One of the ways I like to explain what my understanding of “Tantra” is, is to say it is a “fruit”. The word fruit is not really a definition, is it? So what do you know about something that is a “fruit”? Well the answer is very simple: You need to taste it. To experience it, if you don’t want to stay in academia. (Funfact: In China for example a tomato is considered a fruit.)
However Tantra in your daily life can serve a purpose, just like you could say a fruit is nourishing, my teacher said “Tantra is the rapid way to freedom”. That is one side of the coin: the practical side.
The Tantra-Yoga Classes we offer at bay yoga are an aspect of this practical freedom, they cure the body from ailment, they straighten out the emotion, and just deeply relax your whole self. They make you supple and free to use your body effortlessly, much like a well cared for bicycle will get you anywhere, a healthy body can do the same.
But where would you go with this freedom? What is the meaning of life? That is where metaphysical and classical definitions of Tantra as a philosophy of life come in. The question who we are in this universe and what we can and cannot do, what we want and do not want to do these are all questions where it gets mystical: The other side of the coin of Tantra.
How does Tantra Yoga integrate freedom into our daily life?
In our western culture we usually see things as tools to achieve something. This supplement is good for my liver health, that thing is great for scrubbing the floor and so on. It is utilitarian in its core, or linear, since there is always a cause and effect relation.
Tantra yoga however is different, it is non-linear, progressing in jumps and leaps - going back and forth. You cannot divide the tantric lifestyle into smaller and smaller parts to understand its holism. It is much like cooking. Your soup might taste like nothing, but then you add a pinch of salt and suddenly it becomes a tasteful dish warming body and soul. The ingredients for a tantric are practices we can do with our minds and bodies and we combine them into a big whole.
So if you come to our Asana classes, nice! But also do some breathing practice, some mystic reading, massage - don’t cherry pick. Trust in the whole lifestyle, it will carry you to new shores eventually. And as we pursue this path our experience becomes rather an unlearning of old limiting behaviours and conditioning than a learning experience in the modern sense.
The first aspect of this lifelong journey is always our body, this is where long-term memories are stored as posture, as balance. Body language is a fitting term in this matter! So the first step is to allow the body to reset, to relax so deeply that we loose a sense of the body alltogether. This is what the Tantra Yoga Classes at BayYoga are all about: Culturing a sense of relaxation that is deeper than you are used to. People coming to this class are arrogantly promised “the best Savasanna” ever!
How does Tantric Yoga relax the body?
Asanas are done slowly but steadily, their order follows a precise structure and direction, much like traditional massage frameworks. We start from the back of the feet up to the head and go down again through the front of the body. A specific deep chest breathing is incorporated throughout the whole practice to expand the capacity of the lungs and facilitate meditation. Over time we learn to meditate with the whole body, to meditate while the body is doing the Asanas by itself.
This practice is also called the Tri-Dosha-Balancing series, because it is developed with the Ayurvedic science in mind to balance our dosas, or constituent energies in the body.
But yet again, all of it is just “fruit” you have to experience it with your sixth sense to fully understand it, that is experience it through your body.
How the "best Savasanna ever" looks like, in Ilya's Tantra-Yoga Workshop in Berlin 2016.
November to January Tantric Yoga Classes are offered at bay yoga every Friday at 5.45 and Sunday at 6:45. Join in for “the best Savasanna ever”. For any questions contact Ilya our resident teacher for the season.