The sacred books of Tantrism were written between the 7th and 17th centuries AD and the word Tantra is from the Sanskrit, meaning to expand and liberate. Tantra is a spiritual practice; using yoga and meditation to open you to cosmic and physical love.
At the centre of Tantra is the knowledge of how to stimulate the inner masculine (shiva) and the inner feminine (shakti) to achieve the sacred union. The end result brings balance to body, mind and spirit, thus greatly enriching your life on all levels. It has been described as the “swiftest and most profound path to enlightenment”.
Tantra can be practiced alone, with a partner or in groups. It is not something intended to replace other forms of counselling or therapy, but is, in many cases, a successful complement to it. Tantric therapists say that the sacred sexual practice is incredibly healing as much within relationships as for individuals.
The three main ways to experience tantra are through meditation, movement (yoga) and touch (massage). Through these methods you can learn how to evolve spiritually while discovering the secrets of blissful lovemaking.
Meditation is one of the main roads to Tantra and Tantric Sex. It differs from the active practice of meditation as we know it, where traditionally we focus on our breathing disconnect the mind and let go. Tantric Meditation can be vibrant and energetic. The great Indian spiritual teacher, Osho (1931 – 1990), created several dynamic meditations, often involving movement such as dance, with the aim to move you from your mind to your body. The other form of meditation is the meditative state of Tantra Ecstasy that you achieve through Tantric lovemaking. Sexual arousal, whether through self pleasure or in communion with your loved one, becomes the meditation. The Tantra Energy orgasms are said to take you into a state of floating, a space of no thought – like heaven on earth. At this point you are said to be at one with the universe.
Movement (Yoga) and Unity
Meditation and Yoga go hand in hand. So it is with Tantra. Some people refer to Tantra Yoga as ‘Sexual Yoga’, but this term can be misleading. It is true that Tantra Yoga recognizes the presence of desires in human beings and sees this as perfectly natural and acceptable. People tend to become slaves to these desires and this can cause anxiety, loneliness, insecurities, selfishness and depression. Tantra utilizes, rather than ignores or suppresses natural sexual desire and at its deepest level, Tantra Yoga helps to set us free.
Tantra Yoga began during the times of the ancient fertility cults of India. It is based on the worship of Shakti (primeval female energy). Tantra Yoga aims to arouse and channel sexual energy in order to create the sacred union. Whereas other Yoga practices see the involvement of sexuality as detrimental to self development, Tantric Yoga not only permits sexual arousal and contact, but uses both in the context of reaching enlightenment.
Maithuna comes from the Sanskrit for union and Maithuna is sexual union in Yoga. It means the uniting or joining of two or more things to bring them into one, or a uniting of spirits to bring about harmony. Our modern society promotes the worth of the individual with little consideration for anyone else. Tantra is about being conscious of ourselves and those around us and not just letting life happen in a random way. Lovemaking must also be a conscious act, with slow preparation and much attention given to your partner’s needs. Whereas the ‘missionary position’ is considered normal practice in our society, with the man on top, this is not always satisfying for the woman. The Maithuna (sometimes called Kerraza or Dianism) takes time and should not be rushed. It is a meditation where the man sits cross legged and the woman sits with her legs wrapped around his waist, so that they are face to face. This is the Maithuna position.
This is a sensual massage intended to activate, circulate and increase sexual energy throughout the whole body. The aim is to consciously transform, recycle and store this sexual energy, rather than simply let it go. The results are said to create such a feeling of wellbeing that it can enhance many other areas of your life. Unlike other types of massage, where you are often discretely draped in towels for the sake of modesty, with Tantric massage you will be naked, as indeed the masseuse/masseur is likely to be too. Since bathing forms part of the ancient ritual, both will shower before the massage. You must have confidence in the therapist - have trust and be able to relax in order to benefit from this type of massage, since you will be touched in such a way as to stimulate sexual energy. Correctly carried out, this type of massage provides relaxation, stress release, warmth and nurturing. The sensuality and sexuality of a tantra massage should leave you feeling more energised and better able to cope with life’s daily tasks.
The Chakras – Energy Centres
In accordance with Tantra, as with Eastern medicine, there are said to be seven main energy fields in the living body at different points along the spine. The word Chakra comes from the Sanskrit meaning wheel. The Chakras exists on the subtle rather than the physical level. Although rarely visible to the human eye, it is considered essential for general good health to keep these points clear and unblocked. The flow of energy through the Chakras is known as Kundalini Energy and it is one of the aims of Tantra is to keep this flowing freely. From top to bottom, the main seven Chakras are crown, brow, throat, heart, solar plexus, sacral and root.
Benefits of Tantra
In the book, ‘Passion Play: Ancient Secrets for a Lifetime of Health and Happiness Through Sensational Sex’ by Felice Dunas (published by Riverhead Books), the author, who specializes in acupuncture, explains the health benefits of a good sex life. There is a quote in the book from a Taoist Master saying “Correct practice of sexual intercourse can cure every ailment and at the same time open the doors to liberation.”
Through Tantra and Tantric Sex the orgasmic state can be expanded and research has shown that this can have a positive effect on the immune system. Tantric teachers often report that through Tantra, their students become more vital during their work and daily lives as well as in their relationships. Some people discover a more charismatic aspect to their character, through a new found confidence from within. Some men who were previously unavailable on an emotional level become happier, more connected and in touch with their female partner.
It is thought that as many as 70% of women rarely experience orgasm during sex. For men premature ejaculation or erection problems are common sources of distress that can lead to feelings of low esteem and even ill-health. In later years, both men and women often experience a drop in libido which can cause depression. For many people Tantra is a way to address these issues. It can help to understand the workings of the body, allowing you to experiment with ways of clearing blockages and thus embark on a journey of sexual healing.