As my friends will recognize, I am addicted to education and I take pride of the fact that whatever I do I'd like to see myself excel and rise to the very top, not at all for the search of approval of others (I completed that phase during adolescence, Thank Goodness!) but because of my curious and perfectionist nature and adventurist, experimental bug that I happen to carry in my blood :-) So for years I have educated myself about everything and anything that one can learn about sex. Although I was not too bad of a companion to start with, rather one ‘dynamite’, as many friends and fans kindly reminisce, I discovered that sex was most fulfilling when it contained a spiritual component in it. I, then studied ancient Goddess cultures which led me to heal the artificial separation between the spiritual and the sexual self. I fell in love with Tantra and Kama Sutra. Although I am in awe of the spiritual side of sex I embrace the variety in sexual expressions. I celebrate sex as a gateway to freedom by the way it strips us down, makes us free of ego, renders dignity and self-control ridiculous. When sex is united with love, there its ability to free someone becomes amazingly strong!

Below I wanted to share some insight and some introductory thoughts about Tantra and Kama Sutra, my favorite subjects lately, I hope you enjoy:

Tantra and Tantric Sexuality: A Key to Wholeness

In our rush to categorize and assign meaning to our experiences, we often elevate the spiritual above the events of our normal lives. Yet what we find most moving is spiritual. When we are deeply affected, able to let go and banish our always-assessing egos, we are having a spiritual experience.

Many people able to reach deep ecstatic sexual states liken these to transcendental spiritual experiences. They discover that the distinction between the physical and the spiritual is not as clear as they were taught. They may even feel that they have come to know God, or ultimate reality, through sex. Tantra and the Kama Sutra both view sexuality as vital aspects of the path to enlightenment.

The approximate Sanskrit definition of "Tantra" is "web" or a union of opposites that, when united, becomes one with everything in the universe. Tantric practice unifies the many contradictory aspects of the self (e.g., masculine and feminine, spirit and matter, dark and light) into a harmonious whole.

Developed in India, Tantric practices were at their height between 500 to 1300 AD. Today Tantra is a living system designed to promote rapid growth towards enlightenment. Tantra's components include yoga, meditation, deity worship, whole-body health, and Ayurvedic medicine.

There has been a renewal of interest in Tantric practice in the West. Perhaps because our society is maturing or because of a widespread awakening of consciousness, we seem to be gravitating towards the lessons in conscious intimacy that Tantra has to offer. Most of us know very little about our own bodies and our potential for pleasure.

Though most of us wont seek out a guru to guide us in our Tantric practice, learning even the simplest of the techniques can bring a sense of greater communion with our partners, our natures, and, ultimately, with our souls. Our spirits open when we engage in more trusting sexual relationships that involve communication, the spirit of playfulness, and being open to discovery. Like meditation and yoga, Tantric sex is a spiritual practice. It is not aimed at self-indulgence or pleasure as an end in itself. Tantra uses sexuality, with all of its rawness, social stigma, fear, and vulnerability to crack open our egos so that we can be present with our lovers, and ultimately, with ourselves.

The modern seeker may find that many of the components of ancient Tantric practices integrate well with our daily lives. In fact, the experiences one has practicing Tantra can give one tools for being more present and aware in all aspects of one's life.

Tantra is sometimes called the sexual yoga, though this concept can be misinterpreted. Yoga is another term associated with practices that help to unify apparent opposites. When doing yoga, you are actually performing an active meditation, focusing your energy on internal, as well as external, points. You bring much more awareness to the body and mind with yoga. In Tantric sexual practices the same is true.

The beauty of Tantra is that it is a partnered path of learning. Trusting another with your personal growth is the ultimate act of surrender--and surrendering is where breakthroughs can happen. Two people taking conscious risks that gently stretch the limits of their comfort zones can realize great growth individually and as partners.

One must be willing to risk "doing it wrong," not looking good, being stuck emotionally, facing one's own shadows, and other life challenges. If you discover, for example, that you fear intimacy, Tantra can help you move toward the fear with courage and trust.

