Jana believes that the spice of life can be found in the exploration of other cultures, good food, and wine.
Why do I Need to Prepare my Body?
Tantric preparation takes time — for a good reason. When you are sick or tired, neither you nor your partner will enjoy the evening. While tantric evenings are not usually demanding, a level of fitness won't hurt. Finally, let's face it — if you look like a T. rex dragged you backwards through a thorn bush, you won't feel attractive. Tantric practice places emphasis on beautiful surroundings and clothing. This is not vanity. When you feel good about yourself physically and the room is arranged in a way that excites or tranquilizes, then lovemaking goes up a notch.
Yoga is an Amazing Choice
Tantra has Colour and You Want White
When it comes to this ancient eastern art, there are two kinds. Perhaps a better description would be two halves somewhat blurred near the borders. They are called white tantra and red tantra. You guessed it, red is the colour of fiery passion and touch upon all practices, exercises and rituals that are more sexual in nature. In a nutshell, white tantra is geared towards preparation and always includes a fitness regime. For the purpose of this article, we'll focus on the latter.
If you are doing yoga, then you are already following one of white tantra's most preferred paths. Some asanas, or poses, remain the same as with regular yoga. But there are also postures couples can do together, in traditional or adapted versions. While yoga allows the one of the best physical and mental preparations for a tantric lifestyle, it's not law. If you despise yoga with all of your soul, then it's perfectly fine to choose something else. Pick an activity that is enjoyable, brings fitness and also uplifts your mind and spirit. For some this is dancing, walking the dog, walking the kid or martial arts.
It's believed that energies flow through the spine, making back health important to tantric practices. A hunched spine also hampers proper breathing, which is another crucial element in tantra. Yoga is a spine tonic of note, but if you choose another fitness routine, remember to foster spine health and of course, protect your back.
Would You like some Tantra with That?
Closely linked to physical fitness, diet also needs to be taken into account. By now you must realize that preparation for a tantric night is ongoing and not limited to the few hours beforehand. “Diet” doesn't mean you must follow a certain menu designed by some obscure guru. Just eat in a healthy manner. Your grazing habits needn't be perfect but moderate the bad ones and if possible, abstain as date night approaches. Things won't go well if somebody's drunk, ate a heavy meal just before going into the bedroom or you feel sluggish because you haven't done a detox since the last Aztec eclipse.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Stay hydrated but don't drink too much as the time arrives. The steam of romance wasn't build to withstand bathroom breaks in the heat of things.
- Eat as healthy as you can.
- Research safe detox recipes - emphasis on 'safe'. Who created the detox and what do others say? Listen to both the happy users and whoever had complaints. Happy reviews are often faked, but not the negative ones. Unfortunately, the world of detox is a minefield with safety concerns. If you have a medical condition, also research any harmful side effects.
- We all appreciate certain snacks that doesn't exactly qualify as healthy. If you can't cut it out, keep it at a minimum. Let's be honest; what would life be without that cookie?
When Mental is Physical
Increasingly, fitness experts are realizing what eastern traditions have known for thousands of years. There are times when the body and mind cannot be separated. More specifically, with tantric preparation, it boils down to learning relaxation. If this seems to have nothing to with muscles, bone and skin, think again. Any person battling modern life knows what it's like to feel exhausted or sick from stress. After an emotionally bad day, even though you didn't physically do much, it feels like you fought a bear – and lost. Mental stress weakens the immune system and bugs like viruses and bacteria just love that.
Learning to relax is possible but not to permanently float in a Zen haze. Life has too many curve balls and a lot of people live with chronic high-stress situations. This has become the new normal. If there was a championship for homewreckers, modern life would take the gold medal. Increasing demands, debts and fractured coping skills are all driving couples apart. To weather life's difficulties together, tantra is an invaluable tool for couples as it teaches intense bonding even without the sex.
Treating yourself to relaxation has obvious short-term ideas — a nap, hot shower, a funny movie. But the most potent are practiced persistently. A meditation practice is invaluable but so is another aspect that is often overlooked — learning to accept your body. In the face of our youth obsessed society and digitally altered models, we fall short of an unachievable goal — eternal youth and impossible bodies. So, what if you carry a bit of extra weight or you just hit the 50s? Not loving one's own unique physique is a constant stress humming just below the surface. It takes time and repeated effort to make peace with our bodies but in the end, the liberation it brings will amp up your vitality, confidence and tantric nights.
Your Tantra Wardrobe
When the Night Arrives
Fantastic. You and your partner have decided on a special day. Now is the time to enjoy those short-term preparations that focus on making yourself feel clean and beautiful.
- Brush your teeth and hair beforehand.
- Many couples have a ritual bath or shower together. This needn't be so structured that all spontaneity swirls down the drain, but stay true to the aim which is to bond and not to have sex just yet. Often, the man and woman will wash each other with deliberate moves that are non-sexual and use scented oils and soap. This fosters care and anticipation between the couple.
- While not necessary, some couples make an effort to dress in beautiful clothes after bathing. Even the guy. It is not unusual for practitioners to dress in attire that reflects the east or certain deities. It may sound strange to those new to tantra but this honours the art and both partners.
This article introduces the basics of physical tantric preparations. The true scope is much broader but by now you should have a good idea of what you need to focus on — fitness, eating and drinking in a healthy manner, honouring the body-mind connection, physical hygiene and of course, to enjoyably incorporate them into your life. Even without tantric nights, such tweaks makes for a healthier and longer existence.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Jana Louise Smit