So many times the questions arise: "What is Tantra Yoga?" Some may know it as "yoga of sex" or "sexy yoga" and consider it primarily as a way to achieve better orgasms.
And then there is the form of yoga that we are so familiar with in the West, and that has a studio on almost every street corner of our modern cities. We go to a yoga studio, lay down our mat and practice our poses. That's yoga, right? Yes, but this is just a form of yoga called "hatha" yoga.
Hatha yoga is the practice of the physical body. Tantra Yoga is the practice of the energetic body.
What is the "energetic body"? You can see it this way: All matter consists of energy frequencies, as proven now by quantum physics. This includes our body. Life energy flows through us humans at all times from the moment we are understood to the time we die. Life energy is known in different cultures under different names, such as Chi in Chinese, Kundalini in Sanskrit, Reiki in Japanese or The Force as in Star Wars. Life force and sexual energy are the same. It is the energy that has brought us to this world. Most of the time, sexual life energy manifests itself in minority states and sometimes in agitated states. Tantric yoga makes it possible to develop an awareness of our life energy and how it manifests in us on a physical, emotional and mental level.
To gain access to energetic consciousness, we resort to the chakra system of seven major energy centers in the body. Each chakra is associated with a different way of perceiving, feeling, and reflecting. For example, the heart chakra, which is located in the middle of the breast between the breasts, is associated with love and compassion and the ability to connect with other people. This is seen when a person expresses love for something or someone and puts their hand on their heart. We all know this experience. When the heart chakra becomes unbalanced and tight, we may feel locked up to ourselves or another. Other chakras have different effects and all are equally important.
When we connect with our energy centers, we can begin to remove emotional, physical or spiritual blockages so that we can enjoy life to the fullest. These blocks not only exist in the mind, they are also held in the body. We look at the chakras to see where we are out of balance. Through breathing work, exercise, meditation and emotional and physical release processes, a person can remove these barriers and experience greater joy and liveliness in their lives. What happens in the end is that the body starts to work better, the energy flows more easily and we feel more awake and physically healthy.
This is also the main purpose of hatha yoga so that energy can flow more easily. Alignment is the main focus of every hatha yoga class. The poses (also called asanas) are designed to bring a person's body into optimal alignment. And not just to improve posture. Every pose has an energetic component. For example, Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I) is physically great at building strength in the quadriceps and buttocks, but also energetically encourages more courage and strength to face the challenges of life.
Tantra and hatha yoga therefore begin to nourish each other. For example, if a person practices a lot of tantra, they may find that their asana practice improves significantly. That's because your body naturally goes in the direction of optimal alignment with better energy. Conversely, when a person practices Hatha Yoga in the first place, their body releases emotional blocks as they work on their alignment. Because of this, not everyone feels at peace or happy during a yoga class. As we begin to breathe and reach into our bodies, old emotions arise.
You can see, yoga comes in many shapes and forms. Tantra is an exercise that leads to deaf fulfillment and joy in one's own life. When a practitioner is practiced in partnership with Hatha Yoga, he can experience strength and vitality both in his physical and in his energetic body.