Well… it seems that the title of the post can raise some eyebrows by itself. In general, I don´t like to talk about this subject because even though it is tricky and fascinating at the same time, on the other hand it is kind of easy to use certain words and catch some attention. The word sex shakes things up and, when a yoga teacher uses it, probably more. My yoga classes follow a purely tantric philosophical current (not sexual!!)and this is the way I approach my students. But recently I saw a group of students that come to my classes when they were about to attend a workshop on Neo Tantra. They seemed a little bit confused in regards to what those things are and their correspondent implication with with sex. This post aims to bring some light into this.
Tantra should NOT be mixed up with the lovemaking arts of India, of which you might know the famous Kamasutra. Tantra is a spiritual tradition going back to pre-Vedic times -according to some scholars- and it had an incredible flourishing starting on the X century of our era. Tantra is a life vision: the Universe as an energetic continuity that unites and connects us all, as a great luminous fabric of which we all are part. Yes, there are sexual rites in a few tantric sects, but it is a minority compared to the vast body of knowledge that this tradition holds. The confusion arises because Tantra explores the power of the creative energy in the Universe. This energy flows through our body and it is the same creative force that is felt in an intimate relationship. In Tantra, the divine and the mundane are one so all emotions, circumstances or sensations are seen as part of the incredible web of existence.
Neotantra is a pseudo-spiritual current originated in the sixties. Some scholars call it “pop tantra”. It draws from some components of traditional Tantra and other New Age approaches to life in order to explore the sacred in sexuality. It has its own value because it has brought some relevance to sex, seeing it as something good and teaching how it can be as spiritual as a meditation in the most beautiful temple.
Tantra and Neo Tantra share the idea that the human body is a sacred vehicle. Both enhance the greatness of body experience and use words like ecstasy, desire or bliss. But while Neo Tantra focuses in partnership relationships and, specifically in the sex part, Tantra encompasses a large series of meditative practices, contemplation and a literary tradition infinitely bigger and more valuable.
I respect all attempts of bringing Light into our lives, but I would prefer that people called what is related to sex by its name. Right now I can think of some poetic terms like “conscious relationships”, “god-goddess love” or “sex for the soul”. I would prefer that Tantra could be left alone, and be honored for its elegant way of unfolding the Divine; for the lineage of many masters that have guided and enlightened us; they have taught very important things as the works of the subtle body or the relationship with the personal deity; they have transmitted the secrets of mantra, yantra, mudra, the cosmology of the Universe and many other components relevant to the spirituality of our time. May we not forget Hatha Yoga! These tantra masters revealed the Shakti powers to us, they have opened the possibility of awakening so we can support others and contribute beautiful things to the world.
In Spain we have a great saying “no mezclemos churras con merinas” which means something like “let´s not mix merino sheep with churra lambs”. I hope this post has brought some clarity and has ignited the desire to explore both the Tantra teachings and the sacredness in sexuality, now with a more clear foundation.
Happy weekend everyone!
Radhe Krishna, Hari Om
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