She magnetized him with her sweet sensuality ...
He electrified her with his radiant presence ...
They got lost in one another
Riding the wave of orgasmic bliss
As their hearts merged, they disappeared into l ight
Only pure love remained...
What is Tantra...
Path of the Goddess...Yoga of Love .. Mother of Yogas... Liberation Through Expansion..Weaving... Science of expanding consciousness...The sexual yoga....Attaining Transcendence Through Cultivating Sexual energy........Transcending all Limitations....Honoring the body...Earth/Heart centered....Holistic...
All Embracing... Surrender toLOVE
To define Tantra is trying to use the limited mind to define the unlimited. If Tantra was a temple, the 'definitions' above would open windows to see the look inside from different angles, yet only being inside the temple would allow you to experience it in it's full magnificence.
Let's open some of the windows and look at some of the aspects of tantra:
History of Tantra
Tantra is believed to be once universal, worldwide pursued philosophical outlook of life, the oldest single source of knowledge, concerning the energies of the Mind/Body/Spirit/Soul complex. Archaeological discoveries reveal Tantric evidence as much as twenty five thousand years ago. It seems Tantra has always existed as long as people wondered about the mystery of human (and all) existence. The sacred act of Hieros Gamos - the natural sexual union between man and woman through which each became spiritually whole..(once openly acknowledged and exhibited, later, in times of oppression, secretly treasured for the 'initiates'), seem to have played a key importance in all ancient 'tantric' cultures.
Although Tantra by it's Sanskrit name (Tanoti=to expand, Trayati=to liberate) has been associated with practices of ancient India and Tibet, symbols of the Tantric heritage can be found in every culture (eg Stone Age cave paintings, Egyptian secrets of the 'Ankh', Chinese Taoism, alchemy of medieval Europe...even all the major religions seem to have had it's internal 'left-handed' off-streams where the Goddess/female/sexual energy/sexual union was honored as the means of reaching the ultimate union with the Divine. There are valid reasons to speculate that divinity of Jesus was a direct result of a Tantric union with his beloved consort Mary Magdalene and played an important part in Buddha's enlightenment (note his famous proclamation: "Buddhatvam - yosidyonisamsritam- Enlightenment resides in sexual parts of women...").
It seems that Tantra flourished most in 'right-brained' matriarchal or egalitarian cultures, where visual symbols and oral transmission predominated over written word. Implementing of alphabet, rapid spread and favoring of written language over visual symbols and spoken word would gradually shift the culture consciousness into the left brain and thus suppress all 'female' values. We are living in an exciting age where visual phenomena is re-emerging (paradoxically so through the creation of left brained technology) and with it a new egalitarian vision of culture. Women are finding ways of coming back in their power, both sexes are rebelling and releasing themselves from their 'traditional' roles, finding delight, empowerment and more wholeness in this expanded way of living. With merging and evolving of male and female values, Tantra is finally finding it's way back, gaining more and more interest among many and with it our hope for a more balanced, heart-centered world.
Yoga of Love, The Sexual Path
Tantra is sometimes being called the 'Sexual Yoga'. This, however, this may be misleading. Tantra is not a yoga of sex. Sexual energy is in Tantra used as a vehicle for consciousness, as a tool of expansion. This powerful, sacred force is treated with utmost reverence.
The Sanskrit word Yoga means union. Sexual energy, the strongest force in universe, the energy of creation, is the most powerful force of spiritual transformation. Love, the basic wave from which everything is created, is sexual energy transformed. Sexual union between a loving couple (Maithuna) is viewed as the highest congress bringing the human to his divine origin: Tantric lovers use exchange of loving energies in lovemaking (sexual union) in order to reach loving union with one another, the Beloved (Soul, the higher self), and ultimately, the whole existence (Cosmic Union). Love is at the beginning and end of this journey. Love is the vibration we are made of, love is what keeps the Universe holding together, love is God/dess. It really is THAT simple.