How you face your sexual fears is a great metaphor for how you deal with fear in general. In sex, you cannot hide from the truth--the feedback is immediate. If your body feels pleasure, it feels pleasure. If it feels numb, it feels numb, and you know it. Once acknowledged, many of our fears lose their ability to hold us back from the wholeness in life that we deserve. The Male and Female Essence

"Being well practiced at the art of sexual ecstasy and having entered the divine realms of ego dissolution over and over allows for the veils and boundaries of separation to fall at our feet. We open again and again, each time allowing more in - friends, lovers, family, nature, abundance, light, dark, spirit. Nothing seems separate anymore, including our own selves. At times we can even experience our own divinity - our own true nature. This is when transformation and transcendence occurs." - Suzie

Tantra originated in Hindu India. Though it is not a religion in itself, it is based on the Gods and Goddesses of the Hindu pantheon. The Gods and Goddesses represent the male/female, yin/yang qualities of all humans. Healthy individuals are a unique blend of female and male traits.

Shiva is the supreme God in Tantric beliefs. He represents the male principle and the control and movement of time and all material things. His penis, or Lingam in Sanskrit, is upright, action-oriented, and powerful, commanding a "nerve center" of worldly power.

Shiva's counterpart is Shakti the female essence. Shaktis energy runs the universe. Without Shakti, Shiva would have no power. She is the creator, the sustainer, and the destroyer all in one. Consider that a woman gives birth, sustains the child with milk (the equivalent of Mother Earth feeding her children), and takes back her child in death, as does Mother Earth.

