Week 8. Energy: The stages of tantric practices Copy

Tantric training involves three stages: perception, control, and channeling. Perception is the ability to perceive (feel) the energy in your body. Control is the ability to contain the energy, so one is not controlled by it. Channeling is the ability to move the energy.


Traditional Tantra started with the assumption that people are already competent in perception and control. Tantra was for people who had sexual energy and were well practiced at working with energy. It was a path to guide people in what to do with their sexual desire. In modern times, however, people come to Tantra with little or no experience of energy work. People also come for sexual healing and opening. For these reasons, Tantra has included sexological teachings to become more available to the average person.


PERCEPTION
When it comes to feeling sexual energy, women more often than men are prone to problems with perception. The two main factors that contribute to this are societal programming and the all-encompassing nature of a woman’s sexuality. It is common for women to need to work on unblocking and increasing their sexual desire, awakening sensitivity to sensation, and opening into orgasm. For some women, it is a matter of becoming aware of orgasms that are occurring without their conscious mind registering them. Men, on the other hand, generally have no problem perceiving sexual sensations. Some do, and they need to train their perception, but in general men’s training in perception is at the level of the subtle bodies. At the physical level, men are more likely to have the problem of being overwhelmed by sensation than that of being unaware of it.


Self-stimulation as meditation is very helpful for women to start to feel what is going on in the yoni. Women can use a dildo or vibrator to create sensations in the yoni. When using a vibrator, though, do not turn it on! Those rapid vibrations will actually cause the brain to reduce the sensitivity in the area, thus reducing sensation during intercourse. Practitioners must learn for themselves what gets their sexual energy flowing – whether they need visual stimulation, auditory sounds, physical sensations, or going into the mind to fantasize. They need to discover what gets them going and how their needs change as the level of arousal rises.


CONTROL
Women usually find it easy to control their sexual energy; the challenge for women is to let go of that control and go into tantric orgasms. Because men are generally more aware of their sexual energy than women, their efforts in tantric training are in the area of controlling the sexual energy. The average man has learned to relieve a build-up of energy in svadistana (sacral chakra, second chakra) by ejaculating. A tantric man makes a strong commitment to learn how to control and maintain the sexual energy without ejaculating.


Self-stimulation is equally important in developing control. A dedicated, consistent practice is highly recommended to develop mastery over the sexual energy. It is good for men to develop an intimate familiarity with their curves of arousal, and to practice sublimating the sexual energy.


CHANNELING
Once the sexual energy can be perceived and controlled, Tantra, in the traditional sense, begins. The sexual energy can be channelled toward a particular chakra for harmonizing, balancing, and opening. It can be moved to an area of the body for healing or it can be used to empower thoughts of self-suggestion and manifesting. The true goal in Tantra, however, is to use the sexual energy to develop high levels of consciousness and transcend duality.

SUPPORTS FOR CHANNELING ENERGY

Hatha Yoga provides a number of supports for channeling energy. Bandhas, nauli kriya, inverted asanas (headstand, shoulderstand, etc.), and pranayama can all be powerful aids to help you channel your energy. In sex, sublimation is essential. If the energy has not moved up through tantric orgasms, some schools recommend doing 15-30 minutes of Hatha Yoga sublimation techniques after each lovemaking session. For most practitioners, this will be required for at least the first three years of tantric practice.

Meditation, mantras, yantras, mudras, and visualization are also tools to channel sexual energy. Some people find vigorous shaking movements helpful, but these should be used with caution, as the energy may be dissipated instead of channeled. The energy must go into sushumna nadi, the central energy channel running up the spine.

Some additional supports for channeling the sexual energy toward the higher chakras are music, incense, and “black” lights (ultraviolet lights). Frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, and rose scents all have very high resonance.

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