The Sanskrit word Tantra means expansion, so the concept behind performing tantric yoga is to expand all levels of consciousness to reach the inner Shakti or Cosmic Being. Tantric yogis attempt to focus on the spiritual energy within to overcome all subconscious confines and boundaries. It aims to arouse and synchronize the opposing factors inside each yogi in order to reach the internal divine life or cosmic force, whether it is on a waking level, sleeping level or in a state of dreaming.
In order to attain these levels, it is important to practice tantra yoga under the supervision of a Guru or Tantric Acharya, as they can help you to learn the proper way of identifying the key factors that influence the feelings and thought process. This in turn allows the yogi to overcome the hurdles such as narrow-mindedness, egocentricity, self centeredness and unawareness that restrain from acquiring harmony and peace. As a result Tantra yoga encourages the yogi to achieve levels of central focus and altruism.
Tantric yoga has three different schools: Kaula, Mishra and Samaya. All three vary in their nature with respect to the practice that is required.
KAULA TANTRA: This tantra teaches control over the lower part of the body, including the lower spine and the reproductive organs. The purpose is to gain control over physical needs of the body and use the force not just for sensual pleasure. For yogis looking to enhance their tantric yoga skills, there are a number of teachers available along with written script that can guide them in honing their skills. Kaula is one of the most popular forms of tantra being widely known in the USA as well. However, it is important to find an instructor who has authentic experience and knowledge about the schools of tantra.
MISHRA TANTRA: The word Mishra means mixed; therefore it is a mixture of internal and external rituals. It is a higher practice than Kaula and involves more advanced practices. The main focus of Mishra is on the heart with devotion towards the feminine principles of the universe. All practices are done in the mind by focusing it towards the inner heart and do not require the use of any external objects.
SAMAYA TANTRA: The word Samaya can be translated into the expression “I am with you”, as it refers to the emancipation of the Shakti. This is the highest form of tantra and opposed to the Kaula and Mishra, Samaya is based on pure yogic practice without the interference of any external rituals. Samaya aims to lead the yogi towards self realization and inner liberation with meditation. The pure meditative state ensures that the energy is channeled upwards to achieve spiritual union at the top of the head.
As tantric is a purely meditative form of yoga that acts as the basis of the entire mental and physical characteristics of the individual, a genuine yoga lover will eventually come across the enlightenment and energy that it seeks to promote. The different schools of tantra provide the yogi to explore their spirituality to its inner most depths.