Tantric Yoga

 

Tantric Yoga

There are a number of different definitions of Tantric Yoga, and they are not always mutually consistent. Robert Brown notes that the term tantrism is a construction of western scholarship, not a concept that comes from the religious system itself. This makes its independence questionable though it is generally recognized by Tantrics as different from the Vedic tradition.

David Gordon White suggests that the key principle of Tantric Yoga is that the universe we experience is the concrete manifestation of the divine energy that creates and maintains it: Tantric Yoga practice seeks to contact and channel that energy within the human microcosm by means of ritual in order to achieve creativity and freedom.

Tantric Yoga

Rather than a single coherent system, Tantric Yoga is an accumulation of practices and ideas, characterized by ritual that seeks to access the supra-mundane through the mundane, identifying the microcosm with the macrocosm. The Tantric practitioner seeks to use prana, an energy that flows through the universe (including one's own body) to attain goals that may be spiritual, material or both. Most practitioners of tantra consider mystical experience imperative. Some versions of Tantric Yoga require the guidance of a guru.

Tantric Yoga

Tantric Yoga

Long training is generally required to master Tantric Yoga methods, into which pupils are typically initiated by a guru. Yoga, including breathing techniques and postures (asana), is employed to subject the body to the control of the will. Mudras, or gestures, mantras or syllables, words and phrases, mandalas and yantras, symbolic diagrams of the forces at work in the universe, are all used as aids for meditation and for the achievement of spiritual and magical power.

During meditation the initiate identifies with any of the numerous Hindu gods and goddesses, visualizes them and internalises them, a process likened to sexual courtship and consummation. The Tantrika, or tantric practitioner may use visualizations of deities, identifying with the deity so that the aspirant "becomes" the Ishta-deva or meditational deity.

Tantric Yoga

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