What is Tantra

What is Tantra

Did you know that Tantra isn’t just a sexual practice? Surprise! In today’s episode, we dive into the captivating world of Tantra. Hema talks about the origin of Tantra, common misconceptions surrounding Tantra, why Tantra is gaining popularity in Western cultures, and so much more!

Tune in and embark on a fascinating journey of self-discovery and enlightenment with Hema and our engaging discussion on Tantra.

Trina Krug [00:00:02]:

Good morning, Hema. Thanks for joining me today.

Hema [00:00:05]:

Good morning, Trina. How are you?

Trina Krug [00:00:07]:

I am fantastic, thank you. So we are going to have a conversation about Tantra today. And I want to tell everybody how excited I am because this is the topic that I think there’s a lot of confusion around and it’s something that I don’t know a whole lot about personally myself, so so I am super excited. So I would love haima if you could just kind of start us out with giving us what is Tantra and let’s go from there.

Hema [00:00:35]:

Yeah, thank you. I really love talking about this topic. And thank you for having me on your podcast. Yeah, there’s a lot of misconception out there, and it starts from way back in the don’t know if any of you are old enough to remember, but Sting, the head lead singer of The Police, started talking about the word tantra and started saying things about how he had, like, amazing, mind blowing sex for multiple hours at a time. Turns out he actually didn’t say that he was misquoted, but I think that was kind of the first emergence of the word in the Western world where it was more in the common vernacular and there’s a pop star using the word and so people have just kind of clung on to that. And tundra is really misunderstood these days. A lot of people when they Google the word, don’t Google it. I’m just telling you right now. They think it has to do with sex and orgies and all of that stuff. Yeah, like stuff that’s really edgy in terms of sexuality. And it’s really unfortunate because that’s actually not what Tantra is all about. And so there’s all this misconception and misperception in the Western world today. What I’m going to say is Tantra, like yoga, is an ancient philosophy, like thousands of years old. It’s actually a spiritual discipline. So a lot of people think that Tantra is about sex. Tantra. Classical tantra. So I’m going to share with you two words that I’m going to use. One is neotantra. And neotantra is really representative of everything that’s happening in the Western world around taking Tantra and making it about conscious sexuality, essentially. And then there’s something called classical Tantra, which actually is referring to ancient scriptures and ancient philosophy. So Tantra is actually a spiritual discipline. It’s a spiritual philosophy and way of life that leads you to a path of enlightenment. So it’s very different from what the neotuntras talk about.

Trina Krug [00:02:34]:

Yeah. So let’s dive into the classical Tantra a little bit and just educate us on take us way back and what it is.

Hema [00:02:46]:

Way back. Well, so Tantra is a philosophy that, as I said, originated in India, actually in the southern part of India over 2000 years ago. And it’s very complicated. Tantra actually has many different branches and lineages now. So when someone says they’re studying Tantra, you have to ask them like, okay, so where are you studying from? What kind of tantra? It’s not as clear cut as yoga is. It originated in the south, and it’s actually based on the worship of Shiva. So people who worship Lord Shiva as an instantiation of God are known as Shivites. And so Tantra is actually based on Shivaite philosophy, Shivaite teachings, and then it migrated up to the north of India, to the north of Kashmir. What I’m talking about specifically, what I study is Kashmiri Shivism. So there was a hotbed of teachers and scholars there in Kashmir, and then it kind of evolved and migrated over to China and Tibet. So there’s Tibetan Tantra. There’s Buddhist Tantra. There’s Taoist Tantra. There’s all kinds of different branches of it, but essentially, that’s where it started. And Tantra is really the foundation for yoga as we know it today. All of the spiritual teachings and philosophies from Tantra are the basis for Hatha yoga, which many teachers use as the basis for what they teach today.

Trina Krug [00:04:20]:

So is it similar to yoga in that there’s the spiritual aspect? Is physical practice just kind of all the different facets similar to yoga?

Hema [00:04:31]:


Hema [00:04:31]:

The interesting thing so this gets more complex. Right. With yoga, the original texts and scriptures didn’t have any physical postures. It was just about the philosophy, some guidance on how to meditate. And in there, in the yoga sutras, there’s like a loose reference to kind of move your body. I’m paraphrasing move your body, but mainly the idea about moving the body was to get the body still enough so that you’re able to meditate. I mean, yoga really the fruit. The goal of all of that practice is about having meditation, a clear, grounded meditation. So it’s interesting, they say that the physical practice around yoga, there was none until really and it’s a very complicated history there, but really until Ayangar brought a lot of the poses from India to the west.

