Tantra 101: A Guide to Yoga Practice, Meditation and Sacred Intimacy
Curious about Tantra? The internet is overloaded with information about Tantra Yoga - which just adds to the confusion. This short guide of FAQs will clear up your questions and help you get started in the right direction.
1. What is Yoga?
Yoga is the experience of uniting with our divine self. As a spiritual philosophy and physical practice originating in India, Yoga aims to strengthen the mind-body connection. This connection inspires us to make choices that serve our highest good - choices that create a healthier lifestyle and relationships based in authenticity.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is the foundational text of Classical Yoga that outlines Yoga as the practice of “Non-attachment” and “the cessation of mind-stuff.” Through this approach, Yoga has become mainstream in the West, because it allows individuals to experience the true interconnected nature of our universe.
2. What is Tantra?
Tantra is the act of moving beyond our limitations. The root of the word Tantra means “to stretch” or “to weave.” The are many shades and styles of Tantra, but originally it is a tradition that empowers us to find our soul’s true purpose. The ultimate goal is Moksha - liberation, and Tantra invites us attain freedom by weaving together various Yoga techniques. Tantra is often referred to as a technology - because it requires curiosity, creativity, courage and commitment.
The Vijnana Bhairava Tantra says, “If you want to know the universe, Dare to love one person.” Tantra teaches us to measure the effectiveness of our Yoga practice by looking at the quality of our relationships and engaging in radical love. This is not the easy path, and Tantra is not the right approach for all students. But if you are looking to experience a profound sense of intimacy and spiritual connection in your daily life - Tantra is a doorway to your desires.
3. Does Tantra Yoga involve sexual activity?
The practice of Tantra involves working with sexual energy to find balance. Sexual energy is a combination of physical and creative energy. It is an essential force of nature that compels life forms to thrive. Without sexual energy, the earth would be depleted of beauty, diversity, abundance and prosperity. Tantra can be primitively understood as sexual intercourse, but it is much more than that. Tantra Yoga is the physical practice of harnessing our creative energy and channeling awareness in order to manifest our desires. The sexual metaphor is strong, but the real practice of Tantra requires us to be honest, vulnerable, humble and intimate with our own divine nature so that we can become a powerful force of love in the world.
4. What defines a Tantric practice?
Transformation begins when we convert our energy into love. Tantric practices are holistic and integrative, focusing on therapeutic benefits that support your physical, mental, emotional, sexual, and spiritual well-being. A few modes of practice include Hatha Yoga Asana, Breathing & Pranayama, Chanting Mantra, Meditation & Visualization, Ayurvedic Nutrition, Essential Color, and Goddess Psychology.
5. How do you “personalize” a Tantric practice?
A personal Tantric practice begins with an assessment of your food habits, quality of sleep, and sexual energy. Your honest reflection of how these 3 life-sustaining activities govern your daily life allows you to clearly develop a personal intention, which shapes the style and direction of your practice. Private sessions are the best way to address your individual needs and get you started on the right path. Drawing from a wealth of Tantric resources and direct Yoga experience, my goal as a teacher and Tantric Reader is to weave together a practice that will leave you feeling connected, confident and empowered. All questions and inquiries are beneficial - so don’t be shy to speak up when you are curious about some aspect of your experience.
6. Can beginner Yoga students practice Tantra?
Absolutely, yes! All that is required is your full attention, an open mind and willingness to be truthful.
7. What type of clothing do I wear to practice Tantra?
Wear any clothes that help you feel comfortable and confident in your body. Loose-fitting clothes allow for freedom of movement, and layers are helpful so you can adjust to changing temperatures. Wear socks if your feet are cold, but you can remove them when your body warms. Try finding materials that are made with 100% natural fibers (i.e. cotton, linen, silk, wool) so that your skin can breathe properly. Avoid wearing synthetic perfume.
8. How do I prepare for a Tantric practice?
Show up with intention. Be sure that you are hydrated and cleansed from the inside out. Drink warm or room temperature water, and take a bath or shower with sweet smelling soap. If you get hungry easily, nourish yourself with a light snack. If time allows, take a few moments beforehand to journal and reflect on how you are feeling.
Do you have more questions? Leave a comment below or contact us here.
Maria Borghoff, E-RYT offers Online Tantric Readings and private sessions in Midtown Atlanta, GA.