Tantra is a limb of yoga combining a range of esoteric teachings and practices that developed in India in the early centuries of the common era. While many modern interpretations of Tantra focus predominantly on its sexual practices, Tantra spans much broader than that. At its core, tantric discipline is concerned with building and balancing vital energies and developing the ability to apply them towards specific ends.
The main distinction of Tantra from other yogic traditions is that rather than regarding the physical body and its desires as impure and limiting, Tantra sees embodiment as a manifestation of divinity and a vehicle for enlightenment. Energy cultivated during a sexual union is only one of the means to the ultimate end of Tantra, which is reaching higher states of consciousness.
Tantric discipline provides a path to personal liberation by realizing the physical body as a sacred temple, worthy of worship, admiration, and intense pleasure beyond imagination. This realization helps us shed self-limiting beliefs and inhibitions and rise up in a deep and unconditional self-love.
When the energy generated by our daily activities is at odds with our essence, we may get disconnected from our basic nature and stagnate energetically. Learning how to bring ourselves back into our personal balance can restore vitality to our bodies, minds and spirits and invigorate our intimate partnerships.
Much of tantric teachings center around recognizing, balancing and finding beneficial outlets for the masculine and feminine energies. Both of these energies are present in each human being regardless of sex and gender but one tends to predominate defining the individual’s masculine or feminine essence.
The practice of Tantra employs many of the techniques used in other types of yoga such as asana, pranayama, and meditation. It emphasizes awareness of the subtle energy body and the chakras. Particular attention is paid to awakening and channeling the kundalini energy that rests at the base of the spine.