Mention Tantra and most people will snigger and crack a joke about Sting. But there are those who believe that this ancient set of beliefs can bring much more into your life than laughter
For a practice that originated in India 7000 years ago, A lot of mistrust still surrounds Tantra. For many people it seems dark and mysterious and in the West it is almost exclusively associated with sex. In fact, there’s a lot more to it.
Tantra developed from the teachings of Shiva an enlightened mystic in India, who became the embodiment of the God of Love. His approach focuses on love and meditation, inspiring the harmonious union of male and female energies.
This century, research by Jung, Reich, Freud and Masters and Johnson, led to Omar Garrison publishing the Yoga of Sex, in 1964. Just in time for the “free love” sixties generation – the herald of a Tantric Renaissance? In the 70s and 80s, Osho enlightened philosopher, mystic and Tantric Master taught Tantra to his disciples world-wide. Sarita, an Osho student, now a Tantra adept, believes that the Tantric lifestyle will reach greater heights than ever before this millennium.
Tantra is a Sanskrit word meaning transformation. It is not a religion but uses techniques of expanding consciousness like meditation, so people can discover their own individual spirituality and lovers can see each other as divine beings. Its basic philosophy is “total acceptance of the self”, and “fully exploring pleasure and sensuality with awareness.”
“Once you understand the ecstasy of sex, you can understand what the mystics have been talking about – a greater orgasm, a cosmic orgasm,” says Osho.
Why the Bad Press?
The word Tantra usually engenders a certain amount of condemnation and distrust due to misunderstanding, ignorance and fear. This is partly due to the fact that Tantra is often taught in secret because it requires experiential practise to understand. Also a direct connection with a personal god is a threat to established religions.
Some spiritual leaders condemned Tantra and taught other paths to enlightenment, because as Sarita explains, “It takes a lot of intelligence and sensitivity to bring awareness to sex. Many spiritual masters thought it too difficult.” It’s hardly surprising, that centuries later man has a skewed view of sex.
There are four main approaches from Tibet, China and India respectively. The mixing of these has created confusion.
Tibetan Tantra focuses on death and transcendence of the physical plane. In China, Taoists use Tantra for health and longevity. Adepts control ejaculation to conserve their life energy.
The third stream, Tantra Yoga, from India, uses sexual energy to expand consciousness. Adepts are requested to avoid the potential emotional entanglements of love.
The Shivaistic approach also from India, is female oriented, celebrating sex and love. Osho took this approach and transmitted his life-affirmative, and conscious awareness Tantra to his disciples who included Sarita and Geho.
Ma Ananda Sarita (Sarita) and Swami Anand Geho (Geho) have spent over 20 years learning Tantric Meditation. They met in India in the Osho Ashram and have been partners since 1994. They have taught Tantra in India, spent the last eight years travelling in Europe together and have trained over a thousand individuals and couples. “The sharing of this path is simply an overflowing of our joy. We can’t help ourselves from sharing the good news.” Geho was drawn to Tantra, “by the meeting of sex and spirit, using love as the door to spiritual awakening”.
Sarita says, “I knew intuitively that there must be something more to love and sex.” They teach a blend of Shivaistic and Osho Tantra combined with a transmission Sarita received from an ancient Himalayan Tantric school.
They have a playful, light energy, which allows students to go deep. “People find themselves taking quantum leaps in consciousness.” Says Sarita. “The love they share with each other you can feel it just by being with them. That in itself is a transmission.” says Divyam, Level SixTantra student.
Intimacy, the Level 1 Tantra Training for Couples, is a five-day workshop with time for individual counselling, colour therapy or other holistic therapies. Around three hours a day is spent practising Tantric Lovemaking in bed.
The workshop involves group and private sharing sessions, ritual, dancing, massage, meditation and emotional release including exercises to release anger safely and resolve conflict with your partner.
Sarita and Geho respect the sanctity of the relationship and don’t ask people to have sex in the group room or get intimate with anyone they don’t know.
“I’d gone quite resistant beforehand and hoped I wouldn’t be asked any personal questions, but they were very respectful. I really appreciated that,” says Linden, Level One Tantra student.
The group room was a beautiful Tantra temple but each couple had their own sacred space. We were introduced to Tantra and the concept of soul mates. “Tantra is the science of turning ordinary lovers into soul mates,” says Osho.
An early morning wake up session was Dynamic Mediation, which involved chaotic breathing, catharsis and dance to break patterns in body and release locked in emotions.
Later we learned a caressing massage during which we whispered sweet words to our partner telling them how blessed and honoured we felt to be there with them.
Talking about sex became so natural and the space for sharing was very nurturing. There was time just to enjoy being together. My partner and I reached a higher level of intimacy and love. Our relationship was celebrated, supported and nurtured. I feel a sanctity in our relationship which was not so obvious before and our sex life has a new and exciting dimension.
There is no stereotypical Tantra couple and there are no prerequisites. Level One Tantra Training brings together people from different lifestyles and ages range from 19 – 75. There were couples in the bliss of a new relationship, or on the verge of break up, married for 20 years and more like brother and sister and recently wed – again.
Some couples had problems in their sex life, were disempowered by a repressive upbringing, or had goals like improving or even initiating their sex life, exploring the sacred with their partner, or simply juicing up married life.
Why is it Valuable for Couples?
Tantra “is a letting go of limitations, inhibitions, opening up to more happiness and fulfilment in sexuality and in relating with themselves and others,” says Sarita.
It gives support and nurturing to a relationship which counteracts everyday life.
“Tantra has brought a richness to this relationship which I haven’t know in other relationships, a breadth, an unknowness,” says Keerti.
Tantra gives tools and techniques and meditations couples can use at home like Tantric Meditation appointments to bring the sacred into their daily life.
Sarita says, “As far as we know Tantra is the only possible solution to the confusion couples get into in relating. We provide education about how to go into greater states of ecstasy and love and how to unfold the potential alone and together.”
“Tantra is such a celebration. It is a flesh and blood experience, allowing your spiritual journey to flower and blossom,” says Divyam.
“The workshop was amazing, I’ve been on a high ever since, telling everybody. I didn’t think I could fancy him after all this time, but we’re like teenagers now,” says Patsy, married to Emmanuel for 20 years. Tantra is for anyone seeking to explore their inner universe, fulfil their potential as a human being, or have love and creativity in their life.
With feedback like this, what are you waiting for?
Optional Box out: One Couple’s Experience
Thomas and Linden from Scotland have been married for 12 years. They met Sarita and Geho at a Sex and Spirit Conference, at Findhorn.
“I was moved by their presence. They were a breath of fresh air, talking about love and grace. Our spiritual lives are important to both of us. We also love making love so it seemed nice put the two together in a creative way that is fun and enriching,” Linden.
The group gave her,” Renewal and refreshment in making love and a deeper communion. It was very plain and simple and made sense on every level”.
Her partner Thomas says, “Ok it was about sex but it was something far deeper. It was to do with integrating every aspect of your life providing a focus and direction and not being ashamed of who you are. It’s to do with being present and being intimate. you can mediate on whatever state you are in so it becomes more real for you and that had a transforming effect on way I live”.