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T1 - What is
Tantra Yoga? (Audio)
Date: Sun Jan 25, 2004 3:44pm
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the AdvancedYogaPractices
main group web archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson
is, "Why This Discussion?"
It is funny, you know, how a perception has crystallized as tantra yoga has crept toward
the mainstream of our modern society. The common perception for most these days is that
tantra is about sex -- better sex, more ecstatic sex, more "spiritual sex." So
the call of tantra has become, "Sex, sex, sex!" Do we have one-track minds, or
what? It is natural enough. For most of us, the peak experience of our life is found in
the sex act, particularly in the overwhelming pleasure of orgasm. So it is no surprise
that we are a culture obsessed with sex - usually for it, sometimes against it, and
always in awe of it. We all know that sex somehow connects us with a greater dimension of
what we are. It is a fact that sex binds us together in love, family, and ultimately our
spiritual life. So, of course we are obsessed with sex. It lies at the root of everything
we are. It defines us. A deep desire we all have is to merge permanently with the ecstasy
contained in this thing called "sex."
To unravel the ultimate mystery of sex, we will be wise to take a broad view of it. This
is where tantra comes in.
What if I told you that tantra is mainly about meditation, pranayama, bandhas, mudras and
asanas? All the things we have been talking about in AdvancedYogaPractices. It is true
that tantra is mainly about those things. Yes, it is about sex too, as we have been facing
up to in the main group lessons since early on. We have not skirted the issue of sex as it
relates to the overall enlightenment process. Indeed, enlightenment is not possible if our
sexuality is not brought into the process of yoga -- the process of union between our
inner divine self and the outer world. In cultivating our nervous system toward that, the
role of sexual energy must be addressed.
Tantra means "woven together," or "two fullnesses as one." It means
the same as yoga really, with some intimacy added. Tantra recognizes from the start that
there are two poles to be ecstatically merged for enlightenment to occur - father
heaven and mother earth, masculine and feminine energies, shiva and shakti, yin and yang
- and that these two poles are contained in us, in our nervous system. We have
already discussed this from various practical angles in the lessons of
Advanced Yoga Practices.
Tantra yoga is the broadest of all the yoga systems that approach life as two realities to
be joined in the human nervous system. Included within tantra yoga are mantra yoga,
kundalini yoga, hatha yoga, ashtanga (eight-limbed) yoga, and others. The practices
contained in these traditional yoga systems comprise what is called the
"right-handed" side of tantra yoga. Then there is the "left-handed"
side of tantra yoga, which is concerned with infusing pure bliss consciousness into the
indulgences of sensual life in the material world. The left-handed side is not opposed to
sensual indulgences. In fact, it takes advantage of them for spiritual purposes. The
left-handed side is sort of the underbelly of yoga, the part that upstanding citizens are
supposed to stay away from. That is the traditional view anyway. That was before the
"hip generation" got a hold of tantra. Now it is respectable to practice
left-handed tantra. At least in the West it is. Maybe westerners don't have anything to
lose, being so immersed in material living to begin with. Why not bring the spiritual side
into material living? Let's have our cake and eat it too. It's got left-handed tantra
written all over it.
So, in the lessons here we will take a closer look at left-handed tantra as it pertains to
sexual methods. What you will find is that we will be connecting with things we have
already discussed in the main group. We have done a full work-up on kundalini ("a code word for sex") over there, and begun stimulating
sexual energy upward into the nervous system with important advanced yoga practices such
as mulabandha, sambhavi, siddhasana and yoni mudra kumbhaka. All of these have been worked
into the twice-daily routine of practices to be undertaken in steps according to our
Everything we have done so far
has been from the root on up, above siddhasana, which is
systematic stimulation at the perineum. Now, we are going to go below siddhasana, so to
speak. It is necessary. For if we do not get a handle on the huge flows of prana involved
in the sex act, we may find that we are limited in what we can accomplish spiritually in
our nervous system. This does not mean we have to entertain the dreaded "C" word
(celibacy). It does mean we will consider some intelligent methods to bring our sexual
activities more in line with our spiritual aspirations. In fact, you may be surprised to
find that intelligent spiritual sex can be far more enjoyable than the run-of-the-mill
kind of sex which is sometimes characterized by the words, "Wham, bam, thank you
So, let's get into it.
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed
instructions on the methods of tantra,
see the AYP Tantra book,
and AYP Plus.