These two deities form a union that keeps the universe in perfect harmony, and their story is a metaphor for each of us. According to Tantric philosophy, life is a journey to become a balanced blend of both of male and female, that is, to become whole or unified. With practice, your sexual nature can lead you to this perfect balance. Subtle Energy In Eastern medicine, the chakras are seven "energy centers" situated along the spine in what is called the subtle body. Practitioners of Eastern medicine treat the subtle body as well as the gross physical body; the health of the chakras is essential to the overall health of the individual. Each of the chakras is associated with one of the basic core energies that we work with in life. The energy that flows through them up the spine is called Kundalini Energy. As you extend your practices of Tantra and other sciences relating to the body, you begin to see where you flow easily and where you get stuck in life. As you sense the energies in your chakras through Tantric practice, you can discover where you need to put your attention in order to revitalize yourself. The First Chakra - Muladhara The first chakra resides in the pelvis area. It represents being grounded and secure in the physical necessities of life: food, shelter, and the needs of our animal nature. Its element is Earth and its color is red. A secure first chakra enables us to feel confident in our abilities to care for ourselves. We have a realistic concept of our needs and a sense of being grounded. The Second Chakra - Svadhishthana The genital area is the seat of the second chakra. It represents our sexual urges and fantasies, creativity, and procreation. Its element is water, its color orange. Sensation, pleasure, sexuality, and emotions are associated with this chakra. When it is "open" and healthy, we are likely to experience stable emotions, gracefulness, and self-acceptance. The Third Chakra - Manapura This chakra is situated at the solar plexus or navel area. It represents our power, will, energy, authority, and longevity. Its element is fire and its color yellow, as the sun is yellow. Ego identity and self-esteem are the products of a healthy third chakra. Confidence and autonomy without the need to dominate or manipulate kindle the fire necessary to live a powerful and compassionate life. The Fourth Chakra - Anahata The chest area and specifically the heart are the home of the fourth chakra. It represents all that is associated with heart: sharing, love, service, compassion, and devotion. Its element is air, its color green. We can all recognize the times when our heart feels shut down, often when we are mad, hurt, pitying ourselves, or when we dont feel loved. We feel it as a stuck or tight area in the chest. Jealousy has been called the Green-Eyed Monster in honor of the heart chakra and its color. The Fifth Chakra - Vishuddha This is the throat area, which represents knowledge and speaking the truth of that knowledge. Its element is ether or space, and its color is violet. The throat chakra builds upon knowledge taking what we have learned and helping us to speak what we know. When was the last time you had a "lump" in your throat? That is your fifth chakra telling you that you dont know all of the facts, that you are afraid to speak up, or that you arent in integrity with what you are saying. Stop, breathe deeply, notice what you are avoiding, and tell the truth. The Sixth Chakra - Ajna Located at the pineal gland or "third eye" of the forehead, the sixth chakra symbolizes enlightenment and self-realization. It has no element as it is beyond the elements. Its color is bluish white. Self-mastery, intuition, and insight are signs of an open sixth chakra. We can get past old, recurring patterns in our lives when our sixth chakra is healthy. Often this chakra opens up through a "spiritual" emergence or awakening. The Seventh Chakra - Sahasrara This chakra is located at the fontanel, the soft spot on a babys head. It is the open conduit to God and the guru within. Golden white light and a lotus flower with a thousand petals are the symbols of this chakra. A supremely conscious person exhibits compassion, self-awareness, mindfulness, and awareness of the world; that person would have a very evolved seventh chakra. Balancing Body, Mind, and Spirit "Correct practice of sexual intercourse can cure every ailment and at the same time open the doors to liberation." --Taoist Master, from Passion Play, by Felice Dunas. Tantra offers many easy-to-learn practices to help you and your partner evolve spiritually while enjoying great sex. Many of the lessons come from Tantric theory and have been refined by modern psychology. Focus your mind on your heart and your partners heart when you are making love. Connecting the Heart and the Physical Orgasm Here is a simple practice you can try the next time you are making love. Both men and women need to learn to connect the genitals and the heart. Touching these two areas at the same time can help a person experience this connection, which carries the potential for immense healing. During foreplay or oral sex and while you are stimulating the genitals of your partner, place your hand on his or her heart. Think about experiencing a pure heart orgasm or extending the orgasmic release from the genitals up to the heart. You may want to wave your hand over your partner's body with a special focus on the heart. Remind your partner that orgasm can spread up to the heart. Meditation Meditation brings focus and quiet to the mind. As little as 20 minutes a day can bring relaxation, concentration, and lower blood pressure to most people. Practicing meditation will teach you how to focus your attention when you're making love. Most people at some time or another during sex have found their minds wandering or worrying about whether they are doing it right or about what they wish their partners would do. The highest honor you can give your partner is truly focused attention. When you bring that quality to your loving, it doesnt matter what techniques you know you simply are a great lover. "Slow down, enjoy loves dance. Make your sexual loving a meditation, and use the moment of orgasm to affirm and empower one another." --Charles and Caroline Muir, Tantra, the Art of Conscious Loving Tantric Orgasm Tantric philosophy talks about two seemingly different types of orgasm, the physical orgasm and the heart orgasm. At first appearance they may seem contrary to one another, but on closer inspection one complements the other. Tantric practice encourages us to be in our hearts 24 hours a day. That blissful state can be equated to an orgasmic state of being with "heart energy" transferred to all that we do. In Tantra this is sometimes referred to as the "right hand path," and some practitioners achieve this state of being through meditation, yoga, compassionate states of mind, mantra chanting, and celibacy. In the "left hand path," sexuality is the vehicle one rides to achieve the same state of bliss. Developing a consciousness with orgasm provides a gateway to an ability to attain higher states of consciousness. As in the "right hand path," the bliss state can then be brought to all aspects of life. You really can "get high with a little help from your friends." Full Body Orgasms Sexologists have identified several forms of orgasm. In women there is the clitoral orgasm, which tends to be localized to the genitals. The vaginal orgasm involves the G-spot and other areas of the vagina. A blended orgasm involves the clitoris and the G-spot. Mens orgasms tend to be more general, though through Tantric practices the plateau can be extended for long periods of time. Tantra adds another kind of orgasm, the energy orgasm or heart orgasm. As you go further into this practice you are able to begin to have full body orgasms, or energy orgasms, simply by breathing them, without any physical touch. This powerful energy is then much more available to you in your everyday life, sometimes just by breathing! When the paths are blended, the possibilities for personal growth expand exponentially, and the duality between the types of orgasms vanishes. Just as breath is of the utmost importance in meditation, it is the consciousness of breathing that can be the tool to a transformational lovemaking experience.

