Planet Waves | What is Tantra by Roberta Skye


Tantric Resources
A Little from the Kama Sutra

What is Tantra?

By Roberta Skye
Planet Waves Digital Media | Vancouver BC

The Sanskrit word 'Tantra' may be translated as 'expansion' or 'weaving' of energies to expanded consciousness. It is a spritual practice, a yoga, a life path that invites us to accept and honor all aspects of the self as sacred, divine, simply different expressions of the same pure energy that we are as beings. This perspective includes our erotic nature and sexual expression, weaving together spirituality, sexuality and the life of the heart.

This is uncommon in a culture that doesn't teach us how to celebrate our sexuality! Instead we are given a regular diet of 'scare' info around birth control and disease prevention, without any teachings about pleasure and enjoyment of this natural experience.

The opening up of the opportunities for sexual expression, such as same gender relationships or choosing single or several partner relationships, hasn't been matched with a corresponding growth in how we develop and explore our sexual expression in our spirituality and the ART of loving.

Perhaps this is part of the legacy of Puritanism which we don't entirely escape by simply deciding not to be Puritans. We are constantly soaking up mixed messages in our culture and while apparently able to choose free love and sexual expression, we are also weighed down by the appalling advent of AIDS. Guilt, shame and fear are deeply embedded in our communal psyches while we constantly bear witness to abuse and violence connected with sex.

Sex is for sale on every magazine stand, yet we aren't taught how to be sexual in a way that changes and expands our being, including our love for ourselves and each other.

Into this crazy world comes Tantra (actually thousands of years old, but new to the western world), inviting us to slow down, be in the present moment, celebrate our aliveness and to explore intimacy as a Sacred Journey.

Tantra offers us a soothing balm to assuage our vulnerability around our sexuality. It urges us to explore the whole range of sexual energies beyond the simple black and white of "let's do it," or "let's not." Tantra embraces these two options, but also honors the territory that lies between them, acknowledging and enjoying erotic energy in new ways. This transforms the protective deadening of sexual energy or the leakage into 'seductive' or harassing behaviours, into a multifaceted experience of our innate vitality.

Tantric practices engage erotic charge as a transmutable (flexible) force that may be directed to healing, meditation, creativity and empowerment within and beyond the genital focus. Westernised Tantra is a blend of psychology, relating and communication skills, therapies, massage, bioenergetics, Yoga, breathing techniques, meditations, visualisation, energy work and ritual.

Practices cover a range from intentional celibacy, selfpleasuring, 'containing' erotic charge without 'acting' on it, or going into deep communion with a partner in what's sometimes referred to as 'High Sex'. From the Tantric perspective, when body, mind and spirit are one, sex becomes a profound meditation, alone or with a partner.

We are encouraged to take back responsibility for our own pleasure, awakening the inner lover first, being the orchestrators of our own bliss. With all the confusion and wounding around our sexuality we often need to re-acquaint ourselves with our erotic nature from a place of innocence and inquiry. Taking time to explore and heal oneself, whether from cultural confusion, physical or mental abuse, is sometimes a pre-requisite to reclaiming the joy of the body and our right to pleasure.

Selfpleasuring becomes a nourishing exploration rather than an unrequited release, giving us the self knowledge to be able to teach partners and ask for what we like. Some of the Tantric practices also require one to 'solo' practice until mastery of the powerful energies is achieved, before trying to manage them with the added stimulus of a partner in the equation!

Pleasure too, has it's own healing properties, filling our body with endorphins that support the immune system and give us a greater sense of wellbeing. Tantric practices include methods to prolong pleasure, delay or separate ejaculation from orgasm as separate events, and to open the body to streaming energies that create a full body orgasm for men and women. We can even learn to relax in high states of arousal, deepening the pleasure into blissful and ecstatic states.

In some ways Tantra invites us to return to a little old fashioned romance, delaying consummation until we've built up a relationship, opened ourselves to new levels of consciousness and presence, charged the energies with our partner and established an authentic level of intimacy. Then, we can use the sexual union to celebrate this intimacy.

We are sorely in need of new maps and models for honorable relationship and care of our sexual selves. With the wide variety of practices in the Tantric field, we can awaken and express our ecstatic nature in many new forms without having to suppress or hide them. Utilising erotic charge in a meditative or creative way gives many channels for the energy without having to 'act it out', which seems to cause us so much distress through inappropriate or unrewarding actions.

The Tantric path may be embarked upon from a simple incorporation prolonged pleasure techniques, to deep purification and ritual; it is being presented in the West by many teachers and books in demystified and easy to integrate forms that match the level of inquiry one may wish to make. Tantra reclaims a vital part of our 'Spiritual Anatomy' with the complete acceptance and embracing of our erotic/ecstatic nature. This is immensely empowering in the pursuit of wholeness and fully creative expression in the world.++

Roberta Skye is an Integrative Therapist based in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. She has studied with and assisted Margo Anand, author of The Art of Sexual Ecstasy for six years in Europe and the U.S. Along with a private practice in Counseling, Therapy, Sexual Healing and Enhancement, Relationship Coaching and Holistic Pulsing Bodywork, Roberta gives workshops in Tantric Arts for singles and couples. Contact Roberta at

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