When people hear the word Tantra, they usually think of kinky sex, the Kama Sutra, something they saw on HBO or on Sex & the City. That’s if they’ve heard of it at all.
Yet more and more Westerners are turning to Tantra in an effort to transform their stress-filled lifestyles into blissful celebration. If you live in the greater New York vicinity, you may find this type of yoga most helpful.
Why? It’s easy and takes very little time to make a difference in your life. Any one of many techniques can bring you a sense of calm and peace in your every day with minimum effort. Plus while practicing you focus on opening to pleasure. How bad could that be?
Some say Tantra began in ancient Egypt , others argue it began 3000 to 5000 years ago in India . Basically, it is comprised of several esoteric traditions rooted in the religions of India including Hindu, Jain and Bonpo. Aspects of Tantra can even be found in the ancient Kabala. Most of its practitioners were scattered throughout Asia in India, China, Tibet, Japan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Indonesia and Mongolia until recently when it became of interest to people in the US, Canada, Australia, Israel and throughout Europe.
There is uncertainty about where and how Tantra first originated and its actual history is difficult to trace since much of it was secretly passed along as an oral tradition. Common variations included visualizing a deity in the act of sexual union with a consort and visualizing oneself as the deity. It also included “forbidden” acts such as token consumption of meat or alcohol. In addition, occasionally non-standard or ritualized sex was performed thus Tantra’s negative reputation or its big reception in the Western world primarily as a collection of sexual practices.
While some are attracted to Tantra believing it will spice up their sex lives, there are many other concrete reasons to turn to this form of practice based on its incredible benefits. Great sex may be accomplished, but there is much more. It is important to note that the sexual union depicted in Tantric paintings and carved onto temple walls is symbolic of what can be achieved by joining feminine and masculine energy mostly inside yourself.
Tantra combines body, mind and spirit causing your whole being to expand through awareness of your senses, feelings and energy. In Tantra there is no duality. Usually you think of good vs. bad, male vs. female, dark vs. light. You have been taught to perceive duality all about you, but in Tantra you come to know that all these opposites are contained in the same universal consciousness and that means everything you experience, do, and feel even pleasure and pain are designed to bring you closer to your own divinity.
Tantra invokes the question: How much can you expand in order to embrace it all? This expansion happens as you eliminate toxins and open yourself to more and more pleasure. That’s where the sex part comes in that all the buzz is about. Tantra uses the body as the learning vehicle employing sexual energy to fuel the transformation.
Here’s the rub. It is not necessarily about having sex. It involves many breathing practices that include squeezing the anal sphincter muscles, contracting the PC (sex) muscles, mantra (making sound) and yantra (looking at geometric images). In addition, modern Western Tantra practices include emotional clearing, Latihan (inner guidance practice), dance and celebratory rituals. Yet it is not just a big party. It involves being with a teacher or teachers, lots of study, and group process work. There is method behind it designed to bring you to expanded awareness. The point of the teachings may not be apparent at first as with any Eastern tradition. Awakenings reveal themselves slowly even while you experience instant benefits.
The results include becoming much bigger (in the spiritual sense) than you ever imagined. You can expect to feel great, attractive, and self-confident. You will feel more focused on fulfilling your intentions. Your relationships will feel uplifted. You’ll develop compassion, forgiveness and find yourself with less desire and attachment to whatever or however you might have insisted that things go in your life. Tantra teaches you to surrender, let go of your desires by going though them rather than denying them. This leads you to opening to or allowing all that exists.
While other forms of meditative practice teach you to renounce bodily sensation and focus on transcending worldly attachment. In Tantra, you learn to use the body’s sensations as a finely tuned inner compass to steer you towards cosmic consciousness.
Do you need to have a partner or be part of a couple? No. Up until the current fascination with Tantra in the Western world, it was primarily practiced by celibate monks who knew that circulating their sexual energy would keep them healthy and vital retarding the aging process – a virtual fountain of youth.
It often takes years of practice to overcome resistance in the mind and belief system, but it is a pleasurable form so you can enjoy yourself while learning. Each new technique, when added to your life will produce calm and peace in your daily existence almost instantly. Why not check it out?
How to get started a simple Tantric Sexercise
The object of this very simple, yet fundamental exercise is to move sexual energy from the lower part of the body (genitals) to the rest of the body including extremities so that the body wakes up using its own vital life force. You can use this technique to make yourself feel energized and happy. You can also use it during self sex or sex with a partner. It brings the sexual energy up the body to the higher chakras (energy centers) and then allows the energy back down again in a different state through the breathwork.
Part 1 – Charging Breath
Put on some great tribal drum musicBegin squeezing the anal sphincter muscles and the PC muscles to the beatOnce you have the beat, begin exhaling at the time moment you squeeze (so you are breathing in and then breathing out each time you squeeze those muscles to the beat)Begin making the sound Ooooo each time you squeeze over and over againNext change the sound to Ahhhhhhh for awhileThen begin to alternate the sounds Ooooo, Ahhhh, Ooooo, Ahhhh building a sexual charge in the bodySpeed it up to double time with the music rapidly making the soundsAt about the 5 minute mark change what you are doing…
Part 2 – Transmutation BreathTake a big inhale though the nose while tightening every single muscle in the body – especially those sphincters and the PC’s, but not limited to them – include the face the shoulders, the fists, the feet – hold the breathTake a quick sniff through the nose focusing on brining the energy to your third eyeHold the breathThen release the breath feeling the energy fall back down to the genitals and root making a big sighRepeat part 2 three times
Part 3 – Close your eyes; notice how you feel(Note: After familiarizing yourself with this exercise, do it entirely with your eyes closed.)
Laurie Handlers is a spiritual leader and dynamo. She holds a Masters degree in Education and a bachelor’s in Psychology and Sociology. She’s taught Butterfly Tantra for women, men, couples and singles since 1999. She presents transformational workshops throughout the United States and abroad. Her website is www.butterflyworkshops.com.