Tantric yoga keeps popping up in my feed for “things to do in Chiang Mai”. A “Special Women’s Tantra Circle” is offered weekly to help women awaken their inner goddesses. Only 200 THB.
I have no idea what tantric yoga is, but a friend told me that it’s trying to achieve enlightenment through pleasure. Why haven’t I been doing this all along? I decide to take a class to check it out.
I’m not sure what to expect. Like most people, I’ve practice some yoga before. I know downward-dog and have done yogic breathing. I imagine tantric yoga may be similar.
I arrive to the session a tad late. The room is full of women sitting in a big circle. The instructor has been answering questions from the group. With an open mind, I listen. She explains that tantra involves prolonged sexual sessions with a partner. (Damn. I need a buddy.) The key is to stop before reaching orgasm.
Most of the women are nodding. “Isn’t the orgasm the best part?”, one goddess asks. The instructor explains that keeping the energy of the orgasm inside is much better. It allows you to be more energetic. More sensitive. She reminds us that we feel lethargic a few days after having an orgasm. (We do?)
She says that we are to stop just before the orgasm, and wait for everything to settle down. Then we can start up again. This will allow the sessions to go on for hours. “How do you know when you are finished?”, someone wonders aloud. “This is my favorite question,” the instructor replies with a smile. “When one of you has to go to work.” The women all laugh and nod their heads.
Next the instructor led us through some exercises. We stood with our eyes closed and our hands on our pelvis or “yoni” (the Shaktism word for the external female genitals. Thanks dictionary.com.) We were invited to breath into our yoni and observe the feeling. Then relax and sway in whichever way made us feel good. After a while we did another exercise that I would describe as Keigle exercises.
Now that we were warmed up, it was time for the men to join us. To prepare for their arrival, we stood on one side of the room, with our hands on our hearts. The instructor dimmed the lights and set some dramatic music.
The men were invited in, but stayed on the opposite side of the room. They were instructed to adore us. Just stand there and adore the women.
The women had the option of keeping our eyes opened or closed. I opted for closed, because opened eyes would just be weird. The music intensified while they “adored”. Then they were asked to verbalize their feelings with one word. They said things like: beautiful, soft, strong, peaceful, goddess. I have to admit, I liked being adored. Once I got over the feeling of ridiculousness, I eased in to having a group of strange men send their love over to me.
The roles were then reversed. The music became more epic, and the women said: strong, handsome, soft. Our instructor added “penetrate”. (What is she suggesting?) The session ended with a thank you prose that the men repeated after the male instructor, which the women reciprocated.
The final exercise of the night hadthe men and women to intermingle. There were about four times the number of women than men, and the men seemed to be an older demographic.
The activity was “oak trees and fairies”. The men spread themselves around the room. The were asked to stand still, like oak trees. Arms to their side. Relaxed. Eyes closed.
The fairies were asked to explore the forest. Touch the oak trees however your heart tells you to. The women gently touchede the men’s arms, or rested their heads on his shoulders, or hugged them strongly. (Un)surpisingly, the men were very receptive to being touched by anonymous women. And the women were equally open to to touching the men.
At the end of the session, we again sat back in a circle. The dim lights and soft music didn’t feel cultish at all. Now the female instructor was sitting in the male instructor’s lap, arms wrapped around each other. Both smiling as they have shared this “gift” with us.
It turned out that this session was part of a longer 6-day course, that is available for 4200 THB. Many people were taking the long course as a couple. The next session was a movie about tantric yoga, that although contained real sex, the instructors affirmed was not porn.
Unfortunately for me, I can’t say I gained anything from the class. I got a glimpse into the mysterious world of tantric yoga, but it didn’t leaving me craving for more.