Tantra Yoga, the Hatha Yoga of Tantra
Since the end of the 19th century, what is now called yoga was transferred from India to the West. Physical yoga is actually only a part of a very complex structure of yoga, which has very different - not only physical - characteristics. However, the following explanation is aimed at physical yoga, which is actually called Hatha Yoga.
There seem to be many different styles of yoga, if you want to believe what's on offer in the western world. Some of these styles actually descend from authentic Indian yoga schools. However, many were also invented or adapted to western needs. For really interested seekers, two things are important here:
- Does the corresponding style go beyond some kind of "Indian gymnastics"?
- And if so... What is the real background and intent of these practices?
Most - not all (!) - lines of yoga that we know in the West have an ascetic background. The YogiNis, who often exercise this practice for several hours a day, are primarily concerned not to be distracted by the body, its desires and drives in their spiritual practice. I call this the ascetic yoga.
On the other hand, there are the yoga schools, which develop and open the senses. This is commonly called tantric yoga. The style I practice and teach falls into the second category.
All yoga postures have an effect on the body's endocrine system. Ascetic YogiNis first activate the endocrine glands in the brain, especially the pituitary gland, which governs all other endocrine glands. If, for example, the sex hormones are activated later, it happens under the aegis of the pituitary gland. This causes practitioners to be almost unaware of this activation. Roughly speaking, the inverted yoga postures are used to activate the endocrine glands in the head, the lying postures for the middle area such as the (reactivation of) the thymus gland, the sitting postures for the endocrine glands of the lower body region, and the standing postures to harmonize all of them. Ascetic yoga therefore begins its practice sequences with the inverted asanas and ends with the standing ones. In tantric yoga, the opposite is done. Ascetic YogiNis hardly notice the energies and physical effects of the lower regions, while tantrics in yoga feel very precisely how the body works and participates in spirituality.
But there are other differences:
- In tantric yoga one begins with the left side of the body instead of the right side of the body as in ascetic yoga.
- Tantra yoga uses all possibilities to achieve a specific goal. For example, mantra, mudra and yantra are combined with asana practice to enhance the effects.
- The effect on the energy flows and the energy centers (chakras) is central to tantra yoga in addition to the physical aspects (muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments...).
Tantric yoga can be practiced on its own to keep the body fit for everyday life, but it can also be used to support advanced meditations - and everything in between. It also helps to use sexuality in a spiritual way.
I give weekend workshops and ongoing courses in tantra yoga, but also in my tantra workshops, which focus on meditation, energy work and erotic tantra, the day begins with physical yoga. The dates of my yoga classes can be seen in the calendar.