“Tantra” is one of those words that we hear and think we sort of know what it means.
I randomly asked friends, patients, and family for their definition of Tantra.
Here are three responses:
1. “Kinky sex”
2. “HIPPY shit”
3. “Basically a tarantula spider”
None of the three guesses is correct.
So, what is Tantra?
Tantra is an over 7,000 year old system based in Eastern Philosophy.
Its main purpose is to harness the body’s energies and use them to connect with a higher consciousness.
That does sound esoteric. What does it mean?
Breathing, moving, making sounds, and focusing the mind are basic elements of Tantra. Applying Tantric ideas expands the Western definition of sex. Deep and intense orgasmic experiences become inherent to the expression of sex in the Tantra world.
But Tantra is about more than sex. It is a spiritual practice based in the belief that all living beings are connected, and that within each of us is the divine. With Tantra practice we develop a higher level of consciousness in everyday life. This translates to embracing the natural world and finding meaning in all relationships. The emphasis is on awareness of emotions and behaviors and how we interact with the world. This is why meditation and contemplation of the outer and inner world are so important. Tantric sex is simply applying these greater beliefs to our sexuality.
Tantra practices involve connection with a partner. The practice however starts with the individual.
The individual learns how to have a more joyous, connected relationship with herself. This sense of ‘oneness’ is part of the preparation for sharing herself with her partner.
With Tantra, we train our mind and heart to embrace our own sexuality.
Some Tantric practitioners adhere to the overall spiritual philosophy of Tantra. Others, though, do not necessarily devote their lives to a daily spiritual practice. More commonly, people take Tantric teachings and apply them to their life, including to their sexuality.
An example is to see your partner at the ultimate god/goddess of sexuality. Another is to apply breathing exercises to your sex life to enrich your experience.
The Kama Sutra is a text of Tantric philosophy written 2,000 years ago by Vatsayana, a religious scholar. The Kama Sutra is a guide to learn specific Tantric sexual practices, including positions.
Tantra is beautiful. You can apply as much or as little as you would like to your current sexual practices.