How do you celebrate the Month of Love?
The ancient wisdom of Tantra can help expand our experiences in love and life. With deep roots in Hindu and Buddhist traditions, Tantra is an art and science of making love to life.
Here are a few techniques to bring Tantra into your daily life –
1. Breathe. Oh, you’re already breathing? Perfect! Keep going. Invite your breath to be bigger, deeper, fuller. Uh-huh. Bring more energy into you body with each inhale. Exhale, and empty your lungs completely, making space for the next inhale to be even bigger. Again! You can keep doing it while you read!
Once you feel that your breath and your awareness are connected, bring your attention to the pause after the inhale, before the exhale. Let your awareness rest for a few seconds in that pause. Exhale, and notice the pause at the end, before your next inhale begins. In Tantric scriptures, it is said that these pauses are portals to truth. On average we breathe around 20,000 times per day, each breath is a portal to our innate bliss.
2. Connect with your feminine aspect. In the Tantric perspective, life in all of her ever-changing forms corresponds to the Divine Feminine. Spending time in nature, (even tending to houseplants!) can remind us of our connection with all of life. We can replenish our life force from Earth’s generous reservoir. Creative expression, chanting, dancing, and self-love rituals are all ways to celebrate and nourish our sacred femininity.
3. Connect with your masculine aspect. Tantric philosophy relates the Divine Masculine to pure consciousness. With clear presence, we can recognize our essence beyond our physical form, and stay centered in the inevitable chaos of life. The sacred masculine in all of us is nourished through meditation practices that develop presence, focus and clarity.
4. Marry your inner feminine and masculine. Tantra teaches us to transcend dualities and rest in wholeness. Life is fullllll of wonder, and most of the time, we are too distracted to really notice. Anytime we reject some aspect of ourselves, it leaves us feeling fragmented. Our power, creative flow, and desire for connection coexist with our need for structure, order and sense of purpose. Unifying our aliveness with our awareness helps us to be more fully present to the infinite miracles of Life’s unfolding.
Many Tantric teachings are presented in the form of a dialogue between Shakti (Divine Feminine) and Shiva (Divine Masculine). When internal conflicts between these aspects arise, we can embrace both. Honor the voices of each as equally important to support a harmonious relationship with yourself. Just as fire and water come together to make steam, uniting our inner feminine and inner masculine can make magic!
5. Engage the senses.The senses are another portal into presence. A simple self-inquiry like “what flavor am I tasting right now?”, instantly brings us into present moment mind-body alignment. We experience life through our senses – the more sensitive they are, the more fully we experience e-v-e-r-y-thing. One way to re-sensitize from city-life sensory-overload is to mute the sense of sight with a blindfold. With a partner, take turns playing with taste, touch, smell, and sound stimulation. Slow way down. Try using the mantra “half the speed, double the presence.” Explore going at 1/10th the speed with 10 times the presence. Expand the subtle capacity of your senses to experience sublime bliss.
6. Celebrate pleasure! Tantra advocates for pleasure for the sake of pleasure, as a way to honor and celebrate life. To fluff your daily pleasure-factor, try this quick embodiment meditation:
Tune in to your pleasure. Lean into the sensations. Use your breath to expand the feelings all over your body, sending them all the way into your fingers and toes. Record sensations of pleasure (warmth, waves, tingles, joy, turn-on, aliveness, etc) in your cellular memory by soaking them deep into your spongy bone marrow where your blood cells are produced. Yum!
7. Use breath, movement and sound to move energy. Just as water can take the form of steam or ice, energy can be dense, fluid, or formless. We can use our breath, movement and sound to play with alchemical processes of refining raw sexual energy into sublime spiritual energy. Tune into the vibration of energy when it is condensed in the sexual center. It often expresses with deeper sounds, even grunting. The movement from here is more staccato. When energy is active in the heart center, our sounds are more vocal and melodic, and our movement has a lightness to it, like riding waves. Use your breath as a catalyst to explore sound and movement as you direct energy through your body. Notice how it has different qualities in each center.
8. Play! Play is the spirit of life itself. As children, we play naturally, as adults we often forget to play. In Tantra we use the term “Lila” or Leela” to represent the Divine Play. Invite the spirit of play into your daily life. Activities like laughter yoga, comedy improv, clowning, and game nights can boost your development of playfulness muscles.
9. Free yourself from goal-oriented lovemaking. Emerson said, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Now that your senses, pleasure and play muscles are all activated, invite yourself and others to release all pressure to perform in bed. Let go of the concept of climax as a finish line. Explore love-making as a continuum, with no beginning and no end.
10. Meet life as it is. Honor the full spectrum of feelings and experiences. All of them. When we stop fighting ourselves internally and love ourselves just as we are, we free up a lot of energy. This gives us more agency to make conscious choices about how we engage with life. Tantra is about making love to reality with each breath we take.
May these Tantric tips bring more pleasure and radiant aliveness to your Month of Love!
For more, check out The Alchemist’s Kitchen’s Season of Love Collection of herbal offerings here!