I have never believed in religion. There I said it. Maybe it was the battles between my catholic mom and Jehovah’s Witness dad, or the excruciating catholic services my grandmother dragged to me to at the age of 4. Whatever it was, I was an atheist before the age of 10. I was always open to others religions but they never felt right for me, that was until I found the non-dual perspective, the Tantra lineage.
Now I’m not talking about the erotica otherwise known as Tantric Sex, I am talking about Hindu Tantra, the path that predates yoga AND Hinduism in northern India. 5,000 years ago, or so, there were many varying types of Tantrikas, those who practice Tantra. They chose to practice a lineage for the “house holder” or for the normal person, no renunciation or monk status, just normal people trying to grasp this extraordinary world. That said, there is very little known about he Tantrikas and the various branches of Tantra that existed during that time period. One of the few that survived to modern times is the branch called Kashmir Shaivism.
The Non-duel Perspective
Modern religions tend to be dualistic in nature, meaning that there is a separation of god and man, but the non-duel perspective says that there is no such division. We are all pure consciousness, divinely perfect at our centers. We are Shiva. Now Tantrikas viewed Shiva as a sort of god. Shiva is said to be found in the heart of all sentient beings, but due to life, we forget that we are pure consciousness. Layers and layers of emotional turmoil, traumatic events and exposure bury Shiva deep inside of us, it is only when you are open that true consciousness reveals itself to you.
My Tantra Practice
Everything in my practice is preparatory for meditation, because it is only when you quiet the mind and release the ego that you melt into existence.
Asana: To exhaust the body and tune into the subtle currents (prana) of the body. Honestly find a teacher or practice that feels good in your body, that makes you move and focus. I prefer to get lost in vinyasa as the linking of breath and movement grounds me. I include some Kriya Yoga, sometimes in the form of Kundalini and sometimes in the form of the classical variation of chakra work.
Pranayama: I practice pranayama either at the beginning of my asana practice or during various poses depending on the amount of time I have and how distracted I’m feeling. I LOVE BASTRIKA!
Meditation: Sometimes I take my meditation practice during my savasana or I conclude my practice with a seated meditation. I’ve tried a variety of techniques and my favorite is as follows.
1- Continuous Ohms – I used to hate omming but when I discovered how the vibration effected my mind and body I fell in love. When you stop focusing on the sound and start focusing on the feeling, the sensation in your body, that’s when omming transforms.
2- Sensing of Prana- I get very still and just notice the subtle movements beneath my skin, the currents of energy flowing all over my body and I try to concentrate on Muladhara, the root chakra. That is where I feel Kundalini, the Shakti energy. Once I feel the flutters I begin to concentrate more and more fully on those vibrations. Sometimes there isn’t much movement and other times I feel the rising of the energy as Shakti moves toward Shiva to become pure bliss.
When we see everyone as perfect, when we see ourselves as perfect, we experience bliss.