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…
What is Tantra?
“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.
A union of souls
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.
Red and white
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.
Core principles of Tantra
Sex is blissful
Tantra considers sex good. It views it as a moral force and encourages individuals to express themselves unrestricted, harness their powerful sexual energy and experience unrestricted orgasms.
Sex energy is life-force
Both sexual and spiritual energies are expressions of the life-force or prana or chi. “As the sexual energy charge builds during lovemaking, we increase our access to this basic life-force,” write Pala Copeland and Al Link. Do not resist this life-force.
Sexuality is spiritual
Tantra is a form of yoga, which means union. Hence, tantric yoga unites sexuality and spirituality. Sex and spirit are one.
Pleasure is our birthright
Tantra places the sole responsibility of pleasuring oneself squarely on the individual. If you are not open to sexual pleasure, you will not experience ecstasy no matter what the other does. Only if you are fulfilled, will you be attractive to the other. And only if you can satisfy yourself, can you satisfy another.
Being natural and spontaneous is important. Curb no impulses, go with your inner flow and seek pleasure. Pleasure is supreme, nothing is taboo.
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.
Tips to try tantra in your bedroom
Consider your whole body your sex organ
Not just your genitals, you can experience erotic sensations in every inch of your body; particularly erotic are the hands, hips, thighs, neck and feet. Stroke, caress with your whole body, focus on the feelings. Then, “each part of our body becomes almost as hot, open, and sensitive as the genitals,” writes Suzie Heumann, founder of Tantra.com.
In his book, A Chakra & Kundalini Workbook, Dr Jonn Mumford prescribes men to puff out air out of their mouth, while pulling in the stomach muscle sharply with each exhalation [as in Kapal bhati asana] as they approach orgasm. This retards ejaculation by easing the blood supply to the male sexual organ, intensifying orgasm.
Be in the moment
Each time you become intimate with each other, be totally rooted in the now. Blindfolding each other is a fantastic way to do that; without the visual stimulation you learn to explore each other, focusing on the current feelings and surrendering to the sensations. You can either blindfold each other simultaneously, or alternate. Do not hurry. Let each sensations penetrate your spirit.