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Advanced Yoga Practices
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Lesson T4 - The Holdback Method - A Stairway to Heaven (Audio)
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the AdvancedYogaPractices main group web archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?" It is also recommended you read from the beginning of this tantra yoga archive. The first lesson is, "What is tantra?"
There are so many factors in sexual relations. Compatibility is a big one. Do we get along? Are we "good in bed" together? There are many nuances of personal preference and style that we are seeking to match up to our liking. Am I attractive? Is he/she attractive? Is the flirting right? Is the foreplay good? Is the place of lovemaking suitable - the bedroom, the basement, the kitchen table?
In these lessons we will not focus much on these things. They are important for sure. But what we want to focus on here is the act itself. Specifically, how prana (sexual energy) is affected during sexual stimulation, and what we can do to bring that stimulation into the realm of yoga practice. Obviously, an important part of this is answering the question, "What do I want from sex?" If the answer is, "Something more than genital orgasm," then we are ready to begin experimenting with tantric sex methods.
The methods are pretty simple. It is about managing sexual stimulation and orgasm. And it is about male plumbing (piping). Very mundane stuff when you think about it. But we bring so much baggage to bed with us, you know - our obsessions about sex. And that can make it a bit complicated. But it doesn't have to be complicated.
We have obsessions, strong emotional attachments relating to sex. Let's remind ourselves that we are coming to the bed for a higher purpose in lovemaking, and let's use bhakti to direct our sexual obsessions to that. A little bhakti can go a long way.
An important part of this higher purpose is to remember that tantric sex is about our partner's needs. If both partners take this to heart, then there will be great success in tantric sex, or any sex, or any relationship. It is like a Buddhist koan, an unsolvable riddle. If both partners are looking to serve the other, who is being served? If personal need has been transcended, whose need is being filled?
Of course, serving our partner 100% is an ideal, a goal to be gradually fulfilled over a long time. Let your attention come to it easily from time to time as you are making love. It will make a difference. If you are coming to tantric sex sincerely, you probably had this in mind already - that it is about honoring and filling your partner with divine ecstasy. So, take this as a confirmation of what you already instinctively know. Tantric sex is about your partner. Of course, both partners will not always have equal concern for each other. That is okay. Giving does not require a response in kind. Lovemaking is not a business transaction. Lovemaking is making "love." We make love by giving, by doing for someone other than ourselves, not expecting a return for it. This is what love is. It is not necessarily about making a lifetime commitment. It is not about the future or the past. It is just about serving in this very moment.
Sometimes making love means saying, "no." Loving is not rolling over for every desire our partner may have, particularly a desire that is destructive. Under these circumstances, saying, "no" is loving too. Love isn't a pushover. Love is wise. Love is strong. Love radiates peace and light to all of life. This is an important part of what we want to cultivate in tantric sex. It will happen naturally as we progress.
So these are the foundation blocks - Understanding that tantric sex is about cultivating sexual energy upward in our nervous system, that advanced yoga practices provide the prerequisite purification in our nervous system, that we are looking for more than genital orgasm, and that we are there for our partner.
Now let's talk about the holdback method.
In these lessons, we will refer to the male organ as the "lingam" and the female organ as the "yoni." These are the traditional Sanskrit names used in tantra for the masculine and feminine organs of regeneration, covering the full scope of ecstatic union from the physical to the highest spiritual.
The holdback method is most easily done with the man on top and the woman on the bottom. It can be done in other positions also once the partners become familiar with the principles. It is the most difficult to do with the woman on top, as will be come evident.
When a man and woman are in lovemaking, the holdback method involves just what it says, holding back. It is done by the man. It is done before his orgasm, preferably not too close to his orgasm. The idea is not to get to the edge of orgasm and then hold back. It can be too late then, and then the man is out of business until next time. No doubt it will happen that way sometimes, and that is okay. We will discuss another method in the next lesson to help with that. For now, let's continue with the holdback method.
Intercourse is simulative stroking, yes? This is the natural way it goes until the man has orgasm. Maybe the woman has orgasm first, maybe not. But when the man has orgasm it is over, at least for a while. He may come back soon in a semi-recovered state to try and satisfy his lover, and then maybe lose more semen. She may find some satisfaction, but he has paid a high price, pranically speaking. If this goes on daily for a long time, the man's progress in yoga practices will suffer. The woman's progress in yoga won't be helped much either. If it happens only once a week, or less often, it is not such a big deal. But even those who have sex only occasionally can find their yoga progress improved by knowing the methods of tantric sex.
