Tantra is a word commonly thrown around in the yoga world, and let's face the facts. What do you think about when someone says, "Tantra?" Sex.
There is nothing wrong with this association, as the Tantric worldview encompasses physical intimacy and connection, but it is also very limiting as the tradition contains much greater texture and dimension.
The Tantra is a vast tradition that represents many diverse schools and thoughts. This philosophical system began to take root in India around the seventh century, and ranges from more orthodox schools, which have structured rituals, meditations, and teacher-based initiations, to more liberal schools which have a reputation for defying social norms and using sexual practices as ritual, which is where the Tantra as sex association began.
The points to follow are from the point-of-view of the Rajanaka Tantra lineage -- a more centric school -- which embraces many Tantric teachings and makes them applicable to daily life.
Here are five key reasons for you to practice Tantra outside of your bedroom:
While Tantra is often talked about as one cohesive body of work, in reality -- like so many other traditions -- it is broken down into many diverse schools and differing points of view on how life functions. By contemplating differing ideals and perspectives, the tradition actually ensures that it continues to enrich itself as opposed to getting stagnant with one manifesto of right or wrong.
In your own daily life think about where diversity is lacking. In what places could you change things up or do something new?
2. Life is a Gift
Earlier yoga traditions are often obsessed with doing practices in order to liberate from the human experience and rejoin the one underlying energy that weaves through everything. The Tantra recognizes that you are all already one, but is more interested in the exploration of the many and the gifts of the human experience.
Instead of getting out, how do you dive more deeply in? In what areas are you only on the surface? Which ones do you want to choose to dive into more?
3. Skillful Participation
Instead of yoga being defined as a static union which takes substance A and substance B and blends them together to eradicate their individuality, the Rajanaka Tantra looks at yoga as skillful participation with the gift of life. You are a blend of co-mingled energies and you get to choose what ratios you use (think qualities of masculine and feminine as an example) based on the situation at hand.
Where in your life do you feel depleted by your activity? This is probably a sign you could infuse more skill in action into what you are doing. Jot down three ways you could be more skillful to create more energy.
4. Rich Life
If you buy into the idea that life is a gift and you get to skillfully navigate your path, it is clear that you will experience both great challenge and potential reward. Instead of always being content with life or the status quo, the Rajanaka Tantra is interested in how you can experience a sense of richness, flourishing, and greater fulfillment.
Basically, in what ways are you just living a mediocre existence you aren't happy with? It doesn't have to be extravagant to be rich. What are five ways you could infuse more quality, meaning, or depth into your daily life?
5. Never Ending
While some yoga traditions claim that there is a final end point to our journey where you arrive at final enlightenment, the Rajanaka Tantra is invested in the ongoing journey.
It relates to the actual world Tantra, both in its entirety (meaning loom or weave), and broken down into "Tan" (to stretch and expand) and "Tra" (to bridge and cross over). The tapestry never has an end point; it continues to be stretched out as it is woven, and the connections are strengthened and explored.
The gift here is that you always have the possibility of learning more, seeing more, experiencing more, and ensuring life remains passionate, intimate, and full.
It is true that many of these teachings can be applied to a beautiful, intimate dance with a beloved, and while the Tantra is a wonderful resource to support our love life, it is also a tradition which can inform the way we engage with the currents of our daily life.
Do you practice Tantra in your daily life? Share your experiences with us below!