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Note: For the complete lessons,
with additions, see the AYP
Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.
Lesson T16 - Q&A What is the best tantric
Date: Thu Mar 11, 2004 2:10pm
New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of this tantra yoga archive, as
previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "What is tantra yoga?"
Q: I have read many books on tantra, and I'm still not sure what it is. Is it about sex,
or is it about yoga? What is tantric practice, and is there a "best" tantric
A: Tantra is very misunderstood in the West due to over-embracing of the sexual aspect,
and in the East due to under-embracing of the sexual aspect.
In both cases the sexual aspect is an obsession, either for or against. It is because sex
is about deeply personal pleasure. We are all fascinated by deep pleasure, especially our
own. It is a preoccupation, a fixation, which makes it a hazard to yoga. But without sex,
there can be no higher yoga, so it has to be addressed.
What is tantra? Of course, from the first lesson here, you know it is everything in yoga
from top to bottom, and from left to right.
If you are asking, "What is the definition of tantric sexual practice?" Then I
have to say it is one word "Brahmacharya." By that, I do not mean
celibacy, though it can be that. What I mean is preservation and cultivation of sexual
energy as part of the whole of yoga practices. Genital orgasm is not part of that. We go
for orgasm because we need it to satisfy our reproductive urge. Genital orgasm has little
to do with spiritual progress, except as it is expanded (preorgasmically) to unending
whole body ecstasy. The rise of whole body ecstasy is nature's way of calling us to the
spiritual realms, just as orgasm is her way of calling us to reproduction.
Hence, any teaching that claims to give a bigger, longer, or better orgasm is not really
tantric. It is only about having better sex, which is what most people are looking for.
Not that there is anything wrong with that. But let's be clear about our yoga.
Are these lessons anti-orgasm? No. We cannot deny our humanity. We just do our best to
nudge ourselves toward the divine using the best means we can find. We will slip off this
way or that way every day. It doesn't matter. What matters is our continued favoring of
the principles and practices that purify and open the nervous system. Life can become an
easy sort of meditation, like that. Just favoring natural principles that enable our
nervous system to purify and open itself. Nothing is accomplished by negative judgments.
So, when we slip, we just pick up and keep going in the direction we know leads home. That
is part of tantric sex too, part of the process of brahmacharya gently favoring
preservation and cultivation of sexual energy through thick and thin, without judgment.
What is the best tantric practice? In terms of consistently preserving and cultivating
sexual energy, the hands-down winner is siddhasana.
"But that isn't having sex!" you cry.
That is correct. We have the methods discussed here in the tantra group for working
towards staying in principle (preservation and cultivation) during sexual relations. But
how often do we have sex every day? And for how long in front of orgasm? And how about
without orgasm? Taken as daily spiritual practice, tantric sex is hit or miss at best.
Certainly, tantric sex is wonderful, and a definite aid on the path. It can be taken to
great heights by skilled partners. Even so, over the long run, it doesn't hold a candle to
a steady disciplined diet of siddhasana during our regular sitting practices twice every
day. This is why siddhasana wins. It is twice daily for 30 minutes or more. It is
stimulative and always preorgasmic, once stabilized as a regular part of our practices.
Doing it simultaneously with pranayama and meditation has the powerful benefit of
cultivating sexual energy while our nervous system is engaged in deep spiritual processes,
so the effects of siddhasana and all concurrent practices are amplified.
If siddhasana becomes orgasmic (perhaps in the learning stage), it can also be used by a
man for blocking ejaculation, simply by leaning forward on the heel. The heel then does
what the fingers do in blocking at the perineum. Siddhasana is an all-purpose tantric
If you want to review, the particulars of siddhasana are covered in lessons #33 & #75 in the main group.
Does this mean everyone has to forget about sexual relations and just sit in siddhasana
every day? Of course not. Siddhasana is a foundation tantric practice for serious yogis
and yoginis. Siddhasana means "seat of the perfected ones" for a reason. If
siddhasana is there during pranayama, meditation and other sitting practices, the
foundation for tantric practice is there, no matter what else may happen with sex. Beyond
that, do whatever comes naturally in your sex life. If you are devoted to your yoga, you
will find yourself naturally drawn to the principles of preservation and cultivation in
your sexual relations. The methods given in these lessons (holdback and blocking) are easy
to learn, and are very effective. There are
more complex methods one can use. Whatever tantric practices you choose, the underlying
principles of brahmacharya remain the same preservation and cultivation of sexual
In the end, what matters in yoga is the permeation of our body and surroundings with
ecstatic bliss. If we have accomplished that, then exactly how we handled sexual energy is
a moot point.
If we apply the underlying principles, we will get the results.
The guru is in you.
Note: For detailed
instructions on the methods of tantra in relation to the broad scope of yoga
practices and the enlightenment process,
see the AYP Tantra book.
instructions on siddhasana, see the AYP Asanas,
Mudras and Bandhas book.
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