In yoga, Shakti Dance and all the practices described on this website, there are many common principles, one of which is that everything is energy and everything is interwoven.
With yoga, Shakti Dance and other practices, we can expand our consciousness and begin to include awareness and direct experience of this.
Breathing and learning to direct our awareness deliberatly are what turns the physical practice from "stretch and tone" into Yoga. Expanding our awareness from the physical to include the energy within the body, around the body and beyond and how it all weaves together, is what makes the practice tantric.
So Tantra is not all about sex, it's about energy. Sexual energy, Kundalini, is the most potent form, highly concentrated and carrying the creative impulse of all life. In Yoga, Shakti Dance and meditation, we work with this energy in ways that are not overtly sexual, definitley not requiring nudity or partner work, but nontheless potent and empowering. There are some elements which I only teach in women's classes, but most work in mixed gender classes. Tantra is, of course inextricably linked to sacred union and as we each work on creating this within ourselves and becoming aware of the vibratory field, it is reflected in our relationships and how we work with, play with and are responsible for our own energy. (Further down the page, you can read more about Shakti-Kundalini and Prana.)
Physisists now, say that the universe consists of only 4 % atomic matter, what we consider normal matter: 23% of the universe is dark matter and 73% is dark energy, what we previously thought of as empty space. It is like an invisible nervous system that runs throughout the universe connecting all things. The ancient Vedic Teachers taught Nada Brahama, the universe is vibration. The vibratory field is at the root or all true spiritual experience and scientific investigation. It is the same field of energy that Saints, Buddha, Yogis, Mystics, Priests Shamans and Seers have observed by looking within themselves. It has been called Akasha, the Primordial Om, Indra's Net of Jewels, the music of the spheres and a thousand other names throughout history.
When you observe your inner world you become aware of subtler and subtler sensations and energies as the mind becomes more concentrated and focussed.
When we look within ourselves, we can perceive part of this vibratory field as our "yogic anatomy" with its chakras, nadis and energy fields.
Nadis are specific currents of life-force energy which flow through the body, so they are sometimes described as energy channels. In the creation of human beings, Prana comes first as spiralling flows which individuate to become Nadis and then consolidate and condense to create our physical form.
Chakra is the Sanskrit word for wheel and refers to the energy centres of the Nadi System where many smaller Nadis intersect a major Nadi and Prana moves from one frequency to another in spiralling fashion.
They are connected to the elements, to the gunas (qualities of energy), to our own energy field and in turn to the vibratory field, described above.
The Aura is the electromagnetic field around the body, which we can perceive as first (i.e. closest to the body), a physical energy field, then moving outwards, an emotional energy field, a mental energy field and a spiritual energy field.
Through the physical body and these fields, energy passes to and from our individual selves and the vibratory field - all of creation.
Clearing!!!! I cannot stress enough how important it is that we all learn how to clear energy - to keep our own little patch of the vibratory field nice and sparkly as much as possible, by clearing our chakras and energy fields and the spaces we inhabit. Yoga, Shakti Dance, Working with Spirit, Healing Energy Work, Shamanic and Pagan practices can be used, but the key to them working is our awareness and intent. I teach clearing as an instrinsic part of all my work - it's good self-care, love and respect for ourselves, each other and our environment.
The terms Shakti and Prana are often used interchangeably but they can describe different aspects of life force energy. Prana means "primary energy" or "primordial impulse" whereas Shakti is the Divine Feminine and Creative quality of the life force. Kundalini is a super condensed form of Shakti that forms in a golden mean spiral. The golden mean spiral is a fractal - a special pattern or geometry in which every fraction of the pattern (of any size) contains the potential of the whole.
So, Kundalini life-force contains the potential of the whole of creation. Kundalini sits at the base of each human body, often pictured as two snakes spiralling around the base of the spine. Enough Kundalini is released to animate the body - to allow the infinite soul to manifest as a finite entity within the body. With conscious attention and the freedom to do so, the Kundalini unfurls, ascending and awakening, which leads to self-realisation. Therefore we can understand that self-realisation must be, at least in part the realisation of our “selves” as infinite beings and fractals of the whole of creation. The freedom to do so, relies upon clear nadis and the removal of restrictions, contractions or blocks which the yogi / yogini works to achieve and is usually a gradual process.
Tantra may enhance your sex life but only by deepening your connection to your energy and your body first.
.....we must gain an awareness of our true selves before we can forge the path of union with others.
The exploration of the subtle energies within the body and their connection to the universe provide the opportunity to understand the purpose of life and the principles of union in new dimensions.