Tantra is an all encompassing approach to yoga.
The basic tenet of Tantra Yoga is that it uses any of the tools available- exercise, breathing, meditation, crystals, astrology, ayurveda (traditional indian medicine), physics, chemistry, alchemy, sexuality and psychology- just to name a few. Tantra is open to anything.
In Tantra, we use these tools to "reprogram" our thinking and find peace by accepting ourselves as human beings. In so many other practices throughout many cultures, we are taught to deny ourselves certain things that are seen as undesirable. Tantra enables us to find a way to accept these things as part of us, and it allows us to find a way to move beyond them.
In my classes, we start off with Mantra Meditation. We recite the Gayatri Mantra or the Mahamitrunjaya Mantra while using a strand of prayer beads , otherwise known as a Japa Mala. By participating in Mantra Meditation, we raise our awareness and create an inner sacred space that allows us to be fully present for our practice on the mat. The Japa Malas are useful tools in keeping count of the number of repetitions for the Mantra. This meditation is an excellent way to clear your head and raise your vibration. It sets the mood for the practice and is a valuable tool in connecting to the Divine.
Pranayama is also a major part of Tantra Yoga. In my classes, you can expect to be presented with the opportunity to learn many different breathing techniques. There are breathing techniques for calming, energizing, balancing, etc. The breath is one of (if not the absolute) most important things we do. Without air, we could not live. Breathing is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do before we pass on to our next plane of existence. Some say that the breath is the bridge from the physical to the spiritual. I believe this wholeheartedly. Breathwork is the quickest way to gain control over your emotions and mental processes.
The third component of my classes is Asana. This is what we, as americans, recognize as yoga. This is the physical work of Yoga. Postures such as Downward Dog, Warrior, Cobra, Childs Pose and MANY more are used to enhance the strength and flexibility of your physical body. Remember, that the entire goal of yoga is to gain access to the control panel of your mind. The physical work is a very important component of this goal. By keeping our body in a fit condition, it will allow us the range of motion to sit in meditative positions for longer and longer periods of time. The fact that we will become more and more comfortable in our bodies and in our daily lives is a very big added bonus.
Many yoga classes today concentrate on getting you in the class, getting you warmed up, wearing out your physical body and then sending you on your way. This is EXACTLY what I try to avoid in my classes. After the Asana (physical postures) is completed, I always lead my students through a ten to fifteen minute Savasana
This class is great for the beginner as well as the advanced student. Tantra meets you where you are. Each week will be a different class that focuses on different energetics such as grounding, uplifting, relaxing, and detoxification. Everyone is welcome. The only requirement is an open mind and heart. - Arthur Graye
Mantra is a very powerful form of meditation. It involves the repetition of a Mantra. This Mantra can be anything you choose, but in my classes we use Sanskrit Mantra.
Sanskrit is an ancient language that was created by Yogis in a deep meditative state. In their meditation they began to become aware that each part of our body vibrates at a different frequency. They then used these different frequencies to create the Sanskrit language. By repeating the mantra in Sanskrit, we are able to tap into these frequencies, raising the vibration of our bodies and our minds.
Mantra meditation is performed by using what is called a Japa Mala or prayer beads. A Japa Mala is a string of 108 beads that are joined together at the ends by what is called a Guru bead. Prayer beads come in different shapes and sizes. A beginners Japa Mala has 27 beads, while a more advanced practitioner may use a strand of 54 or 108 beads. This simply depends on the preference of the meditator.
I suggest this form of meditation to everyone because it has stood the test of time and I have had such good results personally. I believe it comes in handy for my clients and students who tell me that they can't meditate because they "can't clear their mind." The Mantra allows the conscious mind something to hold onto while the subconscious falls into a meditative, restful state. When done properly and on a regular basis, your chosen mantra will begin to constantly play in the background of your brain like a wonderful soundtrack to your life, allowing you to connect to your divine self any time you want or need to. This allows for us to live our lives with greater compassion and love.
In my yoga classes, we use two mantras specifically. The Gayatri is a call to Divine Light to shine in on our lives. It calls spirit to attend us and shows how much we appreciate its presence.
The Gayatri Mantra
Om bhur bhuvah svah
bhargo devasya dhimahi
dhiyo yo nah pracodayat
We meditate on the glory of the Creator;
Who has created the Universe;
Who is worthy of Worship;
Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light;
Who is the remover of Sin and Ignorance;
May He open our hearts and enlighten our Intellect.