Different manifestations of Tantra; Traditional Tantra and Neo Tantra. How do they work (on me)
As you may know Tantra has a lot of ramifications and variations.
From my experience the common point of the multiple tantric schools is that it’s a spiritual system that includes philosophy, science and a lifestyle that manifests through freedom, love (starting from self love) and a gentle life discipline.
I have studied and practiced for years “neo tantra”, bringing to my life amazing moments of ecstasy, awareness, expansion and liberation no other practice or therapy has offered to me.
But I also had the opportunity to sink into traditional tantra for months in a tantric yoga ashram, experiencing a system that balance your energy and expands your consciousness from totally different angle.
Neo tantra is less than a century old (it dates from the second half of the last century); it includes sexual practices, bandhas and fire breathing very early in the process, sometimes these are even part of the initiation process.
That’s a similar approach as shamanism, which gives the possibility to go for very deep experiences like ceremonial journeys with total loss of control, surrendering and medicines as a first contact.
Traditional tantra -in particular the ashram specialized in traditional Kahula tantra where I lived takes you through a very different path.
Over the first months the routine consists in two extended yoga sessions per day, gentle pranayama, and an Ayurvedic massage session with the functional purpose to soothe and prepare the body for the demanding yoga practices.
No hint of sacred sexuality, fire breathing, eye gazing….and no energetic orgasm or cosmic orgasm was even mentioned. Just to clarify, in Neo Tantra the full body, energetic and cosmic orgasm are an important meditative state to reach.
This is in order to clear the physical body, energetic system, mind and emotional state from traumas and conditionings; deprogram to allow a shift to a different level of consciousness and sensitivity of oneself, and therefore to allow expansion.
This may seem rather conceptual, so I’ll try to be more clear explaining my personal experience on traditional tantra. Tantric Yoga which is the major focus in this system, is a meditation in movement practice, meaning we perform each asana or pose enough time to sense the body relaxing and letting go unnecessary tensions. While doing this, we listen to the physical body and develop the sensitivity necessary to identify contracted areas, which are the same as energetic knots or blockages: the energy or prana cannot flow normally there where is tension.
These blockages are the memory of a trauma that happened in that specific part of the body, or the result of mental difficulties that are reflected there.
By bringing awareness and the intention to relax to that specific area, we bring to it energy and light; energy flows there where we bring our attention.
This way we reduce the physical tension, bringing new energy to the area that soothes and dilutes the trauma stored, allowing the whole body and energetic (pranic) system to rebalance.
What happens after….I don’t really know, I haven’t been in that space since my stay in the ashram was interrupted by the COVID-19 some months after I arrived.
And many tantric practices are hermetic practices, meaning they are not written anywhere. They are are only transmitted through generations of initiated individuals and Gurus. Through lineage, that’s why traditional Tantra has to be facilitated through a Guru with a lineage, otherwise beware.
What I want to share here is that the combination of tantric yoga and pranayama, that gentle life discipline from traditional yantra is an extremely solid, safe life ground.
It naturally keeps away from unhealthy life dynamics like addictions, fears, harsh competition, stress….and allows to experience sensations with a deeper consciousness. I guess that leaving away what we want but we don’t need, and accepting to go for what we need even if it’s not what we want, is the same as staying connected with our level of self consciousness.
Yoga and pranayama performed with the traditional tantric method is listening to our body, trancing within ourselves accessing deeper layers otherwise inaccessible. Bringing consciousness and light to the shadows of ourselves, soothing our spirit through the acceptation of our underlying angles.
From that space, Neo Tantra becomes a deeper, more grounded practice, and a more effective and safe gift to share.
Finally on the other side of things, since I integrated in my life the key practices from Traditional Tantra, the meditative ecstatic states that neo Tantra takes me to are deeper and hold more consciousness.