What Is Tantra Yoga?

Although tantra yoga may improve your sex life (more on that later), it isn’t really connected to tantric sex. This is one of the most common misconceptions about tantra yoga, and it’s important to clear it up before we dive in.

What Is Tantra Yoga

However, tantra yoga does have a few similarities to other tantra practices – it can help you tune into the various energies in your body, and encourage your spiritual development and physical well-being. 

There are various types of yoga, but tantra is one of the most unique. If you’re ready to break away from ‘traditional’ yoga and try something a little different, allow us to introduce you to the beauty of tantra yoga. 

Tantra Yoga Explained

Tantra is at the heart of tantra yoga, so let’s start there. Tantra is usually described as a variety of rituals, techniques, texts, practices, and ideologies. In Sanskrit, the term literally means to compose or to weave. 

Tantra philosophies emerged in India in the 6th century and focused on the manipulation of energy to liberate the mind and body. At the very heart of tantra is a desire to connect with yourself on a deeper level, and understand yourself better. 

Tantra is essentially the practice of becoming aware and at one with yourself, which means tantra can indeed be yoga. It just may not be ‘traditional’ yoga as you’ve come to know it.

Tantra yoga uses a variety of techniques and practices, both from yoga and meditation, to help you connect to those core values in tantra. Tantra yoga may involve doing things such as: 

  • Breath work 
  • Chakra work
  • Meditation 
  • Different yoga poses 

If you’re interested in tantra but you don’t want to explore it sexually, tantra yoga can be a great way to explore tantra by yourself. 

In essence, tantra yoga is more of a meditation involving movement rather than a physical workout. There’s not much focus on strength or flexibility here, and the main goal is to empower you. 

One of the great things about tantra (and tantra yoga) is that it takes into account 5 different bodies in your person: the physical, the energetic, the mental, the bliss, and the wisdom.

Each body is recognized as having its own strengths and weaknesses, and with tantra yoga, you’ll help bring them to the surface so that you can respond with the most awareness, and gain control over the things you need and desire.

Tantra is all about being as aware as possible – do what you want, but do it with the most awareness. 

Tantra Yoga Vs Traditional Yoga

Tantra yoga involves far more meditative practices than traditional yoga. You’ll also find yourself doing less physical poses or pushing your flexibility to the limits.

Although tantra yoga often incorporates some traditional yoga poses, you’ll be focusing less on how flexible you are, and more on how to connect meditation with your yoga poses to get in touch with your body. 

Some of the most common poses in tantra yoga include: 

  • Boat pose
  • Yab yum
  • Hand-on-heart

If you’re doing tantra yoga alone (which you absolutely can), you’ll probably focus more on positions such as backbends, side bends, inversions, twists, and forward folds. If you want to do tantra yoga alone, you won’t even need a teacher or a coach.

However, you will need a certain level of awareness to get the most out of your tantra yoga, and this often requires a lot of practice and a helping hand.

Many people choose to work with a guide or a coach to help them master the main principles before moving on to independent tantra yoga. 

Tantra Yoga And Kundalini Energy

One of the core beliefs in tantra yoga is kundalini energy. Tantric techniques in tantra yoga and other tantra practices, tend to concentrate on a build-up of kundalini energy.

You’ll activate this energy, and then encourage it to flow throughout various chakras until it eventually makes its way to the crown chakra and emerges from the top. This is thought to create a sense of enlightenment. 

This is a pretty far cry from traditional yoga, which uses a more eclectic combination of poses, stretches, and breathing techniques, with a specific focus on building strength, balance, and flexibility.

However, if you’ve ever done traditional yoga, you’ll know just how calming those breath work and stretches can be – you’ll feel a similar sense of calmness in tantra yoga, but you’ll probably also emerge more self-aware, and work towards another more spiritual end goal – to connect with yourself on a deeper level. 

What Does A Tantra Yoga Class Look Like?

In a tantra yoga practice or class, there’s usually not a specific collection of poses that you’ll need to practice. Every tantra yoga class looks different because it’s more about the approach rather than the specific activities. 

However, because tantra yoga requires deep meditation, it often uses a combination of Yin positions (floor-based), and standing Hatha poses.

There will also be plenty of chakra work, meditation, chanting, and breathwork, with many of the bends and twists we mentioned earlier like side bends and forward folds.

However, many tantra yoga classes in the West are tied to sex and sexuality.

If this isn’t something you’re interested in, you’ll need to find a more classical tantra class, which will usually have an end goal of developing greater self-awareness, include chanting for a classical focus, be structured for individuals, and include deeper meditations.

You can also check your tantra yoga instructor’s credentials to gain a better understanding of what your tantra yoga class will entail. 

Final Thoughts

Tantra yoga is a pretty far cry from traditional yoga. In fact, rather than just doing yoga, you’ll focus on being yoga.

If you’re on a journey of self-improvement, want to combine more meditation into your yoga or you’re intrigued by chakra work, tantra yoga may be the practice you need to help you on your enlightenment journey and gain a better awareness of your mind and body.

Laura Simmons
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