Mastery of the holdback method changes the dynamic of this old style of sex, introducing a new dynamic with many benefits.
In the holdback method, the lingam enters the yoni for a number of strokes and then pulls out and lingers around the opening of the yoni. How many strokes is up to the man, but well short of orgasm is recommended. This is supposed to be a long lovemaking, so holding back sooner rather than later is best in the beginning, as this is when the staying power will be least in most men. A few things are going on when the lingam is in holdback mode. First, the staying power of the man in front of orgasm is being strengthened, recharging to a higher level of staying power than before the previous entry into the yoni. Second, the woman is in anticipation, and this is sexually exciting for her. She does not know when the lingam is coming back into her, and this anticipation will increase her arousal. To add to the woman's anticipation and excitement, the man may do a little teasing with the tip of his lingam, without risking his own orgasm. He may enter the yoni just a little bit and then pull back out. Or he may not touch the yoni at all with his lingam, and then all of a sudden when she least expects it… Well, use your imagination. An accomplished tantric man won't use the same pattern of stroking and lingering twice in a row. There are lots of ways to play the game.
I won't tell you how to play the game. It is the principles of practice we are after that tap into the natural ability of the nervous system to bring ecstatic energy ever higher in the body.
The important thing in using the holdback method is for the man to pull out in time and give himself adequate time to recharge and increase his staying power. In the beginning this means relaxing outside the yoni for a while and not rushing back in as soon as the lingam has been out for a few seconds. In the beginning, it is all about building up staying power in the man, and this is done by stroking inside preorgasmically and stopping outside, over and over again. This practice can immediately level the playing field between the man and woman in sexual relations.
Everyone knows that the woman is superior to the man in the sex act, and in other things as well. Nature has built her to be biologically superior in sexual relations. The survival of the human race depends on it. She will have the semen no matter what. She does not even have to try. Her beauty calls the semen from the man on sight. Her curves, her lips, her eyes, all call the semen out.
Hundreds of years ago the great reviver of yoga in India, Shankara, said, "Even the greatest yogi cannot gaze into the eyes of a beautiful woman without having his seed jump."
With a knowledge of the holdback method we can balance sexual relations to the benefit of both the man and the woman. Over time, the man's staying power becomes very great, even from the beginning of a lovemaking session. A change occurs gradually in his sexual biology as a result of using the holdback method. This brings freedom to both partners in lovemaking, and solves the challenge of sex that Shankara pointed out.
As we progress with the holdback method we discover that we are on a new path in our sexual relations. It involves longer sex, which is a boon to both the man and the woman. But with the holdback method we get much more than length. We get height, which is the greatest payoff.
What do we mean by height? As the man goes through the cycles of stroking and holding back, a stairway of rising ecstasy is being climbed. Of course, the woman is not inert in this process. She is active every step of the way -- coaxing her man when he is in her, and becoming more aroused with anticipation each time he lingers near her entrance. There is stimulation, and then pause, more stimulation and then pause, and so on. With each cycle the pleasure rises. The essences of love, sexual energy, rise to permeate the bodies of the two in lovemaking. Together they go up the stairs of ecstasy being created by the repeating cycles of stimulation and pauses. It is a stairway to heaven.
The holdback method is also called the "valley orgasm" method. The partners go up the side of the mountain of stimulation toward genital orgasm. Then they pause before they get there and slowly dip into a valley of pleasure higher than where they started. Then they go up with stimulation toward genital orgasm again, stopping before they get there, and dip back into a valley of pleasure again, this one higher than the first. And then they do it again, and again, and again. The mountains and valleys get higher and higher. In the end, the lovers are permeated with sexual essences, gone into a bliss state akin to deep meditation.
This is how sexual relations are turned into yoga practice.
So, that is an overview of the holdback method. This is not a practice you are supposed to do for so many minutes twice a day. It is for doing in your normal love life, whatever that may be. Maybe sex is not of much interest to you. Then you won't need any of this. It is here for those who need it, and not here to promote more sex. What we want to promote is more advanced yoga practices. Tantric sex is only one aspect of a growing array of tools we have to purify and open our nervous system to higher experiences of the divine within us.
Next we will talk about getting a better handle on male orgasm. It is not likely that knowing the holdback method alone will be enough for all men to stay in front of orgasm right from the beginning, even with a great desire to do it. It is not an easy thing to master. It takes some special self-training.
So, more help is on the way for that.
The guru is in you.
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Note: For detailed instructions on the holdback method in relation to the broad scope of yoga practices and the enlightenment process, see the AYP Tantra book, and AYP Plus.
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