Tantric Myth #2: Tantra and Yoga are Two Different Things
Understand how Tantra, Yoga and practices like meditation are all connected. Learn the two core approaches to spiritual awakening and how Tantra’s approach is the most beneficial for those of us in the modern age.
Prefer to read it? See below:
Hello, it’s Jeff Craft, or Kali Das again! This is the second video in my series on common tantric myths.
Today’s myth is that Tantra and Yoga are two different things.
I will commonly hear people that come to some of my tantric workshops, or tantric meditation groups say things like, “Yes, I practice Yoga in the morning, and then I practice meditation”, or, “I practice Yoga and then I do my Tantra”. These statements imply there is a split or difference. But, even meditation is a part of Yoga practice.
The simple truth to this is that Tantra is actually a form of Yoga, when it is properly understood.
The meaning of “Yoga”, comes from the Sanskrit word means “union”. That is what Yoga means. It references the deeper intention that Yoga has of connecting what we have imagined our individual self to be and creating a union between that individual identity and the more universal consciousness that we could call God, or spirit.
That is where the union comes, that is the Yoga – the yoking of our individual self into this larger experience of consciousness, or God, or divinity, or however you want to call it.
That is what the real idea of what Yoga is. It is a systematic approach of self-evolving, self-awakening, self-healing that leads us from a state of suffering, of feeling separation, of experiencing attachments in the world, and leading us into a deeper space of presence, of love, of peace, that actually evolves from within our own being, within our own heart, within our own consciousness.
Yoga is ultimately connecting us back to the truth of ourselves that we have forgotten about. That is what Yoga is really inviting. Yoga is that process and Tantra actually invites the very same process. It just goes about it in a specific way.
There are lots of different forms of Yoga, but there are two primary approaches to rediscovering and reconnecting with that deeper peace that is our true Self.
The yogic teachings present as the highest outcome that the only thing that really exists is God. We can also call God as “consciousness” because it doesn’t have to be any sort of religious or spiritual idea. It is ultimately the essence of your True Self we are seeking.
Through Yoga we are trying to discover that. When we fully discover God, which is all that exists, it is the true nature of self as consciousness and awareness. In the process of discovering that the only thing that really exists is God, there are these two tracks, these two basic approaches.
There is a traditional yogic approach, which we could call an ascetic kind of approach. This approach goes about the idea of saying “the only thing that exists is God, God is pure consciousness, and therefore all of the things of the world are not God, because they are not pure consciousness. They are, in fact, illusions.”
This is the idea – a sort of a non-dual approach. The only thing that exists is God, this whole world that we have, and that we have been experiencing is all an illusion. It is this place that causes suffering for us, because we get attached, and therefore to ease the suffering of my being, I am going to reject this illusion, I am going to release all of my attachments. That becomes part of the process.
This is a legitimate path. Although it probably doesn’t appeal to you as you are listening to this, it is a legitimate path. However, it is a very challenging path. This is the kind of path that will lead people for their spiritual practice to abandon their family, go live in a cave, give up all their money and wander the streets begging for food, these types of things, as symbols and intentions around letting go of attachments. That is one particular path.
Tantra is another path or another philosophical approach. What Tantra does is it comes back to the original conclusion, and it says “Yes, the only thing that exists is pure consciousness or God and if that is true, that means that everything that I experience in the world is also pure consciousness, it is also God.”
So, instead of going about the process of rejecting the world, it actually embraces the world as being a sacred experience, an unfolding of the divine consciousness or divine being. Rather than rejecting it, it shows how can we peer beyond the veil and experience the presence of the divine right here in this world, in our bodies, in our food, in nature around us, in other people, in our desires, in our sexual experiences, in our creative endeavors, in our sense of purpose in the work that we do in the world. It asks “How can we begin to invite our life to become the actual spiritual process? How can the experience of living be converted into a spiritual path?” That is what Tantra really invites us to do.
There are many practices that begin to connect us to deeper presence, deeper embodiment of energies, deeper embodiment of experiences, and invite us to step beyond the limitations and the judgments that we may have for the world around us. We can begin to see the sacredness, to find the beauty, to find the acceptance of what is, and to be fully present and alive in the world.
Tantra ultimately invites us to be as alive, as blissful, as joyful, as loving as possible, while also being as peaceful and relaxed as possible. That becomes the invitation that it has. It is a specific path, a specific form of Yoga, but ultimately leads back to that same place of there being just one God, or one consciousness. It just goes about it through a different path.
What both systems will ultimately agree upon is that once you get to the final conclusion of really seeing and experiencing directly that everything that exists is pure consciousness and God, or that nothing that exists out here in the world is consciousness or God, that once you get to the nothingness or the all, that it all kind of melds into the same thing.
If none of this is God, and you find God beyond that, then you also experience the paradox of everything being God. If you go about the approach of getting there because you are trying to weave everything into being sacred, you get there and everything becomes God, you also again experience the paradox of it not being God at the same time. You get to experience both sides of the same coin operating in truth at the same time.
That is an explanation, a rather deep explanation on the non-dual approaches of Yoga, and how Yoga and Tantra are really the same thing.
As a side note, meditation is deeply, deeply connected to Yoga and Tantra as well. It is not correct to make a distinction between Yoga and meditation – they are both part of one single system. What most people think of as Yoga today, when you hear the average person say, “I’m doing my Yoga, I’m doing my Yoga class”, what they are actually referring to is what would more correctly be Yoga asana, or the postures that are connected to the Hatha Yoga system.
It can be helpful, I think, to make distinctions, at least in your own mind of understanding that all of these techniques, the postures, the breathing practices, the meditation techniques, and various other kinds of approaches to Yoga are all really connected to a single system, including Tantra being part of the yogic process.
That concludes the second of the myth-videos around Tantra, and look for the third one soon!
So, how can you go deeper into a genuine Tantric spiritual path?
If you are interested in exploring a path of transformation, growth, and evolution that weaves Spirituality, Sexual Wholeness, and Conscious Relationship together, then check out my Tantric Transformation Foundations Online Class series that will get you started on a path of personal evolution. It will give you a whole new way to understand your Self, you Relationships and your Sexuality that will take you towards greater joy, vibrancy, love, and abundance.