Tantra, the ancient roots of modern Yoga

Updated: Jul 17


There is a big chance, that the Yoga you have been practicing, whatever form it might be, has it’s roots in Tantra. The Yoga that we see in the world today, is profoundly influenced by Tantra, but has lost its connection to their own roots and became a tradition that got very much misunderstood. 


What does Yoga has to do with Tantra?

 

Before answering this question, it is good to know what you are referring to when you say Yoga. When the term Yoga is mentioned, many people think about bending and stretching into different postures and almost any Yoga studio you walk into today will offer a variety of classes based upon different postures/asanas and maybe some breathing techniques. 


Yoga has gotten very popular in the west due to its numerous health benefits and increased flexibility, stress-relief, detoxification of the body, and injury prevention or recovery. There are many styles of Yoga that we see in the world today, depending on the style of the Yoga class, it can have a focus on physical fitness, or a more calm approach for rejuvenation and relaxation.


Almost all of styles have their origin in Hatha-Yoga, which traces itself back to the well-known Saiva Tantric guru, Matsyendra, who presented it as a complete spiritual path. Unfortunately, the Haha-Yoga that we see today has mostly lost its connection with the original approach. Rarely we find a class that still offers a more meditative approach to Yoga, incorporating some of it’s traditional background.

Yoga, the path of union to liberation. 


When we go back to the roots of Yoga, we discover that Yoga is a comprehensive set of psycho-physical practises, mostly focussing on meditation. The practices are meant to integrate body, mind and spirt with the aim of revealing moksha; liberation, enlightenment. Freedom from the ego and conscious recognition of one’s true divine nature.


Yoga in this form, started around the time of the Buddha and around one thousand years later Tantra integrated the existing body of yogic teachings and expanded the practice with hundred new techniques, more complicated pranayamas, use of different mantras, profound visualisation practices, extra yogic asanas plus sacred hand gestures, mudras and bhandas. These practices are used in combination with the activation of the different energy centres (chakras) within the body, all in service of activating and raising the spiritual energy called kundalini.


Hearing all of this it might activate an inner excitement within you as the Tantric approach and view of reality is fascinating! It brings forth some of the most powerful ideas and practices ever conceived in relation to human potential. Having a deep understanding about this profound Tantric vision that was traditionally thought in combination with the yogic practices will empower you within your own practice, it will bring you even more inspiration, motivation and dedication and it will keep you clear about your path so you can get the benefits of your input on all levels of your being!


Modern Yoga VS Traditional Hatha-Yoga


Whenever we go to a modern Yoga class today, we rarely hear about these fascinating practices. Where can we learn these ground-breaking techniques? Where can we find a teacher with a heart devoted to liberation?


Modern Yoga, doesn’t require anyone to practice for spiritual awakening, but it can definitely be used for that purpose!


The modern yoga that we see, can be aligned with its ancient roots, or not. It all comes down the the attitude and intention which we practice with.


Personally I have joined modern yoga classes, with no focus on spirituality and it was clearly more of a gymnastic work-out, but I managed to shift my own inner state and turn it into a spiritual practice. During such classes I evoke my own devotion, I try to cultivate awareness a deeper awareness of each asana and what is happening inside my body and mind as much as possible (even tho sometimes the practice really goes too fast and it seems impossible!)


Still, the question is, would you rather practice something that has proven its worth while being practiced for thousands of years, or do you prefer to pioneer with trial and error using newly made up practices from the last decades? 


It doesn’t mean that the traditional style of Haha-Yoga is better than the new Yoga styles, but only time will tell if a new practice will become a lasting part of a living spiritual tradition.


Tantric Hatha-Yoga


Tantric Hatha Yoga has returned it’s practice to its roots emphasising awareness and meditation, refining your perception of the subtle energy field and activates the chakras using specific asanas, bhandas, mudras and pranayamas. In more advanced stages you will use mental concentration techniques, visualisations, bija mantras and practices to activate kundalini Shakti. 


The practice of Tantric Hatha-Yoga has just like modern Yoga, numerous health benefits. The increased flexibility, rejuvenation and relaxation that come with doing the practice are not the goal but just additional benefits. Many practicing this form of Yoga would say that the healing approach of Tantric Hatha-Yoga goes even deeper as it doesn’t only work with the physical body. According to the Tantra Yoga system, the anatomy of the human structure doesn’t stop at the physical level. Its teachings present us a profound view of more subtle anatomy of which the energy body, emotional body, mental body and the body of bliss (the koshas) are addressed. 


Taking these bodies into account during the sadhana (spiritual practice) Tantric Hatha-Yoga brings healing, purification, balance and harmony on all these different layers of your being while also inviting you on a spiritual journey to connect with the depth of your true Self and open the door to higher states of consciousness. 


This way the practice of Tantric Hatha Yoga becomes a mysterious journey of self-discovery that might take you to places that go beyond your imagination.


If you are ready for a journey within leave your e-mail address below! I will soon record a Tantric hatha Yoga class that will help you to get you started from the comfort of your own home, and off course, all costs on me, so you can join for free!

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