Mother of Yogas
Tantra has given birth to many forms of yoga (spiritual practices seeking union). You can imagine her as a magnificent tree sprouting her branches in many directions, each branch a little different (fitting certain conditions, certain temperaments). Some are leaning closer to Earth (fueled by Shakti energy :more 'feminine' approaches, eg dance) some reaching high to the sky ('masculine, Shiva approach, eg sitting meditation) yet all coming from the same rooted trunk.
I like to sometimes imagine Tantra as a mother hen, holding all her chicks under her wings...Yes, everything in the universe, physical and non-physical, can be explained in tantric terms.
Path of Liberation
The world Tantra comes from the Sanskrit 'tanoti' - to expand and 'trayati' - to liberate. In Tantra we expand our consciousness beyond the boundaries of the ego driven limited mind, liberating ourselves from the imprisonment of our mental and emotional conditioning, from the confines of the physical level of being, beyond the perception of our five senses. Ultimately, Tantra is about transcending all the limitations, taboos, self-imposed boundaries, and all the dualities of life, coming to realization that ALLISONE (in perfect Divine order!).
Tantra is about saying YES! to life. When we come to the place beyond judgment, beyond right/wrong dichotomy, we are opening ourselves to a tremendous potential, expanding beyond our (self-perceived) limits, falling in love with everything and everyone in every moment, finding bliss both in happiness and in pain, literally living in a Namaste (recognizing the inseparable Divinity within and without).
Path of the Goddess
Tantra honors the Goddess and female energy in her many forms. (Please note: both female and male energies are equally important, they are the building blocks of everything we can perceive, coming from the inseparable unity). Men, don't feel neglected: There is a very practical reason for this. Shakti, the primal female (sexual, earth) energy is a dynamic energy of creation - energy behind all manifested universe. Our planet is a manifestation of female energy, so is nature, so are our bodies, our sexual energy, our emotions. Everything we can see and feel is the manifestation of Shakti. This simply is an energy that is abundantly available to us, that we can easily tune in. Earth-Shakti energy flows upwards, through our feet from the ground we stand on. Shakti is the embodiment of love.
Shiva - the primal male (solar, heavenly) energy is static energy of the unmanifested universe, formless. It is the pure consciousness, clarity, the 'dream' of creation. This energy flows from above. To grasp Shiva, we would literally have to go out of our bodies, beyond concept. We can perceive Shiva here on earth only thanks to Shakti. Shakti can 'seduce' Shiva to come down in the body, joining her for union, celebrating in the heart - the seat of the soul. This is the premise of enlightenment: male and female energies in a perfect balance.
As above, so below. The Goddess - whether a flesh and blood woman, mother Earth - nature, or our inner female, is the initiatress into enlightenment. Famous prophets have reached their God state by surrendering in Tantric union to their beloved mate. Ancient matriarchal and egalitarian societies knew this. They honored the Goddess and her creative energy in women, in the land their lived on, animals they tended to, in all surrounding nature. They danced in ecstasy and made love to feel her flow. Those societies, spiritually highly evolved, lived in peace and harmony. Collectivism was a natural expression of their consciousness.
Honoring the Goddess is very healing for our planet, in western 'consumer' culture particularly significant. We are just emerging from some 3000 years of Kali Yuga (age of Fire), where female energy was suppressed, dominated, abused.. The much needed shift of global consciousness from individualistic to collectivistic, caring, nurturing, all embracing values is a must for our survival. It is the premise of entering the Golden Age.
The process of birthing a new, heart centered humankind has an analogy in a human birth. The process may take some time, there are birthing pains, moments of desperation, emotions of anger, fear, pain emerging. The 'transition' is the ultimate stage of letting go: when a mother is close to pushing her baby out, she may feel like the intensity is beyond her limits, she may even think she's dying - yet it is only the ego at that moment that is dying, yelding to the magnificence of her soul to shine fully. Anyone who has seen a woman in transition knows that ultimate beauty emerging from that kind of surrender...
