Tantra Classes in San Diego
A philosophy that emerged in India around the 6th century, Tantra is an ancient system that continues to transform the way we live, breathe and see the world. Check out this ultimate guide for an in-depth understanding to learn more about what tantra can bring to your life and where to find Tantra in San Diego!
What is Tantra?
In Sanskrit, the word tantra means to weave. Whether you are riding solo or with a partner, this ancient practice can be seen as the art of weaving energy for the sake of healing, transformation and enlightenment. This path is “a bridge between the seen and the unseen [as it] integrates and merges the material and spiritual worlds,” says Jennifer Laurin, tantra practitioner and founder of Shunya Gates Temple. “By nature [tantra] is a matriarchal lineage, a feminine based system, that honors the feminine energy of the universe,” she adds.
Even though tantra is often synonymous with sex, it is truly about connection — whether that is with yourself or another. “At its very core, tantra is based in meditation” and is a practice where one learns to “circulate the Shakti energy within the body,” says Ashley Faith, holistic sex coach and tantrika. Those who practice tantric techniques often have an overall goal of freeing the soul and expanding consciousness, which can be accessed in a variety of different ways.
Some students on the path of tantra also use tantric sex as one modality to heal and transform. Sexual energy is ‘the energy that created you, and you would not be here with out it… it is a very powerful part of who we are,” Faith reminds us.
Intertwining spirituality, sexuality and mindfulness, the art of tantric sex is a slow and meditative form of intimacy. The goal is not about the orgasm but the journey, connection and healing aspects. “Sex is to tantra as sex is to life. It is an integral part that goes beyond pleasure and procreation. It is a place where we can deeply merge, not only with another, but with ourselves and all that is,” says Laurin.
While many couples practice the art of tantric sex, this gateway can also be accessed through an individual practice. “Through finding more ease, grace within ourselves, we find it within our relationships,” Laurin voices. This practice is about learning to be intimate in a way that is most comfortable to you — the act of intercourse or masturbation isn’t a requirement to experience tantra’s transformational benefits.
Types of Tantra
There are different ways one can experience the path of tantra. For the past 15 centuries, this practice has been an oral-based tradition that has been handed down from teacher to student. As it grew, the ideology of what is tantra continued to expand. In this time, how we understand tantra, can be broken down in a variety of different ways.
Traditional tantra was once broken down into two foundational paths, the right-handed and left-handed path. There are many interpretations to these two paths and its understanding can vary.
At the root, the left-handed path, also known as Vamachara, is described as an unorthodox form of worship that included taboo-breaking practices such as drinking alcohol, eating meat and sexual rituals. The right-handed path of tantra is called Dakshinachara. This path is considered to be more discipline-based and incorporates traditional Hindu spiritual practices that adhere to specific moral codes.
However, the middle path allows every individual to incorporate both right-handed and left-handed beliefs. “Tantra can allow us to truly create a life that works for us. It helps us create a life by our own design —the life we are going to thrive in,” says Jennifer Laurin.
Also known as sacred sexuality, neo-tantra, is the modern, New Age look of traditional tantra. Some of neo-tantra’s techniques include unorthodox practices but the classical pursuit of personal spiritual growth remains the same.
A categorization method known as the colors of tantra, is a modern system that was created by the neo-tantrika’s. This method “gives us a temperature gauge of the type of meditation that is being practiced [and] all of these incorporate sexual energy,” answers Ashley Faith.
White tantra, known as the more hands-off approach to spiritual growth, is usually a solo endeavor. Tools like yoga, meditation, breathwork, and sound are typically used in this container. This journey is similar to the traditional right-handed path.
Pink tantra is the middle path between red and white Tantra. There are exercises for both partners and soloist’s and the meditations and exercises are generally more intimate than white tantra but do not incorporate tantric sex.
Red tantra is a practice that is predominantly shared with a partner and primarily focuses on sexual embodiment and tantric sex. In this practice, partners learn how to meditate and experience ecstatic sexual union. This gateway is similar to the unorthodox left-handed path.
Black tantra is an advance practice focused on exercising manifestation powers, also known as sex magic. This practice uses sexual energy to manifest desires and dreams into reality. Also a left-handed path, some circles believe black tantra to be synonymous to BDSM or kink.
Benefits of tantra
The benefits of tantra are endless. When you consider the foundational practices of tantra being rooted in meditation, breath, movement and sound, you can begin to see the wide variety of health and spiritual benefits tantra has to offer. It is a unique experience for each individual and depending on which avenue of tantra you pursue, you will find its healing capacity boundless. “Anything that helps us raise our vibration and immune system can help in pretty much every area of our lives,” says Faith.
Some of tantra’s top benefits include:
- Spiritual and sexual healing and enlightenment
- A reconnection to body and intuition
- Enhanced sex life
- Relief from stress, anxiety and depression
- Greater sense of intimacy within yourself and relationships
- Mental clarity
- Harmonious life and relationships
What to expect in your tantric session or class
Every individual will have their own unique experience when pursuing the path of tantra. Your current level of understanding of energy healing, meditation, and yoga may influence your first session. Most practitioners will meet you where you are at in your knowledge and experience.
Tantra usually includes embodiment practices, breathwork, and some form of energy work. Depending on you and your practitioner’s intentions, the exploration of sexuality and sexual healing may be part of the experience.
“Knowing your boundaries is really important before exploring anything within that tantric realm,” cautions Faith. It is recommended to start your journey with white tantra if you are unsure what your intentions or boundaries are.
How to practice tantra on your own
Practicing tantra on your own can be as simple as implementing a meditation and breathwork practice into your life. Many books are helpful in sharing insights but it is important to put the lessons into practice. “[tantra] is not academic. It’s an experiential path,” shares Laurin. “Some deeper understandings can be more easily accessed by the support of those who have already accessed it within themselves,” she adds.
Both Jennifer Laurin and Ashley Faith recommend the books by Osho. His book Tantra, the Supreme Understanding could be a great place to start.
Tantra San Diego: Classes + More
If you are needing support in your relationships or personal healing, practicing tantra is one way to create deeper intimacy, healing and harmony within life. This ancient lifestyle has supported soloists and partners for 21 centuries and is continuing to expand and grow. Find a Tantra San Diego center or class near you!