Due to my recent article in The Times last week I’m getting lots of questions about Tantra. In the West many people associate Tantra with sex, and although it’s true Tantra can spice up your sex life, it has a far more life changing purpose. Taking time, building energy, enjoying the moment and deeply connecting can lead to a fulfilling life of happieness along with extended periods of ecstasy both in and out of the bedroom.
I studied, the 5000 year old Tantric Yoga practise, in its birthplace the Himalayan mountains on the river Ganges in India, at Sattva Yoga Academy. Sattva Yoga uses Asana, Kriya, Breath, Mantra, Meditation and Layer Movements to release blocks in our energetic body. Once these blocks, and we all have them, are released it frees us to truly connect to ourselves and life around us.
If you are a yogi you will know “Asana” e.g. Warrior Pose, Triangle pose, Lotus etc. Asana is the part of ‘Yoga’ that has become very popular in the West making us physically fit, flexible and mentally calm. Tantric Yoga, such as Kriya and Mantra go deeper. However they can appear to be strange, they can freak people out. Some of the actions and sounds are weird… However, if you can remove your self-conscious cloak of self-protection and fully immerse yourself into this practise, you can bring big positive shifts in your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. It can make us more creative, positive, loving & giving, building better relationships with everyone in our life not just our loved one. It brings a connection to all around and an awareness that goes way beyond the surface. It helps us delve deep into our spiritual self enabling a meaningful connection to all creation. This connection is love, and with this love of life and everything around us its hard to feel down or depressed.
At first Tantric Yoga is best practised in a group class or 1-2-1 with a teacher. The class can be tailored for many different outcomes. Perhaps to conquer anxiety/depression/fear, build confidence/self-will/stamina or simply to get more energy and zest for life. With time and training Kriyas can be done alone as a self practise.
Below are 3 very simple Tantric practises that will help build a powerful connection with either yourself, your partner, a friend, a stranger or even someone you don’t like.
Do not practise this if you are pregnant.
Sit cross legged or on a chair, be comfortable, with a long straight spine. Squeeze your belly muscles hard (belly button to the spine) and pull up on the pelvic floor muscles throughout this practise. Focus your mind on your heart beat and start to count the beat. Breathe in through your nose with your mouth closed.
- Breathe out slowly for 4 heart beats.
- Hold your breath for 4-20 heart beats. Start with a low count and slowly increase the hold as you progress.
- Breathe in for 4 heart beats.
- Hold your breath for the same duration as the out breath hold.
Repeat this exercise for up to 20 minutes.
This practise will energise your body and If you are lucky, with time, your Kundalini may release, usually on the out breath hold. It will release because your body thinks you are suffocating. The energy will churn inside your hips and then a burst of very powerful life force energy will rush up your spine. This experience is intense, you will know if it happens. Energetic blocks or past traumas within your body can hold this experience back. This is where the Tantric Yoga and Kriyas come in to help free the channel of energy up your spine.
Tantric eye gazing
The eyes are said to be the window to the soul and eye gazing is an ancient Tantric practice. When we gaze deeply into the eyes of another person, we see beyond their physical form into their being. We communicate with our eyes more than most people appreciate. So gazing into your partner’s eyes opens up a whole new non-verbal communication, and with this connection your sex life can rocket.
Once the awkwardness passes and you relax into the practise, you could feel anything from blissful happiness to deep relaxation and anything between, including tears. It’s best not to have an expectation, just engage and connect with full awareness.
- Sit comfortably opposite each other, faces about 20-30cm apart.
- Each place 1 palm on your partner’s heart.
- Take a few breaths together, encouraging a unity of breath to emerge.
- Simply gaze into each other’s eyes. Try to see beyond the eyes.
- Surrender to this shared experience and see what comes up. Try for as long as feels natural.
Eye gazing can be done with your partner, a friend, a stranger or someone you do not get along with. Even when briefly passing people in the street, you can make a connection. You might become more present, open, patient and expand your understanding and awareness of the love in all beings.
An intimate step-up from eye gazing is a Tantric hug. This hug could lead to fireworks, but best not to have expectations. Use this powerful practise with your loved one to simply build connection, desire or add spice to your love life. Take your time and savour the moment for as long as possible. This can be practiced naked or semi/fully clothed. Have no intention to make love, just see what happens…
The man, or stronger more dominant partner sits cross legged. If you wish, put a pillow or two under your bottom to raise the hips to make the posture more comfortable. The girl, or more submissive partner sits on top of the mans lap with her legs wrapped around his back. Try to get the hips close, then torsos to touch, and wrap your arms around each other.
First, each place your hands on your partners back, one at the level of the heart and the other on the lower back at the sacrum. To be technical on the 2nd and 4th Chakras. Take your full awareness to your partner. Gaze into each other’s eyes, long enough for it not to be awkward, smile, be natural. Take a few deep breaths to synchronise your breathing, feel the touch, listen to the breath and notice your partner’s smell. Use all senses. Sit for as long as possible, arousal may come and go, and/or you may feel a deep loving connection.
To read The Times article click here