We, as humanity, are in such transition. As the collective ego in the process of surrender strives desperately to hold on, there is a perception of suffering coming from this strive for control (Numerous wars have been waged to control one another in some way). At the same time, the first magnificent rays of the soul shining through can be seen too! Remembering this will help us to get through the difficult times.
Tantra is often being interpreted as 'Weaving', or a 'Loom' because of it’s holistic approach, weaving together various areas of human knowledge in order to expand awareness in all states of consciousness. Weaving the sacred and the mundane, the light and the darkness, the pleasure and pain, the emotional highs and the lows, the rational and the intuitive, the old and the new etc....is also a part of the exquisite pattern weaved by the tantric loom. In Ipsalu Tantra you will find authentic practices from several highly evolved tantric cultures skilfully weaved with more contemporary tantric approaches, Pythagoras' sacred geometry with with latest scientific discoveries concerning mind, body and beyond, modern psychology with traditional mysticism, streamlined, focused yogic techniques with free-form intuitive movement and much much more....
Honoring the body
From Tantric view the physical body is simply an aspect of a soul that can be perceived by our senses, a form in which the soul (an immortal aspect of ourselves) can exist and operate in a physical world. The physical body a manifestation of Shakti energy - the Goddess. It's made of energy-light-consciousness in a dense form, inseparable from other universal energies. Of course, this Temple of the Soul is totally sacred, together with all the aspects associated with our physicality: the senses, feelings, emotions, sexuality. What other spiritual paths may look down at as 'lower nature' and painstakingly try to suppress is in Tantra being lovingly accepted, cherished, honored and celebrated as an expression of the Divine. This is a non-dual approach.
What ancient shamans, yogis, religious prophets and spiritual seers have known all along is being in our days verified by a conservative-nowadays progressive science: Duality is an illusion, separation is an illusion, the whole universe - whether manifested or abstract - is made of one ingredient: Consciousness - spun into the form by energy. In Tantra, this has been symbolized by Shakti and Shiva sitting in yub-yum, the perfect Divine union.
Enlightenment happens In a body, here on Earth, not in an abstract space. What happens during enlightenment, can be described in concrete physical terms (action of hormones, metabolism, spinal fluid electrical action in the brain etc). To experience enlightenment is to utilize fully our human potential. To be here on Earth, fully present in the (bliss filled) body, and have an total access to the cosmic consciousness and use it to serve the humanity is the tantric ideal.
The heart is a central meeting point between Heaven (higher chakras, Shiva descending) and Earth (Lower chakras, Shakti ascending). This is a place of Shiva and Shakti dancing in their ecstatic union. While many spiritual paths focus on the mind, in Tantra, opening of the heart, finding our inner Beloved, is a key point of transformation. When we united with the Divine, our heart knows no boundaries, we are bathed in unconditional love. Love is sex energy transformed. Love is our essence.
The Whole Rainbow
Just as there are many different temperaments so Tantra can be approached from various points of view (perhaps to find resonance with one's personality, karmic path or individual sense of guidance).
White Tantra is primarily concerned with meditative practices and utilizes the power of sexual energy without the need of sexual physical contact with another. Sexual energy is being either circulated within the individual or transformed between two (or more) individuals on the level of their energy bodies. Yogi Bhajan's Kundalini Yoga contains variety of white tantric exercises. Large portion of Tibetan tantric Buddhism translates it's teachings symbolically (eg during the Kalachakra ritual you are to ingest a mixture of red and white liquid that symbolizes the blood and semen), and integrates it withing solo meditations. White tantric practices would often be sought by Dakhsini Marga (right handed) yogis, wishing to remain celibate.
Red Tantra primarily focuses on sexual practice, the domain of Vama Marga (left handed path). This is an aspects that makes Tantra so attractive to the sexually repressed, spiritually starved western society. While Maithuna (the sexual union) is considered the highest form of tantric practice, it can be easily misinterpreted. The second chakra is a place, where one can get lost. In an attempt to heal sexual repression, red tantric group practices may deteriorate into orgies (often with mind altering substances), where sexual pleasure and self-gratification overshadows the spiritual intent of self-relization. Tantra is a path of enlightenment: sexual liberation is an important pre-requisite, but do not get sold for less.
