A Beginner's Guide to Tantric Yoga (2022)

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Thinking about tantra synonymously with sex is like associating crust synonymously with apple pie.

Sure, the crust is part of the apple pie, but it’s certainly not the whole pie! Same concept applies to tantra.

“Historically, sex was a very small slice of tantric pie, but Western interpretations of tantra have pushed the other parts of tantra underground in favor of the sexier, bedroom-based ones,” says tantra practitioner and sexual empowerment coach Sarrah Rose of Tantric Activation.

Ready to learn more about tantra, including what tantric yoga is — and how to get it om? Scroll down.

“At its core tantra is about connecting with your own energy to establish a deeper understanding of yourself,” Rose says. While some of that energy is sexual, not all of it is.

Like the secret ingredient in Grandma’s apple pie recipe, the exact origins of tantra are hard to pin down.

Tanta expert Barbara Carrellas, ACS, AASECT, author of “Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex For The Twenty-First Century” explains why:

(Video) What is TANTRA? Introduction for Beginners with Mahara

“Countless tantric texts were lost during the numerous times throughout history when tantra was driven underground. And other tantra teachings were never committed to writing at all and only transmitted through word of mouth.”

No one knows exactly when tantra began. Some believe the ancient tradition begin around 500 A.D., others say it didn’t come about until the 16th century.

While tantra has evolved over the last thousand years, “tantra is still first and foremost a personal practice of liberation,” according to Carrellas.

It’s a technique that allows you to use energy and go deeper into yourself and experience enlightenment.

Good Q! Yoga is Sanskrit for “oneness” and is anything that connects you to yourself, says tantra educator Leah Piper of More Love Seminars.

Because tantra is about becoming aware of and whole with oneself, tantra can be yoga, she says.

“Tantric yoga weaves together many yogic and meditative practices to help you get as deep an understanding of yourself as possible, so that you can accept that self,” says Rose.

Tantra yoga may include:

  • chanting
  • breath work
  • yoga poses
  • chakra work
  • meditation

Tantric meditation teacher Hilary Jackendoff with Yoga Wake Up in Los Angeles, California, says it’s an awesome way to explore tantra without a partner and without having sex, or to spend time with yourself.

How is this different from tantra in sexual activity?

(Video) Tantra Practice for Beginners (Create Connection & Build Intimacy)

Tantric yoga and tantric sex are from two different branches of tantra.

Traditional tantra is divided into red tantra and white tantra. White tantra is the solo practice, which incorporate yoga and meditation. Red tantra is the sexual practice.

While both use sexual energy, the goal of the two practices is different. The goal of red tantra is to create a deeper bond with a partner, while white tantra is about creating a deeper bond with yourself.

While the Western practice of tantra might suggest otherwise, you actually can’t have red tantra without white tantra, according to Piper.

“Red tantra is your opportunity to bring everything you’ve learned in your solo practice into an exchange with a lover,” explains Piper. No solo practice? No way to bring that to a lover.

“Tantric yoga can still make you a better lover,” says Rose, who has used tantric yoga to help people overcome dependence on porn or erotica, premature ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction.

Two words: spiritual liberation.

“This isn’t about toning the body or getting a workout,” says Piper. “Tantric yoga is about being purposeful with your breath, embodiment, and making love with your own body.”

Experts say a regular tantric practice can help you reap the following benefits:

  • reduced stress, anxiety, or depression
  • better understanding of and love for oneself
  • improved sleep quality
  • boosted confidence and performance in the bedroom
  • improved quality of life
  • increased capacity for intimacy

Are there specific postures, or is it more about the approach?

(Video) How to have tantric sex for beginners 2022 / Sacred Sexuality 101

The latter.

Unlike Bikram yoga, which features the same 26 postures in every class, or Ashtanga which always has the same sequence, every tantra yoga teacher will lead you through a different sequence of movements, meditations, chanting, chakra work, and breath work.

Jackendoff explains, “In one tantra yoga [practice] you might hold Downward-Facing Dog while concentrating on the throat pit (a chakra point) [and] mentally repeating a mantra and visualizing energy move through your body with your breath. In another, you might not.”

However, according to Piper, all tantric yoga classes should include these 5 positions:

  • inversions
  • side bends
  • Forward Folds
  • twists
  • backbends

“You can absolutely do it alone. You don’t even need a coach or teacher,” says Rose.

Because the practice requires a very subtle level of awareness, it can be challenging to self-guide. Some experts recommend waiting to practice alone until you understand the principles.

“It’s a fun date idea to do your solo tantra practice in the same room as someone else,” says Piper. “It’s like fine-tuning your instruments in the same room so you can make music together later.” Hot!

Yes! There are various online classes such as SourceTantraYoga, Tantra: The Art of Conscious Loving, Yoga Glo, and Yoga International that allow you to practice without going to a studio.

“If you create a deep inward focus in your home yoga practice — whatever that entails — and feel that your movement is a sacred doorway to direct experience of the Divine, that can qualify as tantric yoga,” says Jackendoff.

