Tantra is a whole system of energy management that encompasses all yogic techniques and forms.
The goal of Tantra is to lead one to a life of joy, to see the sacred in everyday life.
Tantra includes: Ayurveda, yoga, psychology, physics, chemistry, mathematics, geometry, astronomy, astrology, numerology, physiognomy, alchemy, and others.
Prana is the basis of Tantra, Yoga and Ayurveda. Prana is our vital life force or breath. Tantra seeks to control the prana first and then works with controlling the mind. Tantra uses Hatha yoga practices of asana, pranayama, bandhas, mudras, mantra and visualization to control the prana.
The philosophy behind Hatha Yoga is to first purify the body, and then mind will naturally be ready for meditation. Raja Yoga which is enumerated by Patanjali” aims to control and direct prana by controlling the mind first, then purifying the body. Both of these systems are contained in Tantra. There are 3 signs to help one determine if their practice is moving them from a life of fear to a life of joy. The signs are: more fearlessness, more joy, and manifestation of intention. One will begin to see the divine in everyday life.
The meaning of yoga is “union with source.” Yoga science exists in four major forms and all have the same destination, union with source:
- Karma Yoga (yoga of selfless action, which involves subduing the ego thru selfless service)
- Bhakti Yoga (yoga of devotion, which involves subduing the ego thru devotion to a teacher)
- Jnana Yoga (yoga of knowledge, which involves subduing the ego thru study, inquiry, reflection, and the realization that all physical creation is an illusion)
- Raja Yoga (8 limbed royal path of yoga, which was outlined by Patanjali)
Raja Yoga includes:
the yamas (the rules for how to live externally, how we live with others)
- ahimsa = non-violence
- satyam = truthfulness
- aparigraha = non-clinging to possessions
- brahmacharya = right use of sex
- asteya = non-stealing
niyamas (the rules for how to live internally, how we conduct ourselves)
- saucha = cleanliness
- santash = contentment
- tapas = self-discipline
- swadaya = self-study
- ishwarapranida = devotion to the journey
pranayama (breath techniques)
pratayhara (pulling of the senses
dhyana (sustained concentration or meditation)
samadhi (bliss, integrated consciousness, enlightenment)
Hatha Yoga has roots in both Raja Yoga and Tantra. Hatha Yoga includes:
asana (physical postures)
purification practices (shatkarma)
calming of the mind thru meditation and relaxation
use of chakras (energy centers)
kundalini (dormant force or potential energy lying at the base of the spine)
kriyas (techniques for working with kundalini energy)
bandhas (muscular locks)
nadis (energetic channels in the body)
mudras (symbolic gestures)
Yoga postures facilitate mind-body coordination and mind-body synthesis, and bring about a natural balance in our bodies. Once imbalances have been assessed, then yoga poses can help correct those imbalances. We need yoga for Ayurveda because we need to realize our full human potential in order to use our good health properly. And we need Ayurveda for yoga because we need good health and vital energy to realize our full human potential.