled in towards your spine.
If it feels uncomfortable you could try placing some yoga blocks underneath your knees for extra support.
If you want to deepen this stretch, gently let your upper body drop down onto your legs, folding from your waist. Place your hands over your feet to get a gentle stretch in your upper body and arms.
Malasana is also called the garland pose or the yoga squat. It stretches your hips and groin whilst strengthening your ankles and your quad muscles. Begin by standing on your mat with your feet hip width apart.
Lower your pelvis towards the floor by bending your knees. The goal is to keep your feet in a parallel position, but until you build up flexibility your feet will probably turn out a little bit.
Your upper arms should be in front of you with your elbows bent and your arms together. Touch your thumbs into your sternum to center yourself and keep your chest lifted.
Press your upper arms into your thighs through your elbows and balance this out by pushing your thighs up against your elbows.
This pose is all about balance – the balancing forces of your legs and arms, and also the balance of directional energy. Focus on drawing your spine upwards and keeping it long, whilst keeping your pelvis towards the floor and your feet grounded to provide an anchor.
Stay in this position for several deep breaths, then exhale and straighten your legs to release. You can repeat the pose several times for a deeper stretch.
Utkatasana is also called chair pose. Start in a basic standing position like Tadasana – your back should be straight, your feet hip width apart, and your arms loosely at your sides.
Take a deep breath in, nice and slowly, then exhale. As you exhale, bend your knees and lower your pelvis as if you are sitting on an invisible chair. Keep your feet in a parallel position and make sure that your knees go out over your toes, keeping your body aligned.
As you lower yourself into chair pose, focus on sending your hips back rather than pushing your knees forward. This will help you to achieve the right form. Engage your core by bringing your abdomen in towards your spine as this will support your back.
Inhale, reaching your arms up either side of your head. Your fingers shoulder be stretched to the sky with your palms facing inwards. Release any tension in your shoulders.
Take several deep breaths in this pose, reaching your arms up to the sky. Exhale and release by straightening your legs and lowering your arms.
4. Urdhva Dhanurasana
This is an intermediate pose that is great for stretching your back, opening your chest and building strength in your limbs. It is a reverse of the posture of your body when sat down, so it is ideal for people who have a desk job.
Start off by lying on your back. Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor, bringing your heels close to your pelvis. You should be able to reach your heels with your fingertips when your arms are by your sides.
Make sure that your feet are hip width apart and in a parallel position. Bring your arms overhead, bending your elbows. Place your palms flat on the floor underneath your shoulders and point your fingertips towards your feet.
Take a deep breath in and push down through your hands and feet as you lift your hips and shoulders off the floor. Bring the crown of your head to your mat and check that your elbows are still parallel. Left your head off the floor, straightening your arms.
Push your chest towards the wall behind you and straighten your legs. Make sure that your knees and feet are still parallel and aligned.
Hold this pose for several breaths, then release by tucking your chin to your chest and gently lowering your body back to the floor as you exhale. Repeat this twice, taking as much time to rest in between as you need to.
5. Utkata Konasana
The goddess pose is a great form for beginners to try, and it has several variations. Stand on the mat with your feet approximately 3 feet apart. You should be in a nice, wide stance.
Lift your arms to shoulder height out to either side, then bend them at the elbow. Your palms should be facing each other, either side of your head. Turn out your feet to an angle that is approximately 45 degrees (or point them towards the corners of the room).
Once you are in position, take a deep breath in. Slowly exhale, bending your knees to sink into the squat. Make sure that the knees stay in line with the toes. Focus on pushing your hips forward and your knees back.
Keep your arms up but your shoulders dropped and push out your chest towards the wall in front of you to open your diaphragm. Keep your chin parallel to the floor and look straight ahead.
You can adjust your arms into an eagle pose or with the palms together in front of your chest. You can also make this pose more advanced by raising up onto the balls of your feet, engaging your calf muscles.
6. Tri Pada Adho Mukha Svanasana
This is the three legged downward dog pose. It is more advanced than downward dog. Begin in a tabletop position on all fours with your shoulders over your wrists and your hips in line with your knees.
Walk your hands forwards so that they are about 2 inches ahead of your shoulders. Spread fingers out and root your palms into the ground.
Take a big, deep breath in. Exhale, and tuck your toes underneath your feet. Lift up your knees and push your hips back and up into the air. You should be aiming to create an upside down V shape with your body.
Straighten your legs and shift your weight into your thighs and away from your upper body and your heels. Let your heels drop and keep your feet flat on the ground.
Make sure that your spine is elongated- you can keep your knees bent if you need to – make sure you don’t lock them straight. Keep your elbows tight to your body and release tension from your shoulders.
Keep your abdomen pulled into your spine to engage your core.
Once you are in the right position, in hale and lift your right leg up and back. Keep your hips square.
You will need to shift your weight to your left thigh, but activate your right thigh to pull it up towards the sky flex your toes and point them upwards, keeping them aligned with your heel and ankle.
You can stay in this position for several breaths, then release on an exhale to bring your right foot back into the downward dog position. You can then repeat the stretch with the other leg.
You can take a rest in between if you need to, or return to tabletop position to reset.
These tantric yoga poses will strengthen the connection between the mind and the body, and also promote self love. Make sure you practice synchronized breathing alongside these movements and keep your thoughts positive.
These poses will also improve your flexibility and strengthen your muscles. You can add them into your regular practice or turn them into a flow.]\
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