What is Tantric yoga? Beginner tips, poses and sizzling benefits

A young woman stands upright with one leg bent backwards in the dancer pose.

When it comes to Tantric yoga, our minds always seem to end up in the gutter.

But although mainstream media’s perception of the style might all be raunchy sexcapades, traditional tantra isn’t only skin deep.

Instead, the ancient practice is about connection, not only with your partner but also with yourself.

If you’re eager to learn more about Tantric yoga and its sizzling benefits, keep scrolling for a simple beginners’ guide to this fulfilling practice.

What exactly is Tantric yoga?

Although often associated with tantric sex, this is just one part of tantra.

Meaning “to weave” in Sanskrit, traditional tantra is strongly tied to energy and connection. 

The purpose of the Tantric yoga practice is to lead practitioners to spiritual enlightenment and divine connection through the use of energy.

To tap into the body’s energy source, tantric yoga classes will make use of a number of yoga practices and spiritual techniques, such as asanas, mantras, breathwork, bandha (energy lock) and chakra work (energy centre).

What is the difference between Tantric yoga and traditional yoga?

A young woman sits on a yoga mat in lotus pose practising breathing techniques to activate her life force energy.

While traditional practices like Hatha yoga focus on the physical body, Tantric yoga is more interested in energy.

In a tantric yoga class, you can expect a variety of dynamic yoga styles, including Kundalini yoga, Bhakti, Karma and Raja. Breathing exercises, meditation, chanting, as well as Yoga nidra are also practised.

These exercises aim to awaken the life-force energy in the body, known as Kundalini energy.

This serpent-shaped energy is thought to lie dormant at the base of our spine, and only through yoga, meditation and breathing techniques, practitioners can push it to the crown chakra and expand one’s awareness.

Can you practise Tantric yoga alone?

Traditional tantra is divided into two different branches: white and red.

White tantra incorporates yoga and meditation and is typically a solo practice.

Although it uses sexual energy, the purpose of white tantra is to uncover a deeper understanding of the self and reach spiritual enlightenment in the process.

Red tantra is the side of tantra we typically associate with sex, and is intended to create a deeper, more intimate connection with your partner.

So, you can practise Tantric yoga solo or with your partner, it’s entirely up to you.

If you’d like to delve deeper into traditional tantra, a tantric yoga retreat or class is one of the best ways to experience the personal practice and reap its many benefits.

Top benefits of Tantric yoga

Although a healthy sex life is one sizzling benefit of Tantric yoga, it’s not the only one.

Like many types of yoga, tantra boosts your mental and physical wellbeing, helping you create an intimate connection with yourself and others.

Reduces stress

Incorporating powerful breathwork and meditation exercises, Tantric yoga has become a great way to relax and relieve pent-up tension.

As you slow down and listen to your breath, you are able to calm your mind and simply be in the present moment.

Practising dynamic yoga poses can also increase serotonin levels in the body, fighting anxiety, stress and symptoms of depression.

Improves flexibility

Tantric yoga poses are intended to be sweaty, strenuous and quite a workout.

For those that sit at a desk all day or are quite active and prone to injuries, tantra can be used as a form of yoga therapy, improving circulation and strength in the body.

Practising yoga on a regular basis will also stretch out stiff muscles, lubricate joints and expand your body’s range of motion.

Boosts spiritual growth and self-esteem

tantra is a transformative journey through the self.

During practice, tantra yoga teachers will encourage you to forge a deeper connection with yourself.

Through the various exercises, you’ll learn more about your mind and body, and become more self-aware and comfortable with the person you are.

This new sense of self-worth and improved self-esteem also amplifies our next point.

Greater intimacy

Partly a sexual practice, Tantric yoga can also work wonders for your intimacy.

Couples’ retreats often include Tantric yoga with partner yoga poses that are designed to help partners reconnect, build trust and strengthen their bond.

This type of practice is also a great way to improve communication with your loved one.

Solo tantric yoga poses for beginners

With so many amazing benefits, you’re probably wondering how you can take your first steps in this new practice.

While there are no set tantric yoga poses, many involve inversions, bends, folds, and twists to connect the practitioner to their physical body.

You can practise Tantric yoga on a retreat or class with an experienced tantra yoga teacher, but there are also a few beginner poses that are perfect for solo practice at home.

These poses will boost your confidence and self-esteem while promoting spiritual growth.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose)

A young woman stands on her yoga mat with feet hip-width apart and eyes closed in mountain pose

  1. Stand tall on your yoga mat with feet hip-width apart and hands relaxed next to your sides.
  2. Lengthen your legs and straighten your spine to the sky.
  3. Take a deep breath in, feeling it flow through your body and open up your chest.
  4. Perhaps close your eyes and allow your muscles to relax and tension to slowly ease in your neck and shoulders. 

Utkatasana (Chair Pose)

A woman bends her knees on a yoga mat with arms facing upward towards the sky in chair pose.

  1. With feet hip-distance apart on the mat, take a deep breath in and raise the arms overhead.
  2. On exhale, bend your knees and gently lower your body into chair pose.
  3. Keep your spine straight and focus on your breathing.
  4. Hold here feeling your toes and heels press into the mat.
  5. Return to mountain pose and repeat.

3. Virabhadrasana I (Warrior Pose 1)

A young woman lunges forward with arms pointing towards the sky in Warrior 1 pose.

  1. Standing at the top of your mat, step your right foot back.
  2. Bend your left knee slightly, bringing your palms together and raising them up overhead.
  3. Lengthen your right leg and feel a stretch in your lower back, glutes and hamstrings.
  4. Lift your gaze to your hands and hold before bringing your hands back to your sides.
  5. Breathe and repeat.

4. Tadaka Mudra (Empty Lakebed Pose)

A young man lies flat on his back on a yoga mat with arms beside him and belly sucked in practising empty lakebed pose.

  1. Lying flat on your mat, bring both hands beside you to rest.
  2. Settle into the mat and take a deep breath in. 
  3. Feel your spine stretch like toffee and your belly sink into the mat.
  4. Exhale, releasing all tension in the body and repeat.

5. Savasana (Corpse Pose)

An elderly woman lies flat on her back on a yoga mat with arms resting beside her and eyes closed in corpse pose.

  1. Lie flat on your mat
  2. Let your arms rest beside you with palms pointed to the sky.
  3. Maybe close your eyes and feel the earth cradle your body.
  4. Inhale, expanding your chest to the sky.
  5. Exhale slowly, allowing your breath to travel through your body.
  6. Stay here for a few more breaths.

Practising these basic tantric yoga poses each day will help you tap into deeply healing energy connections and gain spiritual growth.

If you’re eager to give Tantric yoga a try, a yoga retreat is one of the best ways to discover a new practice.

With Basubu’s bespoke online marketplace, you can browse a variety of yoga and meditation retreats and experience a new yoga style like never before.

Begin your journey today with Basubu.