The Kama Sutra: The Book of Love
A Definition of Kama Sutra

Almost everyone has heard of the Kama Sutra. "Kama" means all things pleasurable, such as sexuality and sensuality; it also encompasses eating, gaming, cultural activities, activities with friends. Kama is the name of the Indian God that represents the sexual nature in man, much like Eros did to the Greeks. "Sutra" means a short book or aphorisms. Thus the Kama Sutra is an ancient manual of love. The Kama Sutra is most often associated with sex and sex positions. That's not all it offers, though.

The Kama Sutra details many kissing techniques, the Sixty-Four Arts, courting practices, modes of touching including biting and scratching, sexual positions or asanas, how to treat marriage partners as well as consorts, the concocting of aphrodisiacs, and much more. Past cultures honored our sexual life force and understood that teaching the next generation was supremely important. In the past 3,000 years we've seen the development of sex manuals throughout all of the Eastern cultures. These demonstrate the care and mentoring that people knew was vital if the values of that culture were to carry on.

The Kama Sutra has as much to offer modern couples as it did their counterparts in ancient India. Perhaps the most well known of all love manuals, it was translated from Sanskrit in the middle 1800s by an English adventurer named Sir Richard Burton. At the time of his death he is reputed to have been fluent in 40 languages.

When the Kama Sutra appeared in print it shocked Victorian England, and upon Sir Richards death, his wife burned many of the other books he had translated but not published. Most of them have not been re-translated and many may be lost forever.

It is believed that todays version of the Kama Sutra was compiled and put into written form from a rich tradition of oral history. Written in Sanskrit by a man named Vatsyayana, its structure appears as poetry and verse. The descriptions of the positions are short and to the point, as if they were reminders to the couple rather than detailed instruction. Sutras likely were taught as oral poetry. She sits with raised thighs, her feet placed either side of your waist; "linga" (penis) enters "yoni" (vagina); you rain hard blows upon her body: this is "Kshudgaga" (Striking). The positions are named after animals, as this was a prime way of studying mans relationship to the natural world. The manual describes different techniques to stimulate the clitoris, such as the ten types of "blows" that can be used to tap the clitoris with the Lingam for stimulation. It details the way in which a man might grasp his Lingam and churn it from side to side in the Yoni of his lover. It outlines the areas in the Yoni to stimulate and has special names for the sides, top, deeper areas, and the entrance.

The Kama Sutra exquisitely describes the quivering of the Yoni that precedes orgasm and the shuddering that heralds orgasm. It says that no two women make love alike and that one must be very sensitive to rhythms, sentiments, and moods of the individual woman. Seated erect, the lovely girl folds one leg to her body and stretches the other along the bed, while you mirror her actions: this is "Yugmapada" (The Feet Yoke). Attention is given to courting, gift-giving, secret rendezvous, and moral and ethical attitudes during marriage. High priority is given to what are called the Sixty Four Arts. Men, and especially women, were encouraged to learn as many of them as possible. These include music, singing, sciences, lovemaking, homemaking, poetry, dance, shooting of the bow and arrow, conversation, sewing, art, games, magic, chemistry, perfumery, and rituals.

The use of aphrodisiacs and their preparation was common. The Kama Sutra details items like datura, honey, ground black pepper, a corpses winding-sheet, peacock-bone, sulfur, pumpkin seed, bamboo shoots, cactus, monkey turd, and rams testicle for use in enslaving, potency, and endurance. Some of these ingredients, like pumpkin seed and datura, are known for their potency-enhancing qualities. Sitting face to face in bed, her breasts pressed tight against your chest, let each of you lock heels behind the other's waist, and lean back clasping one another's wrists. Other Eastern Cultures A series of "books" or aphorisms appeared in several Eastern cultures after 400 AD. These books included guides for newlyweds on kissing, touching, positions in lovemaking, attitudes, moral obligations, and much more.