(Video) Tantra for Beginners | What You Need to Know to Begin a Practice

If, however, you want to do a deep dive into classical tantra yoga, Rose says, “you’ll want to work one-on-one with a tantra guru.”

To find a guru, ask around at your local Hatha or Kundalini yoga studio, or explore tantra yoga teachers online.

Unlike classes like CrossFit, there’s no ruling body governing who can call their offerings “tantra.”

“Because sex sells, most ‘tantra’ classes only teach the sexual aspect of tantra and ignore the solo, yogic parts,” says Piper.

To find out if the tantric class is legit, ask:

  1. Are your classes solo or partnered? (Classical tantra yoga should be solo.)
  2. Are you teaching red or white tantra? (The answer should be white tantra.)
  3. What is the goal of the class? (The answer should suggest self-growth and self-awareness.)
  4. Does the class include chanting? (The answer should be yes.)
  5. What is the teacher’s training? (The teacher should be trained in Hatha yoga, Integral yoga, Kundalini yoga, and tantra.)

Another option: Go to any Hatha yoga class.

“Hatha is the practice of developing awareness in your body and balancing your energy, so anyone doing Hatha yoga is already doing tantra yoga,’ says Piper.

Kundalini yoga is also deeply rooted in tantra yoga.

There are so many sources that “you could spend the rest of your life studying the history and many philosophies of tantra,” says Carrellas. Though, you don’t need to — unless you want to, of course.

(Video) Tantra Hatha Yoga with Echo Flow Yoga

Start by reading one or two of these popular tantric yoga texts, all of which you can buy online:

You can also check out the websites of the tantric experts we cite throughout this article.

Gabrielle Kassel is a New York–based sex and wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tested over 200 vibrators, and eaten, drunk, and brushed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books and romance novels, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.

FAQs

Can you do tantric yoga by yourself? ›

White tantra is the solo practice, which incorporate yoga and meditation. Red tantra is the sexual practice. While both use sexual energy, the goal of the two practices is different. The goal of red tantra is to create a deeper bond with a partner, while white tantra is about creating a deeper bond with yourself.

How do you start tantric yoga? ›

How to practice tantric yoga.
  1. Quiet the mental chatter. Tantric yoga will lead to the dissolution of any mental and physical barriers to growth. ...
  2. Learn to be comfortable with silence. ...
  3. Put aside flexibility or physical fitness as the end goal. ...
  4. Lean into pleasure. ...
  5. Follow your own path.

What are the 4 pillars of tantra yoga? ›

Four Pillars of Tantra Yoga
  • Mantra & Sankapala: I set an intention or sankapla at the beginning of every practice. ...
  • Hatha Yoga: I practice asana couple times a week and prefer Hatha yoga. ...
  • Kundalini Yoga: I love to practice Kundalini yoga. ...
  • Rajas Yoga- Its hard to say if I've reached this level of yoga.
26 Aug 2020

How do I start Practising tantra? ›

Start out by facing your partner, clothes on, and look at each other in the eyes. Practice the breathing techniques and synchronize your breath. Once you've gotten into a rhythm, you can begin to incorporate tantric techniques.

What is the goal of tantric yoga? ›

Tantric yoga links many meditative and yogic practices together. The goal is to give you a deeper understanding of yourself and to promote feelings of self-love and acceptance.

What is the difference between Tantra and tantric? ›

Tantras are works that primarily focus on ritual and meditative practices, so the term tantric also envelops the practices associated with these scriptures, which were traditionally disseminated by the tāntrikas (the Sanskrit term also designates tantric practitioners), along with the texts.

Are Tantra and kundalini the same? ›

Thus the distinction between kundalini yoga and tantric yoga is that the former is more physical, vigorous, gross, technical, and has no component of love and devotion, while the latter is more spiritual, gentle, and subtle, and is always accompanied by love and devotion.

How many types of Tantra are there? ›

Tantra are mainly two types: Agama and Nigama.

How do you do tantric breathing? ›

Tantric Breathing Practice
  1. Bhastrika (Bellows Breath) Breathing in and out vigorously, allow the belly to move out on the inhale and draw back in on the exhale, 27 times. ...
  2. Release the clamp. With the head down, slowly release the clamp, bringing the palms to face up on the thighs. ...
  3. Ahamkara mudra.
6 Jun 2018

What is tantric meditation? ›

What Is Tantric Meditation? This is a practice that combines movement, breath, meditation and sound, to assist the chakras within us to open. Once the chakras are open, they allow energy to flow freely through the seven chakra system.

What is Tantric Hatha? ›

Tantric Hatha is generally quite slow. It combines dynamic parts, where we gently flow in and out of postures (asanas), together with moments of stillness. In the moments of stillness, you are invited to deeply enjoy the benefits of each asana.

What is Kundalini Yoga? ›

Kundalini yoga is a form of yoga that involves chanting, singing, breathing exercises, and repetitive poses. Its purpose is to activate your Kundalini energy, or shakti. This is a spiritual energy that's said to be located at the base of your spine.

How do you live a tantric life? ›

Living a tantric life is to live consciously in alignment with our natural orgasmic life force. Harmonising our human self and our God-self in our Divine Union. Remembering and enjoying our true Nature & Purpose.

