Definition - What does Tantra Yoga mean?
Tantra yoga is a type of yoga that employs various rituals to study the universe through the human microcosm. From the Sanskrit “leading principle” or “woven together,” tantra yoga seeks to balance - not renounce - human instincts in an attempt to reach enlightenment. Tantra's rituals encourage its participants to build up kundalini energy in the top chakras so it “spills from the top.”
Some common tantra yoga rituals include:
- Breathing exercises
- Physical and ritual cleaning
- Visualization of deities
Yogapedia explains Tantra Yoga
Tantra yoga originates from a worship of the Hindu deities that represent the dynamic and static principles of the universe: Shakti (dynamic, creative, feminine) and Shiva (static, destructive, masculine). Tantra yoga practitioners seek to comprehend the continual play between these principles.
Since the nineteenth century, tantra yoga has become widely associated in the West with “tantric sex,” in which sexual acts and spirituality are linked and orgasm is de-centered. The sexual revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s further popularized the concept as a technique for “better sex.” Popular women’s magazines, for instance, promote “tantric positions” that will improve partners’ sexual experiences and intimacy. Some see this as a gross appropriation and misinterpretation that distorts or even ignores the spiritual aims of the practice, while others view it as simply another interpretation.