Contrary to popular belief, tantra is not just a sexual practice, but rather a system of yoga that accepts all: feminine and masculine, light and shadow. There is no good or bad in tantra; there just is. It is a practice of full acceptance and embodiment. The goal of tantra is to merge Shiva (masculine energy) and Shakti (feminine energy). Shiva is where all knowledge comes from, while Shakti is the force of manifestation.
"When they separate, duality begins," explains Sarah Platt-Finger, co-founder of ISHTA Yoga, who co-led a recent workshop on tantra at Yoga Journal Live with her husband, Alan Finger. "When they merge, there is oneness, also known as samadhi. This is the state beyond time, shape, form, and identity. It is the state of yoga."
See also The Truth About Tantra
Understanding Shiva and Shakti
Whether we identify as male or female, we all have Shiva and Shakti energy within us. Shiva is located at the top of our heads (crown chakra), while Shakti is located in the base of our spines (root chakra). "When Shakti moves up the body from orgasm, Shakti moves back to Shiva and we access insight, inspiration, and universal intelligence," Platt-Finger explains.
Tantra teaches us how to direct our sexual energy to connect with Brahma, or universal source energy. If everyone knew how to control this energy and channel it into creativity and higher evolvement, we might not have so much sexual dysfunction in our society. As tantra grows in popularity, it may help heal the masculine and feminine energies that we all encounter within us and in the world around us.
See also 3 Tantra Techniques for Deeper Love
This tantric breathing practice, which Platt-Finger taught at Yoga Journal Live, can help move Shakti energy up to merge with Shiva to help you achieve oneness.