“Practice (prayoga) is the instrument of liberation”
– Vina Shikha Tantra
Thousands of years ago, a new style of spirituality was initiated by the masters of the Tantras.
A never before seen set of teachings dedicated to the Feminine principle, called Shakti.
The unifying element of all these texts, teachings, and schools of Tantra was the attention they paid to the Feminine principle; long referred to as Devi: The shining one.
And yet this spiritual study was not of femininity solely in isolation.
Its close connection with the masculine, or Shiva principle, was considered to have just as fundamental a value.
In the body-mind, Devi is discovered within the coiled power of the Kundalini Shakti.
The key to awaken this Shakti lies at the heart of Tantra.
According to some schools of Tantra the Goddess manifests in 10 forms; known as the Great Wisdom goddesses – Maha Vidyas.
Above all, the greatest archetype of the goddess is as the Mother of the Universe.
The MahaVidyas emerge from the Tantric spiritual tradition most fundamentally as a representation of embodied spirituality.
These Wisdom goddesses represent a wide variety of concepts, experienced through the lens of the feminine Divine.
Some represent the fierce and mind-shattering Goddess
Others represent the beauty and graceful aspect of the Feminine divine.
And yet, all 10 forms of the Mahavidyas, whether gentle or fierce, are worshiped as the Universal Mother.
They’re understood as symbols of the stage of consciousness experienced.
Or even certain forms of perfection, wisdom, or blessing.
Tantra’s radical approach to spirituality is captured by the very definition of the term Tantra.
This Sanskrit word is derived from the root ‘tan’ which means to extend and spread out. And the second part ‘tra’ relates to freeing the mind.
Often interpreted as a teaching or Life-philosophy that broadens all understanding to the point where profound wisdom arises.
And without wisdom, there can be no genuine awakening.
According to Tantra, Awakening is not a matter of leaving the world nor of denying your body. Rather instead you enable the higher Spiritual Reality to transform your bodily existence.
At first, it can be difficult to see how Tantra is an intensely practical tradition.
Eventually you come to understand that it is, above all, a practice of direct realization:
Often called Sadhana.
The core theme of Tantra Yoga is the integration of the self with the Spiritual Self.
Your bodily existence with the Spiritual Reality.
Essentially, Tantra represents a more practical and embodied orientation that helps you to integrate higher metaphysical ideals with down-to-earth practices to live a Spiritual life.
The approaches taken in the Tantric tradition are characterized by a rich array of rituals, placing particular focus on:
- Purification Sadhanas For Body & Mind (Bhuta Shuddhi)
- Sanskrit Mantra Recitation
- A Process of Visualization
- Specific Meditations – dhyana
Gloria and I are delighted to announce Tantra Yoga & The 10 Mahavidyas, Vidya Institute’s first-ever course exploring the philosophies & practices of the Tantric tradition.
You will join together with Iyengar yoga teachers and practitioners alike for a combination of philosophy & scripture lectures in integration with guided mantra chanting and Asana-Pranayama Sadhanas.
You’ll participate in an exploration of the philosophy of Tantra, and develop an integrative understanding of key concepts in the yogic & tantric traditions including:
- The Purification of The 5 Elements Of Asana – Bhuta Shuddhi
- Guided Recitation of The Mantras From The Tantric Scriptures
- How Your Daily Lifestyle Can Be Aligned With Tantric Practices
- Understanding The Divine Play of Shiva & Shakti
- An Exploration of The Ordeal of Radical Self-Transformation
In addition to your examination of many of the main principles behind the Tantric Path, you will also study 4 of the Wisdom Goddesses (Maha Vidyas) in great detail during this first of two semesters.
The remaining Wisdom Goddesses will be explored during Semester #2 of Tantra Yoga & The 10 Mahavidyas.
Semester #2 begins in June.
Every Thursday you will begin to decipher these tantric scriptures, in accordance with Sri Krishan Mantriji’s teachings and BKS Iyengar’s commentary.
Thursday’s Scripture & Philosophy Sessions Include Several Components:
- Esoteric Teachings Of The Classical Tantric Philosophy
- An Exploration Of The Specific Techniques Of Tantra Yoga
- Guided Call & Response Mantra Sadhana of The Chandi Padh
- Understanding Each Mahavidya Goddess And Her Meanings
- A Detailed Examination Of Tantric Maps Of Meditation
- Lecture & Study of BKS Iyengar’s Commentaries Relating To Tantra
- Lecture & Study of Sri Krishan Mantriji’s Teachings On Tantra
During the guided integration of Asana-Pranayama portion of the course, led by Gloria Goldberg, you will place particular focus on Women’s practices in the tradition of Iyengar Yoga, with a focus on an integration with the tantric practices and principles.
An Important Note: Male practitioners should still appreciate that Women’s practice, while designed to support the feminine body, has a very specific utility for the biologically male yogi.
The internal male reproductive system – particularly the prostate – is in the same anatomical region as a uterus.
When men work with the subtle and organic anatomies of this region of the body, benefits are seen across the entire male reproductive system, particularly in regards to prostate health; a huge bane to the longevity and healthspan of men worldwide.
Regardless of the reproductive anatomy of the individual, the practices and philosophies of the tantric tradition will transform your bodily existence and lead you towards your spiritual core.
I look forward to seeing you with Gloria and I in a few weeks!
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