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Tantric, like Sting

September 24, 2009

alan_finger-headshot-smallI.S.H.T.A – Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra and Ayurveda

Of course, the tantric nature of this practice was an instant draw for me. Who isn’t intrigued by hours on end of orgasmic pleasure?

After my time at ISHTA, however, I feel that I am very much justified in saying that our society has got tantra all wrong. I can’t vouch for everyone, but it seems that most people only tend to associate tantra with sex. For this, I would like to thank American Pie and Sting.

Being just one of the members of society whose brains flies directly to the bedroom at the mention of tantra, I wanted to know all about it and how it could be incorporated into my yoga practice. Well, first try not so much luck.

Luckily enough, ISHTA yoga has maybe the best beginner special in the area – an unheard-of $40 month unlimited package, no strings attached. Dharma Mittra Yoga had a very generous beginners’ summer special, for instance, that offered 5 classes (limited to beginner and gentle levels) for $35 (expires in one month). Don’t get me wrong, I went to a Dharma “open level” class and was promptly put in my place (namely, the beginners’ class) but it is amazing that at ISHTA I am free to sample all of their offerings over a month.

All penny-pinching praises aside, the yoga was good. Unlike a practice like Bikram or Dharma, it seems there is not a set series of postures, and the teachers have a great deal of freedom to create a practice that suites their mood, the day, or even the heat. Laura, my first ISHTA instructor, did just that.  I took a Dharma class recently and had my yogic ass handed to me, so I expected that ISHTA would do the same.  As a general rule I find restorative classes to be a yawn, but this was refreshing…as I am sure it was supposed to be. I even got to heighten the experience of my savasana with the aid of an herbal eye pillow. OH, yeah.

Even after post-class debriefing I’m still left wondering why this yoga practice is particularly sexier than any other.  I’ve heard that the key to harnessing one’s tantric energy is the meditation itself. In that case, I can harbor little hope of success. Perhaps I shall invest my time in another lesser-known area of yoga endorsed by ISTHA — Ayurveda.

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