What is tantra?
All you need to know about the world of Tantra but were too afraid to ask. By Sofia Sundari
Reading time: 8 minutes
As yoga has become common practice for so many we're hearing the word Tantra more often, especially on social media. But what exactly is it and how does it benefit our health and wellbeing?
Tantra is an ancient spiritual path that, like yoga, originated in India thousands of years ago. It involves recognising our eternal nature whilst being active in the world. Tantra invites us to have a life of totality, to trust completely, to love fully, to jump into life without a safety net; ultimately, Tantra invites us to expand into our true self, our inherent divinity.
Walking this path isn't only focused on sex (as is popularised in the mainstream media) but in Tantra we recognise that everything is a product of sex, so sexual energy is seen as the root energy of everything. Sexual pleasure is seen as a way to experience the divine within ourselves and, by doing so, we are able to recognise and connect with our own true divinity. When we address this energy we tap into the force of all energy and from there we learn the energetic mastery of life. Tantra teaches us how energy flows and channels through us and how we impact others through our energy. Once mastered, this allows us to enter magnetism where living a full and abundant life is magnetised towards us. Tantra is essentially a system of life mastery; by understanding tantric energetics we access our human potential.
The alignment with the self Tantra leads up to is the key to a person achieving sovereign wholeness. This is when a person reaches a state of knowing who they are and that they don't need to push or prove anything. They feel comfortable in their body and there is great peace of mind.
As an energetic science, Tantra incorporates the mind, body, and spirit, and it's known for its various practices, including meditation, yoga, and breathwork, all of which lead to significant benefits to a person's overall health, both physical and mental. When combined with the wisdom that we get to understand and feel on a cellular level, we begin to understand how energy vibrates inside us and all the karmic imprints that are in the way of being abundant and successful get shaken and moved. As people, we try to protect ourselves from this natural fullness, this abundance, and we create layers of protection instead of softening into what is actually meant for us, what is our true nature.
As we move through life, we tend to collect painful emotional knots in the body; when we work with the emotional body through Tantra, we work to undo those knots and untangle. But we don't have to do it from a therapy approach. In Tantra we aren't healing anything, we are returning ourselves to purity; our truest, purest state of being. Seeing these things clearly allows us to understand and bring them back to source and they dissolve. For example, for many people shame is a big block in the body, and often this begins with sexuality and moves into a general feeling of shame. When we see that shame, acknowledge it, breathe into it and love it, it returns to purity and gets dissolved. This is when you see real improvements in all areas of your life; changes in your body, your behaviour and, in turn, your relationships.
Tantra is all about nurturing the relationship we have with ourselves. Everything starts with us as individuals understanding that we are our main provider, we are our main beloved, we are the ones that need to treat our hearts and bodies like the most precious thing on this planet. It's only within us – and everything else is reflected back to us energetically.
Benefits of Tantra for a person's health include:
Reducing stress and anxiety
Tantra involves a lot of meditation, which has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety levels. The practice focuses on deep breathing, which slows down the heart rate and lowers blood pressure, resulting in a calm state of mind. These practices emphasise the importance of being present in the moment and connecting with our bodies and this intuition helps achieve a more pleasurable, healthy life. Tantra teaches us to let go of negative emotions and focus on positive energy, which further helps to reduce stress and anxiety.
Tantra encourages people to love, forgive and accept themselves fully. It teaches people to let go of self-judgement and to embrace their flaws and imperceptions. By learning to love and accept ourselves, we can improve our self-confidence and self-esteem. This can have a positive impact on all areas of our lives, including our relationships, careers, and personal growth.
Enhancing physical health
Tantra incorporates various physical practices, including yoga and breathwork, which can help improve a person's physical health. Yoga is known to improve flexibility, strength, and balance, while breathwork can help to improve lung capacity and oxygenate the body leading to a healthier more alkaline body. We also address karmic imprints that are reflected in the body. I have seen miraculous healing taking place in an instant, when an old emotional charge is released.
Deepening spiritual connection
Tantra is a spiritual practice that helps people to connect with their higher selves and the universe. It teaches people to be present in the moment and to connect with their spiritual energy. By deepening their spiritual connection, people can find greater meaning and purpose in their lives, which leads to a more fulfilling and satisfying life.
Improving sexual health
Tantra teaches people to be present during sex and to connect with their partner on a deeper level. By encouraging people to slow down and focus on the sensations they are experiencing through embodied intimacy they enjoy every part of sex rather than racing to orgasm.
By learning that a man's arousal pattern starts in the lingam (penis) and moves outwards, whereas a woman's arousal patterns begins on the outside of the body and moves inward towards the yoni (vagina) – which are the opposite of one another – couples learn how to give and receive deeper levels of pleasure, which leads to a more satisfying sex life.
Once you learn more about sexual energy and arousal you are able to raise this healing energy in the body without releasing it through orgasm which leads to enhanced pleasure. In the long run, orgasms often become more intense, last longer and are more satisfying. Tantra also helps people to overcome sexual inhibitions and to explore new ways to pleasure by recognising that sexual pleasure is an expression of the divine within us.
It is important to note that Tantra is not simply about sexual techniques or pleasure, but rather about cultivating a deeper awareness and connection with the self, your partner, and the universe at large.
When we understand tantric energetics we get the keys that unlock all doors. We learn how to energetically take up space, how to channel supreme knowledge through our speech and writing, how to cultivate magnetism and maintain attraction in long-term relationships, how to heal naturally, and how to tap into our highest potential in this life.
In conclusion, Tantra is a path of spiritual growth and self-discovery which leads to cultivating a deep connection with the body, heart, and soul. If you’re looking to improve your overall health and wellbeing, Tantric practices could change your life.
5 tips for incorporating Tantric practices into your life
1 Get into the habit of bringing your undivided attention to the smallest activities throughout the day. For example, when you are washing your hands allow yourself to fully experience the water running down your skin, the texture of the soap, the sensations of your hands touching each other. With this approach, doing dishes is not boring anymore!
2 When you are talking to someone, look them in the eyes and imagine that you are listening to them with your whole body. Don't think about how you are going to respond, don't analyse what they are saying, offer your full presence to them as a gift.
3 Train yourself to notice beauty. Allow yourself to experience it fully. If you see something that's pleasing to your senses, take time to take it in and be nourished by experiencing the thing you are looking at, smelling, hearing or tasting.
4 Throughout the day, do a body scan and check where your breath is; most people walk around with chronic tightness in their jaw, shoulders and pelvic floor as well as very shallow breath. These habits unnecessarily overstimulate the sympathetic nervous system giving your brain a signal that you are not safe. When you undo the tension and deepen your breath you come back home to the safety of your body. That's when you come back to the present and start to experience life more fully.
5 Take your nourishment seriously. Be it through taking time to fully enjoy the taste of your meal, turning showering into a sacred experience or taking a full day each week dedicated to honouring the Queen or King that you truly are.
Sofia Sundari is a Transformational Leader & Tantric Energetics Expert. Find out more at: sofiasundari.com
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.