My Yoga Background and Style | Tantra Yoga Overview

My Yoga Background and Style

Despite the fact that all Yoga disciplines are seeking the same end result, the philosophy and the practices can vary. Therefore there are many different schools which cover different styles and paths.

The schools that I currently teach from are Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Advaita Vedanta and Tantra. These four schools offer slightly different approaches, but are very interrelated. Tantra is the primary school which I practice with the Advaita Vedanta, Hatha and Ashtanga Yoga elements being used to support the Tantric Approach. Below are brief definitions of these schools:

Advaita Vedanta
Advaita Vedanta is based upon a philosophy of Non-Duality. Simply put Non-Duality states that God or Consciousness is all that exists. It explains the world we live in as being a manifestation of that One Consciousness. This is the philosophy that causes people to proclaim that "We are all One" or "I am That".

Advaita Vedanta's philosophy is often expressed by saying that life is an illusion and only Brahman (The Absolute, God) exists. Advaita Vedanta then teaches that Enlightenment or Self-Realization is the ability to directly perceive, without interruption, that Brahman is indeed in all things, and that God is indeed the only thing that actually exists.

Tantra
Tantra is a vast study that follows a Non-Dual approach. Tantric approach has been found in Hindu, Buddhism and Jain traditions which shows its flexibility with regards to religious and spiritual beliefs. In Tantra the practitioner seeks to understand the nature of creation and develop a conscious experience of the Divine Energy which manifests this Universe. This is done by consciously connecting with the Divine essence in all things and purifying the body and mind so that Divine connection is experienced more clearly. Regular Tantric practice transforms ordinary experiences into moments of Divine Joy and Bliss over time and eventually the Nature of the Self becomes revealed in all things.

Tantra includes such practices as Tantra Kundalini Yoga and Tantra Kriya Yoga. Hatha Yoga and its practices also come directly out of Tantric Traditions. You can read more about Tantra Yoga by clicking on "Tantra Yoga" after you have finished reading this page.

Hatha Yoga

This approach follow Tantric ideas of uses various internal and external cleansing techniques, Asanas (Yogic Postures) and Pranayamas (Yogic Breathing Techniques) to help purify the physical body as well as the psychic energy (prana) pathways in the body. As it advances, greater importance is placed upon increased awareness and control of the Prana in the Body/Mind system in an effort to fully balance the internal energy polarities.

Ashtanga Yoga
Also called "Raja Yoga" or the "Eight Limbed Yoga", Ashtanga Yoga is based upon the Sutras (written text) of Patanjali. Like Hatha Yoga, it also includes Asana and Pranayama as key practices in the beginning. Patanjali's Yoga was created from the perspective of the Nature of the Mind, rather than Union with God.

This is an 8 step path, starting with Yamas (Social Discipline) and Niyamas (Self Discipline) as a foundation, and building through the last 6 steps: Asanas (Body postures), Pranayama (Breath Control), Pratyahara (Sense Withdrawal), Dharana (Concentration), Dhyana (Meditation), and finally Samadhi (Salvation).

The practices of Ashtanga Yoga help the practitioner to develop control over the Senses, the Emotions and Thoughts. As Control over the thoughts and mind increases, true meditation begins spontaneously. The practitioner continues to learn increased focus of mind until the Mind is able stay fully focused on its True Nature. At this point the individual Mind becomes fully identified with the Universal Mind.

Tantra Yoga in association with Advaita Vedanta has been my main study. Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga were brought into my experience as an extension of the Tantric Path. It is next to impossible to be purely of one school. All schools influence each other, and likewise I am a product of the culmination of my understanding of the different schools which have affected my personal path. These various schools of Yoga have been important to my personal education and experience, and provide me with a variety of tools and perspectives to offer my clients and Yoga students. When working with yoga students, I offer the specific techniques and practices which I feel will best benefit the group or individual based upon the intention of the Yoga Practice for that person or group.



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Tantra Yoga Overview

Tantra is a long tradition of Yogic practices and techniques which attempt to integrate and weave awareness of the divine into Daily life.

Despite Tantra's popularity in the west as a practice for better sex and deeper intimacy, its original intentions are much deeper and aimed at the expansion of consciousness.

I teach and offer Tantra as part of the Traditional system of Yoga as a way of connecting more deeply with the Self and Spirituality. I teach it in conjunction with Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga which are also part of Indian Traditional Yoga.

I also teach the westernized Tantra which focuses on working with the erotic energies, offering that as an extension of the true Tantric Yoga. In this context, I offer the philosphies, instructions in specific techniques, education and coaching as a guide for you to delve into it as a private practice. For information on Western Tantra which deals with Sexual energy please read the "Western Tantra Coaching" section below after completing this introduction.

This section is an overview of Tantra Yoga as a Spiritual Discipline and Path.

Like all Yogas, Tantra is a scientific method which is designed to systematically prepare the body and mind to explore and experience the True Nature of the Mind or the Self. It seeks to purify all aspects of the individual so that the Individual Consciousness can merge with the Supreme Consciousness. This experience is most commonly called "Enlightenment" or "Self-Realization".

Tantra is a specific Yogic path which includes many different techniques, practices, tools and philosophies. Many of the commonly discussed types of yoga, including Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Mantra Yoga and Kriya Yoga all are a part of the Tantric Tradition. In fact, Tantra has a philosophy of including everything and utilizing any means necessary to achieve the final goal, and thus it is easy to incorporate many different paths into the Tantric Path. It is so inclusive that it can be utilized by anyone of any religious or spiritual background.

Tantra as a path is an exploration of Life and the Energy which creates life. This Energy or the Power of Consciousness is referred to as "Shakti" and Consciousness or the Witnessing aspect is referred to as Shiva. In Tantra, the practitioner seeks to connect to the Divine Nature of all of creation and weave that sacredness into every aspect of his life.

This "Weaving" is an integration of and acceptance of all of life within the Practitioner and is done through various stages using specific techniques which are appropriate to the individual's needs. Once the Divine Nature of life has been experienced in all things, the Practitioner then seeks to awaken Kundalini (the Shakti force in the body) and then merge Shakti and Shiva within his own Consciousness. This Unification of Shakti and Shiva creates the state we call "Enlightenment" and is the ultimate goal of Tantra.

Along the Path of Tantra, various changes in body and consciousness occur which produce increased levels of peace and joy in the practitioner, all the while deepening the practitioners awareness of the Energies which make up life.

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“Every bodily movement has its source in the divine. Everything we do, everything
seen or heard, tasted or touched, can be undertaken as a devotional practice.”
David A. Cooper, Entering the Sacred Mountain