Tantra Yoga is unity by controlling sexual energy. When you consider the main Indian Yoga styles, Tantra Yoga is probably the most controversial of them all. So what is the problem? Is it our “sexual hang-ups” or is it something more? What is the origin of Tantra Yoga? Is it all linked to the Kama Sutra or is there more to it?
Since Tantra Yoga uses many components of the classical Yoga styles such as mudras, pranayama, asanas, meditation, Bhakti, Yantra, and Kundalini, there are many similarities to other forms of Yoga practice. Some Yogis say that Tantra Yoga is the hardest Yoga to define, but there is a fundamental difference.
The major difference is Tantra Yoga accepts and embraces the power of “desire.” Tantra Yogis are not trained to avoid desires that arouse the senses. This is a stark contrast from the many other forms of Yoga, which train their students to renounce desire. This is the foundation of the division between Tantra Yoga and the other classical Indian styles.
The origins of Tantra Yoga and the Kama Sutra date back to the Fourth Century A.D. The author of the Kama Sutra was Vatsyayana Mallanaga, who is somewhat of a mystery in the history books. There are no other traces of him to be found. He did write the world’s most famous sex manual to date.
Northern India seems to be the birth place of Tantra Yoga and it appears to have migrated further north to Tibet, and China, before going global. Many contemporary Tantra Yogis practice Tantra Yoga of Tibetan or Indian origin. Tantra Yoga practitioners focus on the opposites and dualities within the universe such as, male and female, Shiva and Shakti, or Yin and Yang.
At different points in time, ritual Tantric sex has been considered common place within certain Tantra followings. However, it is not as common place as some might think. There is also a common belief that Tantric sex is always intentionally prolonged. This is not always the case and sometimes Tantric sex takes it own natural course.
Lastly, it should be noted that the Kama Sutra might have been considered a “racy classic” at the time of its writing, and during conservative points in history. However, by today’s standards, the Kama Sutra would offend the masses much less. Some of the entertainment, at this point in time, has managed to make the public more callous than we should naturally be. Entertainment of the present day is sometimes comparable to that of the Roman coliseums in the past.
Tantra Yoga is a good example of the cycles and evolutions of morality within human history. Whether we think Tantra Yoga and the Kama Sutra are right or wrong, the current moral code will change with time, but we may not live long enough to see it.
© Copyright 2006 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
Paul Jerard is director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He’s a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches that along with fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students who want to be a teacher.