Hema [00:05:22]:


Hema [00:05:23]:

And there are some precursors to Ayangar, but he’s the most famous and the most well known, so that’s where it becomes complicated. So Tantra, on the other hand, actually has a whole treatise on practices and meditations and breath work that are pretty prescriptive in something called the Vinyana bit of A Tantra, which is like a whole scripture. And in there, it actually offers meditations, super cool ones about how to control your breath and what to focus on when you meditate and how to access your subtle energy body. So that’s the difference there. But in terms of how the two yoga and Tantra have been taken from the east and then misinterpreted in the west, yes, that part is pretty similar.

Trina Krug [00:06:09]:

Well, I know for yoga, the Westernized yoga is almost solely the asana. It’s almost solely the physical practice and not all of the other things. And so has that happened with Tantra as well, in terms of it being I don’t know if modified is the right word, but you had mentioned the neo tantra and the classical tantra. So the neo tantra, is that more the Westernized version? So what does that look like? How is that different?

Hema [00:06:41]:

Yeah, it’s interesting because I actually teach both neo and classical Tantra. We’re talking about a very heavy topic of appropriation when we mentioned yoga and tantra. So yoga in the west has been purely focused on the asana, the physical postures.

Hema [00:06:59]:


Hema [00:07:00]:

And so you have things like core power yoga. I mean, I don’t want to call out any specific names, but these are institutions or groups that focus primarily on the physical. So it’s like an aerobics class, except some stretching. Right. But now their yoga studios are becoming more aware of the fact that there are these sutras, these texts from someone called Patanjali that actually outline the philosophy of yoga. So there are things like the eight limbs of yoga that talk about how to live your life and guidance on how you should be. So teachers are actually teaching more of that. So now I see there’s a surgeon emergence of people teaching the philosophy behind tantra sorry, behind yoga and combining the two. So that’s great because moving your body is also really important. What’s happened with tantra is actually something very different.

Hema [00:07:51]:


Hema [00:07:51]:

Whereas yoga kind of resembles the thing once you start teaching the philosophy, the neo tantra is completely different from the classical tantra. So Neo tantra actually evolved from kind of Western occultism psychology and conscious sexuality. And instead of I don’t know really why this is, but in the west, instead of using the term conscious sexuality, we use the word tantra to kind of COVID the gamut of intimacy and connection. And then the confusing part of it is that there’s also taoist tantra or Tibetan tantra that do talk about sex and sexuality. So a lot of people, when they hear Tantra, might think of things like semen retention or prolonged orgasm or non ejaculatory sex. That all stems from a very different branch of tantra, taoist tantra, that focuses in on some of those aspects. Not all of those aspects. It’s complicated.

Hema [00:08:48]:


Hema [00:08:49]:

The classical Tantra that I’m talking about, it doesn’t talk about sex at all. In fact, there’s maybe one or two lines that are kind of obscurely, talking about things entering and creative force, but it’s very obscure. With respect to the sex and sexuality piece, it really is more about the.

Trina Krug [00:09:08]:

Philosophy piece, which is so fascinating because I think what’s that movie American Pie? Did you ever see that? I think one of the young men in there was studying tantra, of holding back his orgasm. So he talked about that particular piece that you just mentioned. But I love hearing that there’s so much more to it. For me, personally, when I thought of tantra, I thought of the connection piece. That was where my mind first went. So what are some reasons why people would really want to start exploring Tantra for their own personal lives?

Hema [00:09:49]:

Yeah, it’s a great question. And actually, before I answer that question, I want to explain then what actually is classical Tantra. So Tantra is actually a path for the common householder. So common householder is like me and you, right? Meaning it’s not for the yogi up in the mountain wearing a loincloth, chanting a mantra 24 hours a day. That’s a different kind of philosophy. And at the time when Tantra was coming up, there was this kind of duel, I guess, between few philosophical approaches. The one is the vedantas and the other is the Tantricas. And what Tantra says is that you can achieve enlightenment by living your daily life, by being embodied in your body, whereas the vedas would say, oh, no, you need to meditate. You need to let go of the gross physical world and just go off and basically disassociate from everything around you. That’s how you achieve enlightenment. And Temptric kids have said, no, we’re meant to be in bodies. We were born in bodies for a specific reason. And so this path is really for you and me, right. How do we maintain love and compassion is one of the key questions of Tantra. How can you remain in compassion and in love even when your boss is yelling at you, for example? Or how can you remain in compassion and love when you have all the stresses of managing your children or managing your finances or there’s strife with your spouse? Can you stay in compassion and love no matter what’s happening around you?

