In a recent class you spoke briefly about tantra yoga and the concept of “embracing all things.” Could you tell me more about this yoga style? Where did you learn to practice this yoga, did you have a teacher, and could you recommend a couple books, or authors? Thanks! - Chris M
I love it when someone asks about Tantra. Thanks for opening the conversation that I hope does not stop here.
In general, Tantra is an evolution of the pantheon of yoga. It refers to teachings from texts called Tantras and Agamas and the practices specified there in and began about 1500 years ago. Tantra means “mechanism that expands the heart” or “a loom- something which stretches and weaves a fabric”. It can apply to any practice that does expand and create, though there are many specific, methodological, sequential practices that are beautiful artistic sciences laid forth in the ancient texts to achieve the said expansion.
The non-dual Tantra that I have been exposed to sees everything as energy. Nothing exists that is not energy. Tantra is a technology that teaches one to navigate these different frequencies and densities of energy to experience the full human potential of Bliss. We see that the essence of all things is good. That there is an inherent positive in everything if one looks deep enough. One of the hallmarks of Tantra is doing practices (chanting, breathwork, meditation) to attune the subtle body to the heart of Consciousness. Another hallmark is that it is a practice, something that you return to daily or every other day, to rehearse and train oneself to relax, merge and synchronize with the depth of one’s being.
Even though Hatha Yoga (yoga poses as we know them) all evolved from Tantra, most systems have strayed away from the subtle practices that really are the distinctive characteristic of Tantra. (myself included I am a student still). Though there is remarkable goodness in all of the beautiful yoga systems that we have at our fingertips today, it is exciting when a student feels a pull to something deeper, something more. It is the natural progression of yoga to start working more with the subtle.
There is more access to the universal teachings of Tantra because of the growing body of scholars and practitioners. My initiation into this general out look was through John Friend and Anusara Yoga. It teaches a non-dual Shiva-Shakti Tantrik philosophy. I received further teaching from Paul Muller Ortega PhD. (http://bluethroatyoga.com/) Tantra is an evolving field of study, since most of the texts have not been translated. It is exciting that there are scholars of Sanskrit and practitioners of these methods who are translating, practicing and teaching this great technology. One other scholar/practitioner that I know of is Christopher D. Wallis (http://www.hareesh.org/). Both of these men offer courses and have books for study. I am very excited about a new book that is freshly published: Tantra Illuminated By Christopher D. Wallis. There is a great explanation of the book and you can order it from: http://www.anusara.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=268&Itemid=331
If you would like more help in finding a teacher that you resonate with, I will do my best to help you. For now, I hope that this is illuminating and exciting!