What Is Tantric Yoga?

While many aren’t too sure exactly what tantric yoga is, every single yoga practitioner will have used certain aspects of this form during their sessions, as Tantra is the basis of many modern yoga techniques and practices.

The Tantrics responsible for the proliferation of this yoga form wished to reintroduce the body as a subject in the practice of yoga.

What Is Tantric Yoga

Prior to their reimagining of the philosophy, yoga was all about renunciation of the physical in favor of the spiritual, but tantric yoga posited that the body and the divine are inherently linked.

In essence, tantric yoga is about connecting us to our vital energy and deepening our understanding of ourselves not just as spiritual entities, but physical too. Interest piqued? Fantastic; read on for more amazing tantric yoga details!

Hang About Is Tantric Yoga “The Sexy One”?

Tantra is indeed linked to sex in some ways. After all, it’s a celebration of our physicality, worldly delights, and how these things are inextricably woven into the divine — Sexual pleasure was bound to get a mention in this unorthodox form.

That said, sex is only a very small part of the tantric philosophy, which is incredibly broad. Equating tantra with sex alone is incredibly reductive, but we can see why this might have been one of your first questions.

The truth of the matter is Western society sexualized tantra, shining a light on the erotic aspects of the practice while burying the more wholesome parts. 

Thankfully, this myth is sputtering out these days, with more and more people realizing how versatile and amazing tantric yoga is for the mind, body, and soul.

So, if you’re scared about signing up for a tantric yoga class, don’t worry. It’s not going to be a bunch of flexible, randy people jonesing to jump your bones. It’s just going to be a normal yoga class, more about getting it om than getting it on.

When Was Tantra Dreamed Up?

Sadly, the origins of tantra are a little blurry. Some believe that its roots can be traced way back to 500 A.D., but others feel it’s much more likely a 16th-century tradition.

The problem is that there simply aren’t that many ancient tantric texts around to inform our understanding. Many of them were lost throughout history, while some teachings were passed on by word of mouth, meaning there were never any texts to lose.

As is to be expected, tantra has undergone significant changes over the years, evolving to suit the needs and ideals of fresh minds and bodies, but the core ethos of liberation and enlightenment remain unchanged to this day.

Tantra: A Renegade’s Philosophy

The reason so many tantric resources were lost to the sands of time was that tantra was regarded as quite dangerous in the eyes of repressed Indian cultures and their associated religions.

Conservative society pushed it to the fringes of existence and forced it underground where it secretly grew in popularity amongst those who needed it, the poor, the marginalized, the shamed.

What Does All This Have To Do With Yoga?

Tantra and yoga are technically discrete philosophies, but there is some significant overlap in the principles. Yoga, which translates from Sanskrit as “oneness”, is all about connecting to yourself, which aligns with the tantric goal of becoming aware of your whole self.

So, in a sense, tantra can be yoga, and vice versa.

Tantric yoga is a combination of meditative and yogic practices centered around the core pillars of tantra. It can include any of the following elements:

  • Conscious breathing
  • Yoga poses (asana)
  • Chakra aligning
  • Meditation
  • Chanting

These practices collectively form what’s known as white tantra, the goal of which is to create a deep bond with yourself, as opposed to red tantra, which is all about strengthening bonds between you and a partner, y’know… between the sheets.

Still, should you wish to, you can utilize what you learn in white tantra to engage in some saucy red tantra, as all tantric knowledge begins with the white category.

What Is The Purpose Of Tantric Yoga?

It may sound strange, but the goal of tantric yoga is to, in a way, make love to yourself, which isn’t to say that it is masturbatory in any sense. On the contrary, it’s about a connection between your split consciousnesses, about the you and the truest you getting acquainted.

And if that sounds a little too abstract for you to get on board with, there are many more concrete benefits to tantric yoga, including but by no means limited to:

  • Reduced stress
  • Controlled anxiety
  • Easing of depression
  • Self-assurance
  • Better sleep
  • Confidence in the boudoir
  • Better quality of life
  • Healthier joints
  • Bolstered bone density

What Poses Are There In Tantric Yoga?

Tantric yoga is special in that it doesn’t follow rigid sequences made up of the same poses every single time, as is the case with Bikram and Ashtanga yoga. When you hit a tantric yoga class one week, then another the next, there may be very little parity between them.

Having said that, most experts agree that any good tantric yoga class should use the following 5 positions as a baseline:

  • Side bends
  • Inversions
  • Forward Folds
  • Backbends
  • Twists

Can You Do Tantric Yoga Alone?

Being that tantric yoga is about you developing an understanding of, well… you, you’d think that a solo session or two would be great, and while this is true, there’s something to consider before giving it a go.

It can be tricky tapping into the true energy of tantric yoga without instruction, so it’s generally accepted that seeking some core knowledge via classes is crucial before you go solo. This way, you know how to get the best results from your practice.

Final Thoughts

There you have it — Tantric yoga is a way of introducing ourselves to ourselves, a way of finding contentment and even elation in who we are. It helps us to shed the weight of modern life and engage with the essence of being.

If that sounds like a good time to you, we highly recommend taking a class.

Laura Simmons
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