Hema [00:11:28]:


Hema [00:11:28]:

And remove labels of good and bad? So it’s a very challenging way of looking at life, because instead of just dissociating, that’s easy. You just dissociate unplugged from everything around you and say, oh, God is somewhere up there divine.

Hema [00:11:45]:


Hema [00:11:45]:

The Tantricas. In Tantra, we say, Well, God is right here. God is right embodied within you. And so can you be with the physical body and all of its complexities and still find God through that process?

Hema [00:12:00]:


Hema [00:12:01]:

Can you still, when you’re changing diapers, find God? Can you, when you’re driving down the highway and fighting traffic, can you find God? And so it’s a more challenging path because it encourages you to be fully connected, be fully plugged into the life that’s happening around you.

Hema [00:12:19]:


Hema [00:12:19]:

Don’t separate, integrate, connect. So that might be the connection piece that you got from the Tantra piece, right. The people who should follow this path are really people like you and me. It’s meant for everybody. What I love about classical Tantra is it’s actually a practice that’s driven by the goddess. A goddess. It’s not patriarchal in nature, although a lot of the scriptures were written by men. But the way in which it talks about daily life is really a more matriarchal or I don’t like to use the words feminine, masculine, but a more feminine way of viewing the world. And so that’s what I like about it. It’s about being embodied truly in your body. So isn’t that for everyone who has a physical body, I mean, it’s really a very subtle, sublime, beautiful path once you realize that really god is within that’s so beautiful.

Trina Krug [00:13:18]:

Because I think especially in western society, our days are filled with so much fight and flight and stress and chaos and go go. And sometimes even in those moments when we can find ourselves stepping away from that constant stress, I think sometimes we move into a place of numbness rather than embodiment, as you said. And there’s a difference between being able to take a step back and just feeling numb versus being able to take a step back or even not even taking a step back. But as you said, bringing compassion and love to all situations rather than that numbness. And I think that is such an important thing, truly, especially in Western society when there isn’t a lot of that. It’s just this constant state of stress.

Hema [00:14:12]:

Yeah, and also, too, not only stress, but our attention is being divided in like a million places, right, with social media. And I mean, I get on my soapbox about it. There’s a lot of benefits to social media, but they’re also seeing some downsides that people just tend to pick up their phones and unplug.

Hema [00:14:32]:


Hema [00:14:33]:

So dissociation doesn’t mean that you completely leave your body or you go into a psychotic state. Dissociation really means, oh, when something gets too tough or when I start feeling an emotion that feels uncomfortable. And it could be a good emotion too, like what we label as good. I don’t like labels either, but we could be feeling joy, we could be feeling anger. But when something feels intense, right, people tend to pick up their phones, go on Instagram, go on Facebook, and I’m the number one. I’m guilty of that myself. When things get a little too challenging, I pick up my phone and I get the dopamine hits and then all of a sudden I didn’t have to think about that thing that I didn’t want to think about. And so it’s more important for us today because we have video games and now alternate reality games are coming up. It’s important to be connected to the actual reality that’s happening around us rather than wanting to just unplug and peace out. So a lot of trauma, for example, can be resolved if one follows an embodied process to feel the trauma. So it’s not about reliving the thing over and over again, right? It’s about noticing what’s happening in your body and really going through that process, right? Like express like rage and scream or cry or be enjoy or whatever emotion that wants to be expressed. And that’s part of being very tuntric is that let the emotion come out to the full intensity. And so this path is for everybody. I’m not going to say it’s the easiest path to be on because we’re so used to just unplugging and not dealing with difficult things or intense things.

Hema [00:16:15]:


Hema [00:16:16]:

But once you feel the intensity of something, it actually dissipates and the intensity lessens.

Hema [00:16:22]:


Hema [00:16:23]:

And then you’re able to move that trauma through your body. So it’s all fascinating to me is how it’s all interrelated.

