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T16 - Q&A What is the best tantric
Date: Thu Mar 11, 2004 2:10pm
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 practice?
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.
the best tantric practice? In terms of consistently preserving and
cultivating sexual energy, the hands-down winner is siddhasana.
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 energy.
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. Also see
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