What is Tantra Yoga?

When people hear the word tantra, likely the first thought that comes into their mind is some strange sexual Indian practices.

But the truth is that most tantric yoga practices have very little to do with sex or often none at all! Tantra yoga is a vast spiritual practice that focuses on a unique technique for achieving self-realization.

Many other famous aspects of yoga, such as the chakras and kundalini, actually have their roots in tantric yoga. Tantra is a vast and deep yoga practice that can take a lifetime to comprehend. Still, at the core, tantra is a method of understanding the world, cultivating our sacred power or Shakti, and unifying with the supreme consciousness or Shiva.

Definition of Tantra Yoga

Tantra is a philosophical branch of yoga that focuses on embracing the world rather than denying and attempting to transcend existence. It emphasizes that the divine is within everything and is constantly all around us; it is not something that is above or below. It is right here, right now.

In the western world, tantra has been popularized as a method of experiencing orgasmic states or improving your sex life, but traditional tantra yoga is very far from this purpose.

Tantric yoga had its peak around 1000 CE and has continued to imbue its influence into every other branch of yoga since that time. Tantra yoga has also become incorporated into some Buddhist and Tibetan practices, creating a ripple effect of its philosophy throughout South Asia.

Tantric yoga practice is often split into two main branches: Left-handed or red tantric yoga and right-handed or white tantric yoga.

  1. Left-handed or red tantric yoga may include ceremonies, magic, consumption of intoxicants, and sexual rituals.
  2. Right-handed or white tantric yoga may consist of mantra chanting, yantra meditation, and yoga asana practice.

The word tantra means weave, loom, system, technique, or practice, emphasizing the practical and systematic nature of tantra yoga woven throughout every strand of life. Many tantric yoga practices remain a mystery and are typically confined to secrecy in the guru-disciple lineage in which one must become initiated for these practices to be revealed.

Benefits of Tantra Yoga

Tantra is a unique branch of yoga because, unlike the more modern adaptations, this traditional practice has a greater depth of meaning and encourages practitioners to explore the philosophy more. Tantra yoga has very little to do with poses and the physical body, but there are undoubtedly physical, mental, and spiritual benefits to regular practice.

The primary benefits of tantra yoga may include:

  • Relaxed mind
  • Reduction of the ego
  • Awareness of the body and mind
  • Improved concentration
  • Calmed nervous system
  • Released inner blocks
  • Increased love and compassion
  • Connection with a higher power

As the mind and soul begin to awaken and heal through tantra yoga, the body also heals, contributing to improved overall physical health.

The Top 5 Tantra Yoga Practices

Like some of the other traditional forms of yoga, there are little to no yoga poses practiced in this tradition since the main emphasis is on scriptural study, meditation, and chanting. The only yoga poses you may need are the seated poses, such as Easy Pose (Sukhasana) or the Accomplished Pose (Siddhasana). Some popular tantra yoga practices include:

  1. Mantra Chanting
  2. Yantra Meditation
  3. Chakra Meditation
  4. Pranayama
  5. Deity Worship

The goal of all of these complex tantra yoga practices is ultimately to cultivate union with the divine or between Shakti and Shiva. Tantra yoga is a practice of ceremony, ritual, and great spiritual depth that requires an experienced, traditional teacher to truly understand its wonders. 

How to Practice Tantra Yoga

Tantra yoga is a vast and complex practice, and some of these more advanced practices require the careful guidance of a trained practitioner. Due to the spiritual power of tantra yoga, it can be easy to veer into complicated territory. But with a qualified teacher, you can truly begin to explore the depths of this practice and the depths of your inner self.

As you begin to find a qualified tantra yoga teacher, you can start to do mantra chanting meditation on your own. Tantric mantras focus on the bija or seed sounds that represent a deity, element, or energy in the world. By chanting a bija mantra, you connect with this energy within yourself, which can bring you closer to unification with its substance. A simple bija mantra to begin this practice is “OM.”

Start Tantra Yoga at Home

As discussed above, tantra yoga requires a qualified teacher to delve into some of the more profound practices. But you can begin some basic bija mantra chanting on your own at home. So, if you can’t make it to a tantra yoga studio, or perhaps you want to try tantra yoga at home first, check out these follow-along videos below!

What distinguishes Tantrik Yoga?

Neelakantha Meditation – Central Pillar Practice – Blue Throat Yoga

Sri Vidya (01/41) Tantra Kundalini Kriya Yoga Meditation Swami Rama

Mahāmṛtyuñjaya Mantra – 108 repetitions | By Kavitha Chinnaiyan

One of the most critical factors as you explore tantra yoga is differentiating between traditional tantra and neo-tantra. Make sure to seek out qualified teachers who understand this distinction and can guide you to the essence of these spiritual practices with safety and clarity.

Tantra Yoga FAQs

What is the Goal of Tantric Yoga?

The ultimate goal of tantric yoga is to awaken to your true state in unification with the universe. Another way of explaining this is the unification of Shakti and Shiva, or feminine and masculine. Through a range of methods, including mantra repetition, yantra meditation, breathwork, and yoga asana poses, the spiritual aspirant works with this concept of unification in their body and delves deeper into their inner world.

What is the Difference Between Yoga and Tantra?

Tantra yoga is just another branch of yoga, so they are one and the same. But there are many other yoga practices that have nothing to do with tantra yoga. Essentially tantra yoga developed around the 1st millennium as a method of yoga, serving as just one of many paths to the ultimate goal of realization.

Are Tantra and Tantric the Same?

Tantra and tantric are two words that describe the same thing, and the main difference is the word form, in which tantra is an adjective, whereas tantric is a noun. But they essentially describe the same practice of tantra or tantric yoga. 

Important: Check with your doctor before trying Tantra Yoga for the first time if you have any type of injury, illness, pain, or you are pregnant.

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