Trina Krug [00:16:30]:

Yeah. And I think sometimes when we are in a moment of feeling our feelings, and even if we can go and find where it resides in our body and really sink into that feeling, there’s this tendency to want to like, okay, I want to get rid of it. I want to rip it out and just remove it versus being sitting with it in that moment and as you said, kind of experiencing that, but also finding that love and acceptance and all the words you use are just love and compassion is perfect. But finding that in that moment, as you’re sitting with it versus it being something that you want to just get rid of and completely remove.

Hema [00:17:12]:


Hema [00:17:12]:

Exactly. Western society, there’s also this other thing that happens in Western spiritual circles, which is, oh, if it’s a lower frequency emotion, I’m going to use the words good and bad because I actually don’t label things as good and bad anymore. That’s very much a society construct, but let’s use it for the sake of this argument, right? I was like, oh, well, anger is a bad emotion, so just throw some love and light at it. And that’s not very spiritual. If you feel your anger or if you feel frustrated, and I’m going to call BS on that.

Trina Krug [00:17:44]:

I agree.

Hema [00:17:45]:

We are human beings, right? We experience a wide gamut of emotions. And so the Tuntric path says, feel it all, it’s all welcome, right? There’s no good or bad. There’s no prescribed way of being. However you want to be in that moment is the right way of being. So if you want to express anger this is particularly empowering for female identified, by the way. If you want to express anger, express anger.

Hema [00:18:11]:


Hema [00:18:12]:

That is you being your authentic self. If you want to express joy, express joy. If you want to cry, cry. And we’re in a society where emotions are maligned, and I don’t understand why. I do. Because with the advent of social media and computers and now what could be robotics, right? We need to own our humanity. And our humanity is emotions and feelings and our bodies and our sensations, and that we need to reclaim that because otherwise we’re just going to turn into watered down versions of ourselves and wondering why we’re walking through life feeling unhappy, disconnected, dissatisfied, feeling jaded.

Hema [00:18:55]:


Hema [00:18:57]:

Feeling jaded is a key sign that something’s not right in your life. So maybe that’s someone who should come and study tantra, someone yeah, who feels disconnected or doesn’t feel like they have permission to express themselves, is someone who needs to study tantra. So with the trends that are happening in our society, to me, I feel tantra is more important than ever. Like claiming yourself, claiming your body, claiming your emotions.

Hema [00:19:21]:


Hema [00:19:22]:

That is the human condition, and we should be proud of it rather than shoving it under a carpet.

Trina Krug [00:19:29]:

What’s interesting I’m going to bring this into a very current topic that is more current than I think what a lot of people realize, and that is AI. And I will say that this is even more important because what you just said about it’s part of the human condition and part of our humanity, that I was having this conversation with someone the other day, and we were talking about AI. And how it’s here and it’s going to be here in a way that we can’t comprehend within the next year or two. And they were like, well, robots going to take over in this war. And I’m like, no, what I think it’s going to be with AI, because I’ve been an engineer my whole life. I’m very technical. I used to write AI programs myself back in college, right? I mean, it’s been around forever. Not the kind that are here now, but what I believe is going to happen, or could happen, I should say. And I believe as a human species, we need to be mindful of it, is that this takeover per se is not going to be this war against machines. It’s going to be the loss of our humanity, and it’s going to be the loss of human connection.

Hema [00:20:41]:

Absolutely. Yeah, I agree.

Trina Krug [00:20:44]:

That’s why this is what you’re saying is even so much more important now with the advent of AI coming and the fact that that could very much there is a future where that exists, where we lose that humanity and human connection.

Hema [00:21:03]:

I’m an engineer, too. I have that in common. And it’s funny, I also wrote a lot of programs, not AI specifically, but all kinds of programs. And yeah, the evolution of AI is both miraculous and frightening at the same time. And the head of AI technologies at Google has stepped down from his position so that he can talk about the challenges with AI. So in a time when, yeah, our own humanity is being questioned and our own humanity is being on the table, that’s what we’re fighting for here. We’re not fighting for robots who are going to give us drinks by the pool, right? What we’re fighting for is the ability for us to use our bodies, move our bodies, feel our sensations in a way that is not shaming or blaming, and to experience the full gamut of what human experience is all about. And that’s really what we’re fighting for. That’s why I think with AI. That the whole Tantra piece is so important, because, like I say, it is a fully embodied practice, right? So being in my body, I can achieve enlightenment that’s great, right? And enlightenment is a whole other whole other topic. But suffice it to say that when a person reaches a state of either enlightened being or enlightenment, suffering does fall away. And the Buddha everyone’s very familiar with Buddha’s teachings. That is actually a very basic tenet of teachings in classical tantra. So Buddha says that he received a lot of that inspirationally, but a lot of it is he learned it through the scholars that he was with. And so removing suffering is really part of why we’re here in enlightenment. So here’s the thing, right? Modern psychology will say, well, we create these stories about events in our lives, right? And that’s very true, and often we get stuck in our stories. And so if one follows a Tantric practice, though, you’re able to kind of pull away from the story a little bit more and see the thing for actually what it is, right, and move away from the story, which also moves you away from the suffering, around what may have happened. So someone may have said something to you. You imagine a slight that has happened to you. You internalize that. You create a story around it, oh, this person doesn’t like me, doesn’t love me, doesn’t want to connect to me. I must not be good enough. I deserve to be rejected. The story goes on and on and on, right? And this is a very familiar path for a lot of people, but if we just take the event as the event, this person said this thing, I had an emotion, perhaps there’s a clearing conversation that could happen, and you move on. The suffering is that much less. You see, okay, there’s a ripple in the field that needs to be addressed, but you don’t have to go into your story every time. And with the Tantric practice, you gain that ability to see that you are really divine on the inside. Once people fully embrace that and realize that, then all of the stuff that happens around them, it’s just noise, right? It’s like, yeah, okay, that’s kind of cool. I’m not going to let it spin me up in a way that it usually does. Can I still feel the emotion? Absolutely. Feel the anger, feel the whatever. But you don’t have to create a story around it. It doesn’t have to perpetuate itself over and over again. It doesn’t become a pattern. In the tuntric world, we talk about some scatters, which are patterns that happen in your energy field. When you repeat something over and over and over again, you create a rut, like a rut in the road. There’s a groove in the road. You actually create a neural connection or neural network that becomes like a rut in your brain, where your brain will automatically go to that way of thinking or being or feeling. And tantra encourages you to look beyond that and create different neural pathways. And Dr. Joe Dispenza talks about this as well, from a very scientific perspective. Yeah, I love him, too. Bruce Lipton as well, talks about this. But how do you access that different way of thinking? Well, you need a spiritual practice to be able to do that, to be able to see, oh, that is my way of thinking. First of all, gain awareness that this is my natural go to. I naturally go and beat myself up about something. Okay, well, what happens if once I become aware of that, I shift my thinking.

Hema [00:25:40]:


Hema [00:25:40]:

And that’s what a good spiritual practice can help you do.

Trina Krug [00:25:45]:

And it sounds like I mean, awareness is in part the doorway into the subconscious where we have all of our programming, and it sounds like tantra is one of the avenues into our subconscious. Programming is a different way to look at it in terms of becoming aware, because we can’t change that, which we don’t acknowledge. Right. And awareness exactly, is the first step of maybe we don’t know what it is or why it is, but we just know it is.

Hema [00:26:14]:

Why? I think for Alcoholics Anonymous and I’ve never followed the program, so I’m just speaking from what I’ve read, right? I’ve not experienced it. But the very first thing that a person is encouraged to do is to announce and proclaim, I am an alcoholic. And there’s a very spiritual, from my perspective, reason for that. Because once you acknowledge the thing, once you’re aware of the thing, like you said, trina, then you can deal with it.

Hema [00:26:40]:


Hema [00:26:40]:

But if you don’t acknowledge it, if you’re not aware of it, then you can’t do anything.

Hema [00:26:45]:


Hema [00:26:46]:

Awareness is the first step to any kind of change. And I teach this a lot in my yoga classes. I teach yoga, too. And awareness is the first step. And then you can make a choice. You’re always a choice. You can be like, oh, I do this thing. I’m comfortable with this thing. I don’t want to change it. That’s a great choice. But if it’s something that doesn’t make you comfortable, that you don’t feel serves your highest good and you want to make a change, that’s also a great choice.

Hema [00:27:14]:


Hema [00:27:15]:

But it’s just about knowing and being aware of yeah, I think that that’s very interesting that you brought that up.

Trina Krug [00:27:23]:

So why do you think tantra is kind of coming up more so now, especially in the Western cultures? Part of me thinks it’s this universal knowing that it’s needed and that it’s bringing it into places where it’s needed. But as a teacher yourself, why do you think it’s something that is surfacing more and becoming more I don’t know what the right word relevant is. Not prevalent, but prevalent. That’s the right word. I knew relevant wasn’t the right word, but it was a similar word. Prevalent.