Pink Tantra would be considered a median, a loving integration of the physical and energetic. Approaching lovemaking from the heart, reverently recognizing and honoring God-Goddess in one another, honoring the physical dimension to reach beyond, surrendering the ego as the beloved disciple of the soul, that's what pink tantrikas strive for. Ipsalu Tantra falls to this category.
Black Tantra utilizes the subconscious creative power, that can be accessed during sexual arousal. Black magic comes from the third chakra (ruled by ego) and does not have to do much with heart or seeking God.
Using sex magic to manipulate others creates powerful karmic consequences and it's not recommended as a fast way for enlightenment. Using orgasmic energy to surrender and become an instrument of the Divine/ allow Divine guidance fully unfold in your life is much more auspicious.
Heart Magic. Sex magic may help you manifest your desires but is really in your best interest? When your heart is open, the existence is taking care of your needs in the best possible way and for benefit of all. Soul intentions are manifested almost instantly. There's nothing more magical then being in a state of surrender (in love with your partner - symbol of the Divine), with your heart wide open, pulsing with the infinite.
Ipsalu is a sanskrit term for transcending (going beyond) desire, to the point of full completion. Love, joy, bliss...those are aspects of being in present.. Desires take you out of the present. When you are in the moment, everything is perfect. As the limited ego yields to the magnificence of the soul, ego desires all but crumble under the great manifesting power of soul intentions.
Ipsalu Tantra is rather unique within the wide variety of Tantric paths, distinguished by it's comprehensive 'holistic' approach. Ipsalu is an accelerated path towards mastery of your sexual, emotional, physical and mental energies. Ipsalu skillfully delivers ancient Tantric practices into the context of life and evolutionary stage of a contemporary western tantrika. It is based on a 'marriage' of the ancient science of Tantric Kriya Yoga (Babaji Nagaraj) with more contemporary work of Osho, weaving in knowledge from other age old and more recent sources. What perhaps distinguishes this path is it's focus on realizing our magnificence, attention to emotional clearing and yogic techniques for safely activating our kundalini (cosmic consciousness)
The Ipsalu Formula (ASATE) is a specifically choreographed sequence of techniques or processes to evoke the experience of Bliss within the practitioner is a playful, yet deeply transformative approach towards realizing your Divinity.
The 'spine' (quite literally) of Ipsalu Tantra is the Cosmic Cobra Breath, a powerful pranayama, a precious gift to humankind from Mahavatar Babaji Nagaraj (sanskrit Naga = snake, Raj = king)*** This ancient breath technique was long held secret and only been transmitted orally (originally from guru to disciple) because of it's great power to awaken the 'sleeping serpent' (kundalini). Cobra Breath pulls Shakti (magnetic, sexual) energy into the spine, changing electromagnetic properties of the cerebrospinal fluid, allowing kundalini to move up. As the brain receives this magnetized fluid, the dormant brain cells awaken and the nervous system is transformed, accessing higher consciousness.
Four levels of Cobra Breath are taght by Tantrika International, each opening a certain energy channel and certain chakras, The sequence of opening is such that the nervous system accommodates this transfomation gradually, allowing safe kundalini activation.
Interested? The ideal way to learn Cobra Breath is in a Level 1 weekend intensive (those are offered internationally, please check schedule on www.tantrabliss.com). If that's not possible, it can be received through Mentor sessions within the Tantrabliss Practicum)
Shakti is a certified Ipsalu Tantra teacher. She deeply believes in and honors this ingenious system of transformation, that can produce profound changes in a very short time. Ipsalu Tantra has been at the core of her diverse work and her own Ipsalu Tantra Kriya Yoga practice is source of continuous joy and inspiration.