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Tantra is not just a buzzword, it’s a sacred approach to spiritual and physical bliss
We think sex is all about physical pleasures. But done the tantra way, it is more a spiritual experience, than just a carnal one. More and more people the world over are turning to the ancient sexual practice of tantra to experience sex from a totally different dimension—one beyond body. Many claim that these practices have opened up a whole new world of sensations and pleasures to them; uplifted them even in their life beyond the bedroom.
“It is not unusual for someone to tell me after a few months of tantric involvement that s/he feels like a different person, much less stressed, much more comfortable, more joyful,” says Bodhi Avinasha, founder of Tantrika International.
Although the word tantra sounds very esoteric and mystical, it’s really easy to follow and inculcate it into your sexual practice, once you understand the basic philosophy. Let’s get you initiated into it…
“Tantra is where sex is transformed into love, and love is transformed into the higher self,” says the spiritual master Osho. According to Avinasha, tantra is much more than a sexual teaching. In the literal sense, tantra, the Sanskrit word, means weaving. At the core of the tantra way of life, which originated in the Hindu and Buddhist cultures of India and Tibet, is the knowing that everything is a manifestation of the Divine energy and is woven together.
“The union of ordinary man and woman becomes eternal coupling of Shakti [divine mother] and Shiva [immortal spirit]. When connected in sacred, ritualised sex, our human bodies—mirrors of the cosmos—rejoin the wholeness of essential reality. Thus, tantra weaves together sex and spirit,” write authors Pala Copeland and Al Link in Soul Sex: Tantra for Two.
Tantra practices include meditation, sacred sounds, scents and breath control. The form of tantra that is practised today, though does not encompass many of the rituals originally prescribed; it has been modified to fit the current time and age.
All tantric sex practices aim to awaken the energy centres [chakras] of the body to attain higher levels of consciousness. It is at this level that the sexual union between man and woman happens. Together they achieve spiritual and physical ecstasy; become one with one another and the Divine. Hence, tantra is also known as soul-to-soul sex.
The White Tantra, write David Ramsdale and Cynthia W Gentry in their book, Red Hot Tantra, is the type of tantra popular today. And according to yoga scholar George Feuerstein, PhD, it originated in medieval India around AD 1000. White Tantra is the masculine version of the tantric tradition; Red Tantra, the feminine version.
Tantric practices are further divided into Hindu Tantric practices and Buddhist Tantric practices. However, a lot of tantra propagated today is an interesting blend of both, like the SkyDancing Tantra.
According to Margot Anand, founder of SkyDancing Tantra, this tantra is based on Tantric Buddhism developed by the enlightened couple Buddha Padmasambhava [Guru Rinpoche] and Yeshe Tsogyal in 8th century Tibet.
“It is a path of spiritual partnership between men and women as equal spiritual partners integrating ecstatic states into their daily lives,” she says. SkyDancing Tantra combines modern techniques, such as psychology, neurolinguistic programming [NLP], visualisation, with meditation, sacred ritual, massage.
Like her, many are reinterpreting tantra their own way. However, some principles are common to all.
There are various schools of tantra, and hence diverse rituals and practices. But to experience true tantric bliss and to follow real tantra is to internalise its principles and apply them. Getting caught up in technicalities beats the purpose. Any sexual act done with these principles in mind will tranform your experience a tantric one. In that sense, tantra is a state of consciousness.