Mention the word “Tantra,” and images of pretzel-like sexual positions often come to mind. The kinky reputation perhaps came about in 1990, when the musician Sting famously bragged about his seven-hour Tantric-sex sessions. While it’s true that a Tantra practice can include sex, the experience is actually a much deeper and more intimate connection than its wild reputation might imply, and the path can be taken outside the bedroom, too. Indeed, you can use Tantra Yoga to help you cultivate power as well as synergy, clarity, and confidence in every area of your life, whether your goal is to climb a career ladder, improve your relationships, or experience more joy in general.
The yoga that most of us are familiar with has its origins in Tantra. A major feature in the Tantric approach to yoga is the principle of shakti, which means “power” or “capacity.” According to Tantric philosophy, there is no energy in the world that is not in our bodies, and there is no energy in our bodies that is not in the world. According to Rod Stryker, founder of ParaYoga and one of the preeminent yoga, Tantra, and meditation teachers in the United States, you can embody shakti by mastering the energy in the body through many paths—asana, mantra (sound combined with feeling to protect and lead the mind), mudra (hand expressions of the heart), bandha (body locks in different locations, such as the chin, abdomen, and perineum), chakras (seven primary energy centers of the body), and breath. In doing so, you cultivate forces that include the power to know what decisions to make; the power of contentment; awareness of the highest truth; limitless willpower to achieve anything the mind is set on; and spontaneous right action. In other words, through Tantra, you can feel whole, make the right decision, and take action at the right time, in the right way, every time. “Embodying even a fraction of these forces empowers you to improve the quality of your life,” says Stryker. “Students of Tantra use the practice to reach their goals. They shift relationships and prosper in their careers. Their income levels increase, and even sex becomes more fulfilling.”
Tracee Stanley, a senior student of Stryker’s and a teacher of Tantra based in Los Angeles, turned to Tantra Yoga in 2001. A few years later, she used the practice to heal from a betrayal and broken heart. “Tantra is the way to overcome obstacles in the fastest way possible,” Stanley says. “At the heart of it, Tantra is the skillful use of energy. It gives us the tools to explore our inner energetic landscape and make meaningful transitions.”
Stryker designed the following all-levels sequence to help yogis experience the Tantra Yoga approach and its benefits. The sequence builds fire, energy, and power at the navel center—the third chakra, which is located at the solar plexus and is the seat of potency, vitality, courage, strength, and will—and moves it through each of the other chakras. The energy blossoms fully at the seventh, or crown chakra. The sequence culminates with a mudra and meditation that help you experience the full flowering of energy. By adding the Ram mantra, which cultivates the transformative power of fire or light, and the Tadaka Mudra (which translates as “empty lakebed”) at specific moments in the sequence, shakti can be awakened, according to Stryker. “You can experience more faith and less fear in general,” he says. “Instead of feeling anxious, you can enjoy increased confidence in all aspects of your life. It’s through the Tantra practice that these things really start to unfold.”
Read more about The Seven Chakras