So many of us have heard the terminology of Tantra, however very few of us actually knows what the name means, for others, their idea of Tantra has been sadly tainted.
To enter the world of Tantra is to enter a world of magic and mystery, of expansion between your physical and spiritual self.
In modern era Tantra has been studied as an esoteric practice and ritualistic religion, referred to as Tantrism; however there is a very wide gap between what Tantra means to its students, and what Tantra has been perceived by the average person. Most modern definitions were born out of the representation given by colonial writers. One definition of Tantra is equal to the “system of obervances” about the vision of man and the cosmos where correspondences between the inner world of the person and the macrocosmic reality play an essential role; another definition more accepted by non-practitioners of Tantra is: “Tantra is the study of a set of mechanistic rituals.”
“Tantric religion refers only to the elite traditions directly based on the Sanskrit texts called the Tantras, Samhitas, and Agamas.” David Lorenzen adds to this narrow definition by including a broad range of “magical beliefs and practices, such as Yoga, Sexual exploration and Shaktism.”
Tantra is a Sanskrit word meaning “woven together”; a beautiful terminology that truly reflects what happens during its practices. The terminology however is not meant to reflect the togetherness of just you and your partner, it goes deeper than that. Tantra is not only for couples, its practices can be apply to anyone; single or not. When talking about woven together, I am also referring to the togetherness of you and your spirit. That is perhaps the deepest most important connection. Why do I say this?, well look at it this way, if you don’t know how to love yourself physically and spiritually then chances are you really don’t know how to love anyone else whether spiritually or physically. Each one of us human beings are like a glass of water. Our self love in all aspects of our nature (physiological, psychological, spiritual) is the water in the glass; you can not offer water to someone else whom you may feel is thirsty when you have nothing to give. Tantra understands this concept and draws its teachings from it.
I am not going to go too much into its history as most of the questions I received are regarding its meaning not its origins.
It seems most people confuse Tantra with Kama Sutra. Let’s get this erroneous idea out of our heads. The Kama Sutra is a book which can be beautiful to implement in your life style, however it only focuses on the sexual aspects, and not in great detail. Personally I see the Kamasutra as a teaching of technique, while Tantra implements it all. Anyone can be taught technique but if you lack the “magic” and “knowledge” of the how and why a person and his her body react a certain way and how to connect, then in my opinion you end up with dry empty sex.
The study and practices of Tantra is a discipline. One that like most disciplines becomes a way of life. Tantra is a very ancient concept, which involves yoga, mindfulness, psychology, sexual knowledge, sexual techniques and practice of old arts. To study Tantra then is not easy and does require the right motivation. There are many “schools of Tantra” out there, however I find most of those schools, could easily be equal to a “workshop”; which can be beneficial to entice and enhance a person’s or couples’ sexual life; however it is not all Tantra is.
Tantra demands from its students its complete devotion and determination. Studying Tantra is then a hard but beautiful thing to do. Studying Tantra involves submerging yourself deep on how the mind works, counselling (focusing on sexual traumas/taboos), deep study of human biology, meditation, esoteric or so call dark sexual arts (let me clarify this: Most people when hearing dark sexual arts, confuse the term with the modern meaning of sexual depravation. As a Tantric I will tell you that when talking about dark sexual arts am referring to old forgotten, hidden, arts that were and can be considered taboo.) Tantra is not depraved, neither does it belittle anyone, it is meant to uplift not to destroy you.
There is no such a thing as dark Tantra. Reality is that term is one which was created by modern sexual workers in order to justify what they do by giving it a more acceptable name. Dark Tantra in modern terms is supposed to mean S&M which in reality has never been a part of Tantra. Nowadays many people use the term Tantric when talking about providing a sexual favour; wrong again!. Tantra does not provide sexual favours. Again the adult industry has chosen to claim the name in order to make things more appealable, and to reduce guilt on those using it.
Teaching Tantra does involve the teaching of sexuality, more importantly sensuality, as sexuality without sensuality can be very cold and dry. Even more important than the two I just mentioned, is the teaching of soothing old or recent wounds, the teaching of discovery or re-discovery of your soul, and your body; that is what takes Tantra to a league of its own. Those are things that can not be easily taught at a workshop, it takes years, of study, and constant seeking of knowledge.
Workshops are awesome for people who want to introduce Tantra to their lives, who want to re-spark the lost passion.
Tantra can do this, because when it comes to Tantric sexuality, it involves the prolonging of pleasure. It is meant to awaken all of your senses and to keep you just under the boiling point, it is meant to create waves; wave after wave building more pressure until your body can take no more, aware of every aspect/sense of self until you finally let go, leaving you in ecstasy; the type of ecstasy that leaves you feeling loved, not empty.
A Tantric will teach you and your partner (if you have one), to get in touch with your old wounds, to really look at yourself, and embrace yourself, so if are taking Tantric counselling, don’t expect sexuality to be involved from the get go; self acceptance is important. If you are being participant of a Tantric massage, some of the things you will notice are that your Tantric wears a sensual robe, he or she is never naked. A tantric massage is never hard, it is slow and loving. Don’t expect a Tantric massage to work on your muscle pain, it is meant to work on your fears and wounds by transmitting love, and allowing you to feel love as you get touch. Your tantric, will always show love and respect for self and for you. It is not meant in any way to be trashy or cheap.
A tantric massage is always best after Tantric counselling, as by then your Tantric or your partner will know what your wounds are and how to work on your chakras, and your fears. Many people use a Tantric massage without the counselling as they just want to feel cherished, loved, honoured, respected, arouse, accepting of self; never belittle, abused, feeling dirty, as it may happen with a basic sexual massage, or with people who claim to be Tantrics but deliver only sexuality. Those souls are hurt and empty, therefore you can’t expect them to give you something they don’t have. Likewise to use them, is to abuse their soul and your own.
Tantra will teach you or a couple to connect with yourself while being physical with your body or your partner. Basic things you will learn after learning about yourself, are :
Always keep your bedroom welcoming, warm colors, free of clutter, not too many decorations. Fluid is what you are going for, and never ever have a TV in it or prepare a different room space for it.
Keep your room toasty as you will be naked, and sweat and arousal add to the whole experience.
Deem the lights, or have candles.
You may have fresh rose petals all over the ground, this adds to your senses.
Incense, make sure it is a scent that awakens sexuality and soothes your soul by calming your mind, some of the best are: Musk, Sandalwood, Jasmine.
Have a good body oil handy and warm. If using scented oil, always mix it up with your regular baby oil, as scented oils are too hard on the skin and can bee too intrusive on your senses.
Music: calming but erotic. There are many tracks specifically for Tantra.
When you have all of your room ready, make sure your body is clean. You may even choose to have a bath together, but before you do, please take a shower.
When coming into your room/shrine you should start with intention. This may seem silly for both of you, but it does create a different aura to the whole thing, plus is a beautiful sign of trust to hear your loved one tell you what his/her intention is.
Usually after intention comes breathing, you want to be in sync, and with it comes eye gazing for connection. Once you are connected comes the fun of sexuality , that is where tantric massage usually comes into play (All types of regular massage including relaxation massage are given on a table. Tantric massage is given on the floor, on top of a nice comfortable mat.) Be open and honest with your partner about your likes and dislikes, and take it from there.
There are many ways, and positions to explore as there are techniques which can be helpful during a Tantric massage, but that is not what this article is about; next time!.
For now I hope the above has given you a better idea of what Tantra is and what it involves.