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Shakti and tantra and other spiritual "elements" from the East?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I heard the term Shakti recently as it applies to female energy, then googled it and came up w/some articles that contained way too many Hindu terms. Very intrigued by the idea that all women are an embodiment of light and that men are the embodiment of consciousness, and that is why female energy is drawn to beauty and creation while male energy is drawn to pure awareness (as in the seconds following their favorite sports team scoring or the big O)
Along the way of researching that term, I came across "tantra" which I guess here in the West has become synonymous w/tantric sex and the kama sutra but, and I'm not sure about this, really is about practicing a meditation of senses in everyday life, mindfullness to the extreme.
Can anyone add to this?
post #2 of 4
Tantra: The Path of Ecstacy by Georg Fuerstein.

He is a foremost western scholar of eastern religion/philosophy and wrote this fantastic book on what tantra is (and how it is, but is largely not, tantric sex! lol). his style of writing is accessible, even to a newbie.

techniques are not present in there, but most of modern yoga practiced in the west (yoga based in asana or postures) is a form of tantra yoga. therefore, by going to yoga class, you begin to learn tantra practices.
post #3 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
Tantra: The Path of Ecstacy by Georg Fuerstein.

He is a foremost western scholar of eastern religion/philosophy and wrote this fantastic book on what tantra is (and how it is, but is largely not, tantric sex! lol). his style of writing is accessible, even to a newbie.

techniques are not present in there, but most of modern yoga practiced in the west (yoga based in asana or postures) is a form of tantra yoga. therefore, by going to yoga class, you begin to learn tantra practices.
Well said, Zoebird!
I'm so happy to see that the first response to this question not only touch upon the fact that tantra is so much more than "tantric sex" (as I understand it--Maithuna sexual union as ritual is often--though not always-- seen as symbolic/ metaphysical, but it depends on the school of thought/ who you talk to) but also mention that Hatha Yoga is tantric! (The Hatha Yoga Pradipika is absolutely a tantric!)
And I'm I'm sure. I haven't read Fuerstein's book, but he's someone that I highly respect...I wouldn't hesitate to recommend his work.
Also check out,
"Inner Tantric Yoga: Working with the Universal Shakti: Secrets of Mantras, Deities, and Meditation" by David Frawley...though Frawley can be a little dense at times (at least I think so...)

To elaborate just a bit more, Tantra can be translated "to weave" (The first syllable--"Tan" literally means to weave; tra is something like "to guide" or "to protect" in this context I think it does, or it can, refer to the means of weaving.)
Tantra is about weaving the everyday with the spiritual; it's philosophy and it's practice (and honestly, tantric practice is present in almost every culture and religion I can think of--as a cradle Catholic the Eucharist--the idea that it's food, and actually, literally God, not just symbolic is just about the most tantric thing I've ever heard!)

As Zoebird mentioned, Hatha yoga IS tantra yoga, but if you're interested in hatha with an emphasis on the study of tantric scriptures and practices you might be interested in checking out a Para Yoga or Anusara Yoga class.
post #4 of 4
i thought Nora Isaac's article in Yoga Journal a couple years back gave a nice intro to tantra.

certainly Fuerstein makes it thorough, and you sound deeply interested. but this short article lays out some of the main ideas in a user-friendly way.

i hope it helps.
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