Tantra is a word you may have heard within certain spiritual practices. There are many misconceptions in regards to tantra’s true meaning. Most might only know of it’s representation in sexuality—which is a misconstrued definition of tantra. Tantra originated in India between 300 and 400 AD. In Sanskrit, the root of the word tan means “expand”, and the root of the word tra means “instrument”. These two words combined describe an instrument or vessel used to expand or accumulate. As human beings we can use tantra to gain a higher range of awareness and understanding of the universe. Tantra is about connectedness with other people, but also within the deepest levels of ourselves.
Not a Religion
Tantra is not a religion, it is a practice and lifestyle. The core goal within tantra is to strengthen and become aware of the source that’s within you, and how you are connected to everything in existence. Certain Gods and Goddesses may be worshiped or focus upon during certain tantric practices, but this is to represent the energies that these deities hold. Tantra can be performed without the worship of any deity. This practice’s focus is on self reflection and understanding, it’s personal and unique to each individual.
Tantra is Not About Sex
Today, especially in the Western World, tantra is associated with hypnotic, sexually experiences. In some practices, using sex to dissociate and enter different mental realms may stem from the core of what tantra teaches. In tantra, every act and choice we make in our lives can be directly connected to our spiritual growth. Our spiritual growth comes from the preservation of our life-force energy, or sexual energies. These energies are pure creative expression, and tantra teaches you to honor and use them sacredly. Due to sexual energy being a key component of tantra—in practices outside of traditional tantra, they have adopted the idea that sex in and of itself can be a form of practice.
Connecting Within Yourself and Others
Self-awareness and inner reflection holds great importance in any tantric practice. Each practice allows you to become aware of your personal energies and how you may expand those energies in your everyday life. Once you bring this into your awareness, you being to understand how powerful your words, thoughts, and actions are—and how they can be connected to influencing your external world.
When you are in a tantric state, you will be able to access higher perspectives and understandings than ever before. Your heightened awareness will allow you to feel and experience the world in new ways. Tantra also teaches you to be present and to fully immerse yourself in to your experience. This allows you to connect with others on a very deep level because you experiencing them fully and consciously, without intrusive thoughts or any other internal distractions.
Different Ways Tantra is Practiced
Meditation – These meditations sometimes involve different positions and movement that allow energy within the body to flow and get you into a tantric state. They can also be performed with a partner or a group.
Music and Movement – Dancing to music can be used to evoke feelings of ecstasy and bliss—bringing you into a tantric sate.
Pranayama – Breath work exercises are used to created a flow of energy between the front and back of your body. This flow state ignites your internal energies and creates a higher awareness.
Massage and Touch – This technique is used to release stagnant emotions and trauma, create pleasure and openness, and promotes full body and mind relaxation.
Yoga – There are many different practices of yoga that involve certain movements and poses that help you get in touch with your body, and awaken kundalini energy.
There are many other forms of tantra, and it’s important to find a practice that resonates with you. The goal is to get into a flow state and connect within, and not ever practice may resonate with everyone. You can practice tantra alone, with a partner, or with a friend. You don’t need to be in a relationship to utilize this practice, as there are many options for you to tap into this powerful energy alone.
Tantra is for Everyone
There are no restrictions on who can benefit from practicing tantra. Men and women alike can use this practice to strengthen their connection to themselves and begin to see the world from a whole new perspective. For those that feel like don’t have a strong connection within themselves, or to the people in their lives, tantra will benefit you greatly. Find a practice that resonates with you and practice it everyday. Stick with it, and build this inner connection like a muscle, and once it’s strong enough you’ll undoubtedly notice the magnificent change in how view yourself and the world around you.