Tantra yoga works to expand consciousness in all levels of awareness. One way to experience this is to practice with a partner, creating a deeper, more spiritual bond with this person.
To Understand Tantra, Start with Kundalini
In Sanskrit, the root of tantra is tan, which means, "to weave, expand, put forth." The concept is that everything is interwoven: relationships with each other, experiences and the universe. One has the ability to expand on connectedness to others.
Tantra is not just about sex, although increased pleasure is certainly a healthy benefit to practicing tantric yoga. Tantra is derived from the more spiritual style of Kundalini yoga. Many of the poses used in Kundalini yoga can be considered tantric if you perform them simultaneously with a partner.
Five Tantric Yoga Positions
Starting with the foundation of Hatha yoga, here are some tantric yoga positions that partners will enjoy performing together. Modify any of these poses to increase the opportunity for prolonged eye contact and touching. It's important to note that size does not matter in these positions; partners of unequal size can still practice together and benefit.
Perform this Seated Spinal Twist as a way to way to warm the spine and use one another to deepen your flexibility and connection to each other.
- Sit in a comfortable seated position with your knees touching one another.
- Sit up straight with your chest slightly forward, shoulders back and chin pointed slightly down so the crown of your head reaches to the sky.
- Place your left arm behind your back and extend your right arm out. Have your partner do the same.
- Grasp your partner's left hand with your right while you offer your left hand to your partner's right. This will result in you both twisting your bodies to accommodate one another.
- Gently twist as far as you and your partner are comfortable going; for you to twist deeper it means your partner must as well. Remain in constant communication at all times.
- After a few minutes, switch sides and repeat.
Each of the Warrior Poses can be performed in Tantric yoga. Make sure to maintain eye contact at all times to deepen your connection.
- Stand with the toes of your right feet touching.
- Step your left feet back about three feet, turning your toes out at a 45 degree angle.
- Bend your front knees and straighten your spines.
- Drop your shoulders back, square your hips toward one another and raise your arms above your heads.
- Repeat on the other side.
Use Boat Pose to strengthen your abdominals while getting some assistance from your partner.
- Sit facing one another with your legs out in front of you and your knees slightly bent.
- With your knees bent, move forward until you can place the soles of your feet against your partner's and hold one another's hands.
- Lean back and push your feet against your partners.
- Slowly straighten your legs, keeping the soles of your feet touching.
- To deepen the stretch and connection, slowly bend your knees again, keeping your feet touching, and move your legs apart in a straddle. Straighten your knees again with your legs on the outsides of your arms.
Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog can be performed as a partner position with one of you supported by the other.
- Have your partner get into Downward Facing Dog.
- Stand about 18-inches in front of him.
- Bend down and place your hands on the floor, shoulder width apart.
- Lift one leg and place your foot on your partner's shoulder.
- Lift the other leg and place it on your partner's shoulder.
- Walk your feet up your partner's back until you reach his hips.
- Push your heels back and rotate your shoulders forward.
- Switch positions with your partner.
Legs Up the Wall
Legs Up the Wall is a restorative posture that can be performed with your partner in Child's Pose so you both rest at once. This pose also feels wonderful on the receiving end if you are the one in Child's Pose on the bottom.
- Have your partner get into Child's Pose with arms extended or relaxed.
- Sit on your partner's hips facing away from his head.
- Lay back on your partner, allowing your spine to follow the curve of his.
- Raise your legs in the air.
- Switch positions with your partner.
Other Resources for Learning Tantric Poses
Nearly any yoga position can be done in the Tantric style. Visit these sites to learn some other poses.
- Anamaya: Anamaya offers instructions for poses including Yab-Yum and Hercules.
- Yoga Journal: This helpful article introduces Pranayama into the Tantric practice.
- Blue Screen Life: Several partner poses for yoga positions that can be done in the Tantric style.
There are a number of instructional DVDs that go into more detail about tantric yoga positions. Use these alone or with a partner to enhance your understanding of this interesting and ever-evolving yoga style. Steve and Lokita Carter have developed a few tantric DVDs, including:
- Tantric Yoga for Lovers. The DVD has three segments: tantric partner yoga routines, "yin and yang" stretches, and poses for tantric energy.
- Tantric Massage for Lovers. Nearly three hours of massage techniques, communication methods, and ways to increase consciousness are highlighted here.
- The Breath of Tantric Love. Incorporating the principles of pranayama, this DVD has an instructional overview and guided technique.
Expand Your Horizons
Tantric yoga can forge a strong bond between two people as you move through the asanas together. Trust in your partner will grow as you learn to rely on him to hold you in the positions. Over time, you will both find new meaning and purpose in your practice together.