The number one question I get as a Tantra Teacher is "WTF is Tantra?" This is a valid question. Most of us have never heard of this ancient spiritual path, let alone know how to explain it! And if you have heard of it, you probably think it has something to do with sex! This is also valid. I'm Lona, and I'm a Tantra Teacher who teaches workshops at Mystic Movement, and I want to dispel the myths of Tantra for you today!
So, what is it? Well, that's a hard question to answer. That's because Tantra describes a state of mind in which you are so utterly in the present moment that you are open to the bliss that is always available to you. This is a loaded sentence indeed. What makes it so elusive to describe is that state you enter into is unique to the person. So, I might describe the experience one way, and another person could describe it totally different. We are both correct. Also, people get different things from Tantra. Some use it as a path to enlightenment. Some as a path to happiness. Some as a tool for better sex and relationships. Some to discover themselves. These are all correct.
I guess I can give you my definition. Tantra is the bliss of the present moment, if you choose to open to it. What is bliss? To me it's more like an emotion than a feeling. Feelings are like the appetizer to an emotion. An emotion has the power to take over your whole body. Feelings, not so much. But bliss is also beyond an emotion. It can become a state of being that is bubbling over into joy, peace, ecstasy, love! It is total acceptance of all that is, just as it is. And not only acceptance, also love for it! Utter love and peace with the now that is pleasurable and centering. Does this sound like fun? You could experience a taste of this in a workshop!
I could go on for days about the words to describe what Tantra is, but truly you'll never understand until you feel it for yourself! That's why in the workshops I don't just talk, it's almost all exercises that bring you more in alignment with that Tantric state. The body is the key in Tantra. Let's say you are in a workshop called "Open Your Heart" (this is one of my absolute favorites). We will work to open the physical space of the heart with partner stretches. We will work on diving into gratitude. We will begin to open the heart with shared hugs that are slow and tap into the energy of the hug, not just the physical act of it. We will learn how to feel the energy of the heart and open to it. And we could even practice pouring the energy of our hearts into the hearts of others. By the end of this workshop maybe you forgot everything I said, but you'll remember the feelings in your body. This is Tantra.
So, why do most people think Tantra is about sex, if they know anything about it at all? This is a symptom of western culture. Tantra comes from the East, like India, China, Tibet, Nepal, and others. And in the 20th century, after colonialization had destroyed much of the Eastern way of life, India particularly started a campaign to bring their philosophical and enlightenment teachings to the West. The idea was that if Westerners understood the rich culture and traditions, they would be less likely to destroy them again. It was a valiant effort and is the reason most of the Tantra teachings (and Buddhist, and others) have stretched so far into the West.
But Tantra is unique. We don't just meditate and talk about some parts of the bodily experience. We fully accept all parts of this incredible body. Including sex. Where many spiritual and religious teachings end, is where Tantra decided to dive deeper in. Tantra is often seen as the one philosophy that went into the taboos of the world for spiritual growth. So, yes, Tantra talks about sex. But it is not the main theme. I believe one of the main themes is learning how to find the bliss of the present moment, then taking that to any part of your life, including sex. In Tantra, sex is just one of the many tools for spiritual expansion. It's one of my favorites, too. But it is not everything. However, when these teachings reached the West, some people really hung on to the sexual side only. They learned how to have incredible, transformative sex and that's all they ever talked about. I'm here to tell you that it's ok to be interested in that side of Tantra, but that there is so much more available!
Join one of my workshops to find out for yourself. In the workshops I might talk about sex sometimes, but we never have sexual contact. The workshops are designed to be accessible to everyone. They are mainly designed to bring you closer to the bliss of the present moment. And you always leave with exercises to take home with you to practice and go deeper. One Tantra workshop probably won't change your life. But it could teach you the skills to go deeper into your own practice and you could find deep healing and bliss from that expansion. Tantra is a lifelong practice that can be practiced by anyone regardless of religion, body type, ability, career, or relationship status. Tantra is for everyone! Could you be for Tantra?
(This article was written by a guest writer, Lona of Make Space For Infinity LLC. Check out her page on the Mystic Movement website, or her website www.makespaceforinfinity.com)