How do you have a tantric relationship? ›

To truly achieve a tantric relationship both partners need to be committed to an authentic spiritual path and practice. First and foremost, both partners must have the desire to develop their relationship as individuals and as a couple. Applying the tantric teachings is necessary.

What's the difference between Tantra and yoga? ›

“The major difference between historical tantra and historical yoga is that tantra incorporates ritual, deity work (especially goddesses), physical and energetic embodiment, initiation into esoteric teachings, and the role of guru, while yoga emphasized enlightenment through discipline, and most particularly the ...

What does the word yoga literally mean? ›

The word 'Yoga' is derived from the Sanskrit root 'Yuj', meaning 'to join' or 'to yoke' or 'to unite'. As per Yogic scriptures the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, Man & Nature.

What is not one way to awaken kundalini in hatha yoga? ›

The correct option is C.

The pranayama technique of kumbhaka generates heat, which awakens the kundalini and causes it to travel upwards along the sushumna nadi. Also,energetically, focusing our attention to Mula Bandha yoga awakens the latent Kundalini energy at the Sushumna Nadi's base.

Who is the God of Tantra? ›

The Tantric God

Shiva is always linked to the Great Goddess, although in Tantrism, he often appears as the fearsome Bhairava. He is worshiped independently in Tantric rites, but more often is paired with the Goddess. The relationship of the Goddess and Bhairava is an extremely complicated one.

What is highest yoga Tantra? ›

Anuttarayoga tantras (rnal 'byor bla med, Unexcelled or Unsurpassable yoga tantras), also known as Yoganiruttaratantra are meant for practitioners of the highest ability who do not rely on external activities.

What religion uses Tantra? ›

The Tantras

Many describe rituals that transgress social and religious conventions within mainstream Hinduism and Buddhism. Some Tantras describe sexual rites for achieving enlightenment. These can be understood both literally and symbolically.

What is Shakti in tantra? ›

This stir, this force of love and life was revered in the ancient cultures, and especially within the Tantric Tradition. The Tantrics worship and adore 'Shakti', in Sanskrit the 'feminine power', 'force of nature' or 'energy'. Shakti is the personification of the primordial feminine energy.

What is tantric self love? ›

It is a spiritual practice and viewpoint for seeing the totality of our experience as human beings and our innate divine essence.

How do you do tantric breathing? ›

Tantric Breathing Practice
  1. Bhastrika (Bellows Breath) Breathing in and out vigorously, allow the belly to move out on the inhale and draw back in on the exhale, 27 times. ...
  2. Release the clamp. With the head down, slowly release the clamp, bringing the palms to face up on the thighs. ...
  3. Ahamkara mudra.
6 Jun 2018

How many types of Tantra are there? ›

Tantra are mainly two types: Agama and Nigama.

How do you live a tantric life? ›

Living a tantric life is to live consciously in alignment with our natural orgasmic life force. Harmonising our human self and our God-self in our Divine Union. Remembering and enjoying our true Nature & Purpose.

What is tantric meditation? ›

What Is Tantric Meditation? This is a practice that combines movement, breath, meditation and sound, to assist the chakras within us to open. Once the chakras are open, they allow energy to flow freely through the seven chakra system.

What is Shakti in tantra? ›

This stir, this force of love and life was revered in the ancient cultures, and especially within the Tantric Tradition. The Tantrics worship and adore 'Shakti', in Sanskrit the 'feminine power', 'force of nature' or 'energy'. Shakti is the personification of the primordial feminine energy.

Who is the God of Tantra? ›

The Tantric God

Shiva is always linked to the Great Goddess, although in Tantrism, he often appears as the fearsome Bhairava. He is worshiped independently in Tantric rites, but more often is paired with the Goddess. The relationship of the Goddess and Bhairava is an extremely complicated one.

What is highest yoga Tantra? ›

Anuttarayoga tantras (rnal 'byor bla med, Unexcelled or Unsurpassable yoga tantras), also known as Yoganiruttaratantra are meant for practitioners of the highest ability who do not rely on external activities.

What religion uses Tantra? ›

The Tantras

Many describe rituals that transgress social and religious conventions within mainstream Hinduism and Buddhism. Some Tantras describe sexual rites for achieving enlightenment. These can be understood both literally and symbolically.

What is the tantric path? ›

Tantra is a spiritual practice in which all aspects of earthly life, including sex, can be a path to spiritual realization. The essence of the practice is going into everything as completely, as totally, and as consciously as possible.

What is a tantric lifestyle? ›

Following the principle of integration, a tantric practitioner attempts to find freedom while living in the world and aspires to experience the fullness of life. To be born as a human is an opportunity to experience our oneness with Absolute Consciousness—our own inner divinity.

What is the meaning of Tantrika? ›

Tantrika is a Sanskrit word that means “relating to Tantra.” Tantra is a Hindu spiritual practice (sadhana) based on religious and mystical texts devoted to goddess worship and shakti (divine feminine energy). It is also the name used to describe this collection of texts (Tantras).

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