The Anana Ranga, written in the sixteenth century in India, details morals, seduction techniques, sexual positions, hygiene, rituals and sexual spells, aphrodisiacs, and other erotic concepts. It paid particular attention to the woman learning to control her pelvic floor muscles to heighten the experience between her lover and herself.

The Perfumed Garden was written in Arabia in the sixteenth century. It details over thirty sizes and shapes of penises and vaginas. Though written primarily for men, it counsels them to ask the woman how to give her pleasure. It speaks highly of the gift of pleasure that God has given to humans and contains stories that teach a variety of lessons to the seeker.

The Ishimpo, from Japan, is similar to its counterparts in India and other parts of Asia in depicting the sex act as the essential force that controls the universe. In fact, it suggests that making love is the force in nature that keeps the Earth circling the Heavens. With ties to Taoism, the concepts have developed over a period of at least 2,500 years though this love manual was put to writing sometime in the 18th century.

Exciting many Chinese couples, The Secrets of the Jade Bed Chamber provides recipes for potency remedies, exotic positions, and counseling on the ways of love. As with many societies that award eroticism a high place in their heritages, the words selected are symbolic. A Jade Stalk meant a mans penis, while a Jade Garden symbolized the womans vagina. Metaphors filled the erotic lives of ancient sexual explorers. Like the Ishimpo, this is a more modern version of very ancient precepts.

China, Japan, and most Eastern cultures used "Pillow Books" in addition to teaching manuals. Couples employed pillow books as erotic stimulants and reminders of our vast sexual potential. The books were adorned with beautiful erotic pictures, poetry, writings, and suggestions that couples could use to stir their passions.

In the past few decades, there has been a resurgence of erotic manuals, picture books, illustrated instruction books, and a variety of resources to educate and reconnect people with their sexuality. As these materials become available, more people begin to speak openly about sensuality. If, sitting facing her, you grasp her ankles and fasten them like a chain behind your neck, and she grips her toes as you make love, it is the delightful "Padma" (The Lotus).

The Sixty-Four Arts are an integral part of the Kama Sutra. What makes things more fun is that there are two sets of the Sixty-Four Arts. On one hand are the arts that the well-rounded citizen learned to augment their education and life. The others were the arts that pertained to lovemaking. The Kama Sutra focuses on the lovemaking arts but mentions the other arts because they were a means by which one could make one's self more attractive. Inner Beauty - Charm, Wit, and Intelligence Vatsyayana, the Kama Sutra's author, reveals that the cultivation of inner beauty was just as important as outer beauty. Attractiveness comes from a refined and imaginative mind as much as it does from darkened eyes, ruby lips, and a fine figure. Cultivating as many of the arts other than the art of lovemaking was of great importance to society.

You will remember that it was thought that the aims of life were four - wealth, moral standing, pleasure, and enlightenment. It is understandable that to be good at sexual pleasure one would need to study the arts of love. It is also easy to understand that to be excellent at your job or in your community you would need to know certain things to be able to be a citizen of honor.

Most of us do indeed follow life pursuits or interest that are as varied as the number of people in the world. You may play an instrument, or write poetry, or paint, or sing, or participate in any number of personal interests that fuel your creative side. It is those pursuits that the ancient Sutras believed made us all more expansive individuals.

Men, and especially women, were encouraged to learn as many of them as possible. Refinement and accomplishment were important and many of the arts were not gender specific. These arts included music, singing, sciences, lovemaking, homemaking, poetry, dance, shooting of the bow and arrow, conversation, sewing, art, games, magic, chemistry, perfumery, and rituals.

Partial content: courtesy of sacredbliss.com, kamasutra-sex.org, tantra.com

Tess

 


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