Tantra Yoga History

"Shivakti Tantra Yoga is an offering of honoring, cultivating and exalting this experience of inner alchemy and embodiment through the ancient lineages of traditional Tantric Yoga. Through Asana, Pranayama, Bandha, Kriya, Dhyana and Puja we prepare the body for the alchemical process of Kundalini Awakening. Deepening into Tantric theory we get to know intimately the forces of nature and consciousness that are the essence of existence, and explore the multiplicity of inner frequencies through their embodied forms as Gods and Goddesses, primarily Shiva and Shakti in their many faces. Drawing primarily from the two main lineages of Tantra; the Shakti oriented Sri Vidya system, and the Shiva oriented Kaishmir Shaivist system( Kaula Trika), we weave the powerful Tantric languages of Mantra, Yantra, and Mudra to connect us deeper with the powerful forces of creation that are Shiva and Shakti within us.

Shivakti Tantra Yoga is a weaving of the red and the white, the Sukra, or seed, and Rakta, blood, the left and the right hand paths. It is an invitation to remember our own Divinity, to awaken our true nature, and to begin living as embodied Dieties through the temple of the heart, and the way of beauty and mindfulness. Remembering the ultimate goal,  allowing this powerful creative force to guide our souls into the light of ultimate consciousness and union with the Divine." - Halo Seronko

Tantra Yoga, Seeing the Sacred in the Mundane

Although it only formally became relevant in the East after the fifth century A.D., Tantra Yoga (or Tantrism) is an ancient form of yoga. It is a path of ritual and esoteric practices to awaken shakti (latent cosmic energy).

One of Tantra Yoga’s basic principles is seeing the sacred in the mundane. The objective of Tantric training is to transcend the barriers between the holy and unholy as a means to reveal our Real Essence, the Self. A Tantric practitioner aims to see all aspects of the natural world as manifestations of the Divine Shakti. Tantra celebrates the human body and seeks to unite all dualities within the body. While Raja Yoga (“royal” yoga) emphasizes the restraint of the fluctuations of the mind as the way to liberation, Tantra Yoga asserts that we should open to the prana (cosmic life force) both within and without the body in order to awaken to the Divine.

A World-Embracing Approach

Tantra Yoga is characterized by its acceptance of the world—of all events and experiences—viewing everything as complete and appropriate aspects of life. Our life experiences become the arena in which we cultivate spiritual understanding. Unlike many traditions, which deny the world or have strict rules and ritual prohibitions, the Tantric tradition recognizes that no area of life should be rejected. Freedom, spontaneity, creativity, and well-being in this lifetime are the experiences a Tantric practitioner seeks. Tantric practices are an exaltation of energies and feelings, all aimed at revealing the Spiritual Heart (the Supreme Self).

There Are Three Main Types of Tantra Yoga:

  1. Left-Hand Tantra (vama marga), While many of  the practices of right-hand Tantra are performed, the left-hand also includes sexual techniques and other non-conformist practices (eating meat, drinking sacrament, occult and ceremonial magic)... Non-orthodox: there is no difference between pure and impure.
  2. Right-Hand Tantra (dakshina marga), This includes the use of a variety of ritualistic methods and is a more rigid path. The practices are more orthodox in nature. It focuses on the practices of mantra, yantra, mandala for meditation. It also includes worship of deities, pilgrimages to sacred sites, use of fire, metal, and herbs. The practices may be elaborate and sometimes complicated. It is also referred to as White tantra, as there is more emphasis on purity. In the rituals and worship, only “pure” objects are used. This group emphasizes more on austerities and condemns the use of liquor, meat, fish and sexual union.
  3. Direct Tantra, which focuses on meditative practices

There is also Neo-Tantra, which we explain as "the Left-hand of Left-hand Tantra!" We will discern the distinctions between Western Neo-Tantra and Classical Tantra.

Tantra Yoga uses the power of mantras (sacred formulas) and yantras (diagrams symbolizing the Cosmos or various divinities). In some practices, Tantra also uses the help of healing and purifying plants. Rituals are consecrated to Shakti (the Divine Mother) in Her countless forms, or to Shiva (the supreme transcendental reality). Tantra Yoga also uses asanaspranayama, and mudras, and has a synergistic relationship with Bhakti Yoga (the yoga of Devotion). An important part of Tantra (even considered its heart) is Dasha Maha Vidya Yoga (the yoga of the Ten Great Wisdoms).

The Dasha Mahavidya (10 aspects of the Adi  Parashakti) are from Tantra and are embodied by 10 wisdom goddesses. While the gods are embodiments of laws of nature, the goddesses are embodiments of the powers (Shakti) that drive them and all of creation. The first cannot function without the power of the second.

We will place a large emphasis on the book, Tantra Illuminated by Christopher Hareesh Wallace for tracing and understanding Tantra Yoga History.