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Tantra – How to Begin

tantra practice for beginners
October 19 2005

I regularly receive e-mail from readers of Jaya Kula asking how to begin practicing Tantra when one doesn’t yet have a teacher. It’s easy, but I have to warn you that some readers have not taken to my answer because it doesn’t involve any secret yogic practices or sex. In fact, it involves stuff like scraping your tongue and going to bed at a regular, proper time.

The authentic way to start practicing Tantra is to bring your daily conduct more in line with your constitution and Nature. This practice is called dinacharya. (Deen-uh-char-yah) Dinacharya means “daily conduct.”

Have you ever noticed that everything in life has rhythm? The rhythm of day and night, the rhythm of the seasons, the rhythm of the tides, the pulse of the heart, bird songs and whale songs, the rhythm of procreation.

This rhythm is also ritual worship. It’s what the fabulous Maharastrian poet Jnanadeva calls “natural devotion,’ or the devotion of the world for its own creations.

Most of us are out of sync with our own bodies, appetites, and Nature. We are acting without devotion, although we may have rhythm.

The “rhythm” most of us practice is called compulsion, and even addiction. Here’s a typical non-Tantrik daily routine:

Wake up a half hour before you have to be out the door.

As soon as, or even before, your eyes are open, start making mental lists and worrying about everything you have to accomplish during the day.

Down a huge cup of coffee and cold cereal or a muffin, preferably with the tv as accompaniment.

Keep worrying and listing while you are eating. You can do this mentally, or aloud to your spousal equivalent or roommate. Or cat.

Race to catch the bus or get through traffic to your job. (A job you likely hate.)

This routine depletes energy. It also keeps you bound to a very contracted sense of self and world. This routine has rhythm, but lacks devotion. It is out of sync with Nature.

Dinacharya takes all of this energy and uses it to establish a more natural, nourishing, devotional daily routine, one that conserves and nurtures your energy rather than depleting it.

Please take note: you simply cannot derive benefit from complicated practices if your energy is depleted. I can’t tell you how many sincere yogis I’ve met who are completely out of whack energetically and emotionally because they have not established a proper daily routine.

Tantra is all about conserving energy. Dinacharaya is the foundation, and its effects are profound. One of the most profound effects of practicing dinacharya is that you will learn about your unique configuration and what is needed to cultivate optimal energy and health for your system.

Dinacharya is part of the Tantrik science of life “ayurveda.” In order to practice dinacharya, you will have to read something about ayurveda and learn a bit about your basic constitution.

Most beginning books help you to figure out the best daily routine and foods for your constitution. If you live in a metropolitan area or in India, you can likely find a vaidya (ayurvedic doctor) who can assist you.

There are a number of resources listed on the “Ayurveda” page of Jaya Kula that are good for beginners and that contain instructions for practicing dinacharya.

But to make it even easier for you to begin, you can download a .pdf file containing a short version of dinacharya.

Of course, if you practice dinacharya every day for the next six months, then I will give you the very secret, very complicated sexual yoga instructions.

(Just kidding!)

OM Shanti,