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Do Yoga and sex go together?

As soon as you say the word Tantra you think of sex and as soon as you say the word Yoga you think of flexibility of the body. Wrong! That's what the old sages tell us.


What does the word Tantra mean? It is a Sanskrit term meaning "loom" and is also translated as "doctrine", "spiritual teachings". Tantra is a tool for expanding consciousness. In other words, the synonym for the word Tantra is meditation.

And Yoga? Yoga also comes from Sanskrit and means "union" between body and soul. Yoga is an ancestral practice that considers the body its temple and as such calls for keeping it in good condition. Yoga in the Western world is only perceived as a series of asanas (positions), merely a training of the body, but the real purpose of traditional Yoga is to train the body in order to connect with our inner "self". Hence, to meditate. In practice Yoga and Tantra aim at the same goal and that is to offer the practitioner meditative experiences. Their methods are very different and often seemingly contradictory.

For example, in ancient Yoga, the practitioner is advised to elevate sexual energy into spiritual energy. This does not mean suppressing sexual energy but trying to control it. Why? Because sex is seen as a waste of energy and energy should not be wasted but used for transcendence. The ideal yoga is therefore one in which one abandons sex in order to achieve a higher degree of transcendence, bliss and indeed union over time.

"If possible, leave sex behind," say the sacred texts, "change the direction of your mind by following the spiritual path and greater things will happen". Sex is considered an obstacle to spiritual evolution. What does Tantra say? Almost the opposite. That the transcendental experience of sexual union should be used on one's path to spiritual awareness. What does that mean? That one of the systems is in error? No, absolutely not. Simply that they approach the question of attaining transcendence in different ways. The goal is the same: to meditate. Tantra says not to suppress one's sexual inclinations but to use the power of sex to achieve transcendence. "Make it not just mutual sexual enjoyment but use it to climb the spiritual path," the sages repeat. "Be aware of your heightened awareness during the sexual act, using it as a stepping stone to higher awareness."


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Un post condiviso da Claudia Riva (@claudiariva_yogaisrock)


For example, those who practise Tantric union perform the sexual act without allowing physical orgasm to occur, which requires an enormous effort of willpower and nervous control. Today's research says, however, that practising yoga can also have beneficial effects on sexuality. Improvements in sexual function have been observed in body awareness, genital blood pressure, and relaxation of the pelvic floor muscles.

The Oxford Academy's Journal of Sexual Medicine also points out how yoga can help in the treatment of premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. And this is true but because the modern world, as already mentioned, sees yoga as gymnastics. On one aspect, however, both West and East agree and that is that sex is an accumulation of energies. Whether one then decides to use these energies for mere pleasure or to elevate oneself on an inner level is up to the individual.

Certainly Yoga like sex is addictive, and if you don't want to become addicted to one or the other, try Pilates.



Illustration by Gloria Dozio - Acrimònia Studios