In yoga the mind, body, and spirit align with one another to connect to a higher consciousness. That said, there are many different types of yoga that serve various purposes. Now, have you ever heard of tantric yoga? What exactly is tantric yoga and what makes the benefits of this practice different from more traditional forms of yoga?
To practice tantric yoga is all about enlightenment and sensuality. The word tantra is derived from ancient Sanskirt, and translates to “web” or “weave of energy.” Often tantra is synonymous with sex, however tantra really means to transcend both the sexual and spiritual planes of inimacy, making this practice deeply meditative. This practice is for those who wish to become more attuned to their emotional selves. Tantra can help expand the love you have for yourself and for others. It can open new doors for experiencing sexuality on a higher level by becoming more aware of your body and mind. The truth is, while tantra may in fact enhance your sex life, it only does so by deepening your connection to your own energetic fields. Tantric practices are founded on building connections so deep that you feel as though you are getting a glimpse into your and perhaps another’s soul.
Tantric yoga allows for the exploration of subtle energies within the body and the expanding their connection to the universe. This practice dives into enhancing the relationship you have with yourself and others, and incorporates conscious breathing practices, pranayama, and meditation into asanas. The focus is on gaining awareness of our strengths and weaknesses, and our fears and desires. When we are able to consciously respond rather than unconsciously react to our deep emotions, we are able to reach a state of peace and eternal bliss.
Here are some tantric yoga positions to build deep connections and intimacy:
- Boat Pose
In a seated position bring your knees into your chest, and using your arms as stabilizers parallel to the floor, slowly stretch your legs out in front of you. Keeping legs bent or straight, feel your core strengthen and envision a yellow light radiating from your abdomen to ignite your solar plexus chakra – this will help your own personal power and self-reliance. To practice this with a partner, sit facing towards each other and clasp each other’s hands while placing the soles of your feet against your partners. Try straightening your legs while moving them upward, keeping the soles of your feet connected. Focus on the touch and heat sensation with your partner to build intimacy.
- Dancer’s Pose
This pose focuses on balance, touch, and the breath. Start with standing and facing your partner, and then hold one of your partner’s hands. With your other hand, clasp onto your ankle or shin and lean your upper body towards your partner while slowly reaching your leg up. While doing this pose with a partner, make sure to make eye contact to build intimacy. Doing this solo, focus on your breath and feeling all parts of your body.
- Child’s Pose
Bring your knees wide to the edges of your mat and sink your hips back while folding forward to rest your forehead on your mat. Extend your arms in front of you and place them on your mat. If your shoulders allow, bring your palms together to symbolize union with all aspects of yourself. For partner child’s pose, assume regular child’s pose with your heads pointing towards each other. Then, place your right hand facing down and left hand facing up to connect with your partner’s palms. Imagine your inhale emerging from your left palm, breathing in the essence of your partner, and exhaling through your right palm, sharing your essence with your partner.
- Wide Legged Standing Forward Bend
Stand on your mat and place your feet a little wider than shoulder width with toes pointing forward. Start with your hands on your hips and on your first exhale hinge at the hips to fold forward. Keep the spine long and rest your hands on the floor. Take deep breaths and focus on centering yourself. With a partner, stand back to back with legs the same width apart, and when reaching for the floor clasp each other’s hands through your legs, drawing yourselves close to one another while maintaining eye contact upside down.
- Hand to Heart
This can be a wonderfully relaxing and sensual position to feel a deeper connection, whether you are doing this pose alone or with a partner. Place your hand on your chest and feel the rhythm of your heartbeat, and focus on feeling your own body. With a partner, sit cross-legged facing each other. Look into each other’s eyes, and place your palm over your partner’s heart and vice versa. This pose is a great way to communicate without words and tune into the present moment.
Benefits of tantric yoga:
- Awakens your spiritual side by opening up your receptivity to higher consciousness and the divine
- Provides mental clarity through self reflection
- Increases flexibility by releasing built up tension and lengthening the spine
- Promotes intimacy through enhancing our love, boosting energy levels, developing greater awareness, and heightening our sensations
- Increases overall health by promoting healing and a better immune system
Think about incorporating tantric yoga into your life! Exploring subtle energies within the body and their connection to the universe can give us a deeper insight into the purpose of life and our relationships. Use tantra to open new doors of sensuality through developing powerful ties between yourself and others.
Megan Binder (B.A. Psychology)
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