Tantric yoga positions expand intimate possibilities for partners, and not just for sex.
To Understand Tantra, Start with Kundalini
In Sanskrit, the root of tantra is tan, which means, "to weave, expand, put forth." The concept is that everything is interwoven: our relationships with each other, our experiences, and the universe, and we have the ability to expand on our connectedness.
Tantra is not just about sex, although increased pleasure is certainly a healthy benefit to practicing tantric yoga. Tantra is derived from the more spiritual style of Kundalini yoga. Many of the poses used in Kundalini yoga can be considered tantric if you perform them simultaneously with a partner.
Spirituality of the Body
In Kundalini and Tantra, the belief is that the source of energy lies at the base of the spine. The goal is to channel this energy-the sexual and spiritual life force-throughout the rest of the body. This isn't only about intercourse. One of the key factors of tantric yoga is that the majority of postures performed with partners involve a lot of eye contact and touching other parts of the body in a non-sexual way. This increases the spiritual level of intimacy, opening the heart to receive pleasure in numerous ways.
To experience this in the simplest of demonstrations, try a sacred embrace. This can be done with anyone, not just a love partner.
Start by standing in front of one another, but not touching.
Close your eyes, and breathe slowly for a moment or two.
Then, open your eyes, and hold the other's gaze for another moment, not speaking.
Approach one another and wrap your arms around each other, heads on shoulders.
Stay still in the embrace. Breathe. When you think you want to pull away, hold still, and ask yourself why you wanted to move away.
When you do end the embrace, look into each other's eyes again, and say thank you.
There is no doubt that you will feel closer to this person, whether he or she is your lover, a friend, or your child. This basic expression of intimacy leads to the greater connection that practicing Tantra yoga provides.
Basic Tantric Yoga Positions
Starting with the foundation of Hatha yoga, here are some beginner's tantric yoga positions that partners will enjoy performing together. Modify any of these poses to increase the opportunity for prolonged eye contact and touching.
Downward Facing Dog Pose: Perform this with your buttocks touching and your eyes peeking at one another.
Tree Yoga Pose: Do this hip-to-hip, or full-front.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend: Another pose that allows you to rejuvenate the mind in an inverted position while being back-to-back and in eye contact with your partner.
Side Plank Pose: Use this posture to build strength together.
Camel Pose: Touch the soles of your feet together and look at each other upside down.
You can also try performing Plank Pose over your partner as he or she lies in Relaxation pose.
Partner yoga is one step to understanding tantra.
Tantric Yoga Retreats
Yoga retreats are an indulgence, but well-worth the time and money. Here are just a few that provide instruction for both couples and singles looking to expand tantric knowledge:
Institute for Ecstatic Living - Founded by Steve and Lokita Carter, this center is an incredible resource for workshops, tantric-focused vacations, and special tantric yoga training.
Source School of Tantra - Legendary tantra yoga instructor Charles Muir opened this center in 1978. The organization specializes in weekend and vacation seminars featuring its most popular course, "Tantra, The Art of Conscious Loving" and many other topics.
The Kripalu Institute - A renowned leader of yoga education, Kripalu offers a variety of Kundalini, intimacy, and other yoga workshops by some of the industry's top instructors.
Julia Tindall Yoga Retreats - This tantra yoga instructor leads a variety of weekend couple workshops designed to increase intimacy through reconditioning, communication, and tantric breathing exercises.
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