Hema [00:27:58]:


Hema [00:27:59]:

I think there’s a number of things and this is where neotuntra why it’s become so popular, sexuality and sex in our society, whether it be Western, Eastern, or otherwise, is much maligned. And I also often scratch my head and I puzzle about that, and I think a lot of it is due to colonialism and Christianity and conversion of populations. But now we’re at a point in our society where sex is not talked about. Sex is still kind of a dirty word. It’s changing, but we don’t talk about things related to sex. Even if you think about the studies that are done for women’s sexuality, there’s something like a five to one ratio of studies that are done for men’s sexuality versus women’s sexuality.

Hema [00:28:52]:


Hema [00:28:52]:

We still don’t know a lot about why women gets aroused. Female identified female bodied, why a female bodied person gets aroused, what causes that arousal, how does it work? Because it’s different each day, right. They haven’t been able to find the female version of Viagra, for example, because that’s not how female bodied work. So it’s all complex.

Hema [00:29:16]:


Hema [00:29:17]:

So I think that for a lot of people, sexuality can often be a first introduction to the whole concepts of mindfulness and breath, work and attention and connection. And it’s an area that where we’re sorely lacking.

Hema [00:29:32]:


Hema [00:29:32]:

So I think neotantra has taken some of the interesting, there’s an overlap between the conversations of neotuntra and classical tantra. So neotuntra has taken the things that seem really good and applied it to conscious sexuality, right? So very different things, but similar in what they talk about. And so I think that that’s the first thing people are feeling dissatisfied and the first thing they go to is maybe sex life, because that’s our strongest drive. But I think that there’s this general kind of males that’s happening in our society where, yeah, I’m not feeling satisfied. Going to Facebook doesn’t make me feel happy anymore. I bought the biggest video game, but that doesn’t work. I went and bought myself a four x four truck, and that’s not doing it. The whole idea of colonialism, capitalism, patriarchy, those three things combine, I think, have put us in a place where we’re fundamentally unhappy as a people. And I think that that’s why tantra has come up, right? So people then go to talk about the sexuality piece because it’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s titillating, it’s a little taboo, right? And so you feel like you’re doing something that’s a little OOH, I shouldn’t be doing, which adds a little bit of extra thrill to it. And if you experience that kind of connection and intimacy and get some inklings of what it means to be fully embodied through the neotuntra piece, I say, great, there’s no shame in that, right? If sexuality is something that you want to work on, do that, but also know that there’s much, much more of that, of those teachings that are found in classical tantra. And so I think that that’s generally what’s going on, is that people are feeling dissatisfied. Disconnected women are owning more of their sexual economy. That’s another piece of it.

Hema [00:31:22]:


Hema [00:31:22]:

So often at these neotuntra classes, you see a lot of women in these classes right. Which is disheartening because it’s heartening and disheartening. Sorry. It’s great that women want to own their sexuality and their piece of it. It’s disheartening that we need more male identified folks in the room who want to understand how different bodies work.

Hema [00:31:45]:


Hema [00:31:46]:

But it’s happening. It’s happening, and there’s a lot of conscious people out there who are working and understand how both types of bodies work right. Or even how other bodies trans bodies and so on, like moving away from binary assignation, which is what I really try to do. It’s about understanding how the full spectrum of bodies work. I think that’s really what it is, is that people are feeling disconnected and want a quick hit and think, oh, well, sex must be the thing.

Hema [00:32:16]:


Hema [00:32:17]:

Plus, I think there’s a lot of people out there who are very dissatisfied with their sex lives. Research shows that I’m not just stating that off the top of my head. So I think it’s time that we reclaim our birthright around sexuality, our birthright around humanity and emotions. And so I think that that’s what’s happening. There’s just this trend to like, there’s got to be more to life than buying the next thing.

Hema [00:32:43]:


Trina Krug [00:32:44]:

Do you find that people who kind of enter the realm of Tantra through neo Tantra is that there’s a natural I don’t want to use the word progression, but do they ultimately move into wanting to be curious about the classical Tantra as well?

Hema [00:33:02]:

I think that’s the case for a lot of people. Not all people. Different strokes for different folks.

Hema [00:33:08]:


Hema [00:33:08]:

So the neotantra stuff, that’s how I started. I’d been a yoga teacher, and I studied Hindu philosophy for a long time before getting into Tantra. So it’s part of my cultural background, and I personally very interested in Hindu philosophy. But Neotuntra was my gateway drug. Just use that expression. And I experienced some of the most sublime spiritual experiences that I’ve ever had with neotuntric practice, and that made me question, oh, so what is this? There’s more to this? Because I knew that neotantra wasn’t the thing, and that led me on my path towards discovering classical Tantra. But I don’t think that that’s the case for everyone. I think people are very happy to be just practicing Neotuntric and having those experiences.

Hema [00:33:57]:


Hema [00:33:58]:

I don’t know that everyone is craving a deeper meaning to their lives unilaterally. I mean, but, you know, you if you can achieve deeper meaning and more intensity in your emotion and expression through neotuntra, well, that’s great. I think this is about people need to gauge where they are, what they want to do, and how much focus they want to put on different things. But I can just say that with classical Tantra, it has totally aligned with messages that I get from spirit guides, from beings from the beyond. I’m also a psychic and an empath, and I channel people who have passed on. It’s a lot of confirmation. Right. For me, it all seems to dovetail together that, oh, this seems to be the thing that makes the most sense and is the best path towards enlightenment. But, yeah, everybody needs to choose what works for them.

Trina Krug [00:34:59]:

So what have been some of your personal, most profound experiences with Tantra?

Hema [00:35:08]:

Yeah, there’s so much. I think the challenge that I sit with every day is, can I love everybody? And that’s challenging. Right. That seems very broad and very big. So I start off with just my inner circle, my family.

Hema [00:35:30]:


Hema [00:35:31]:

Can I love the people that are in my immediate circle on a day to day basis? Yes. Although it’s challenging at times, right. If you’re in an argument or a conflict or something. But even going through that, could I offer love? I used to tell my son when he was little, he would get angry, like little kids do, and he’d express emotion, and he would get really frustrated that I wasn’t getting angry, too, because I would just look at him and I would think to myself, oh, gosh, he’s so beautiful. Little kids, when they’re really deep in their emotion, he was so beautiful when he was angry. And I would just sit and just love on him, and all his anger would dissipate, and he’d be like, I can’t be angry, mom, when you’re looking at me that way. I’m like, I know. I can’t help it. I think you look beautiful. And I just had so much love for him. So can I take that same kind of love and emotion and apply it to different situations in my life? That gets challenging, right. If the cashier doesn’t talk to me the right way, or if, like, I used that before, if I get cut off in traffic, am I able to extend love and compassion because I don’t know what’s going on in their lives?

Hema [00:36:36]:


Hema [00:36:37]:

If you choose to be snarky or if you’re in a rush, like, hey, bless you, and the path that you’re on, you might be having a challenging day, and can I send you love? So that’s really my walking and living meditation in my life, is, can I love you in all the shapes and forms that you show up?

Hema [00:36:57]:


Hema [00:36:58]:

And that gets challenging when you’re in a community and when there’s conflict and if you don’t see eye to eye with somebody. Right. All of these things. So I practice them on a regular basis in the workplace is a great place to practice that. You have your annoying coworker or whatever it is right. Or maybe a coworker who’s better than you and you’re feeling competitive. Can you still love this person in your heart? It’s a very challenging practice, I would say. I think one of the other things with Tantra and I mentioned neotuntric as well, experiences, is that I’ve had very personal, very intense experiences of God, of God energy through these practices that I didn’t really have before. And I was a meditator and a yoga teacher for decades, been meditating and a yoga teacher for the last decade. So this has been a very powerful practice. And so just feeling the energy of the divine right or universal energy or whatever word you want to use gives you such a feeling of well, first of all, peace, I would say, but empowerment. And I honestly wish that women or female identified female bodied could actually feel this feeling either through sexuality or otherwise, because then we wouldn’t be letting all those things happening that are happening out in the world today.

Hema [00:38:35]:


Hema [00:38:36]:

Our bodies are the ones that create life. And I really think when someone experiences the power of that and I’m not talking about giving birth, I’m just saying the power of what a female body can do, it’s amazing. So it’s given me this confidence and this empowerment that I didn’t have maybe about a decade ago, right. So do I walk around with kind of like a psychopath complex? Maybe I kind of walk around going, yeah, I’m god.

Hema [00:39:07]:


Hema [00:39:07]:

I’m God. I’m God. But you know what? You’re God too. And you’re God. And you’re God. So it’s not so much about me aggrandizing, but rather just realizing what my divine nature is.

Hema [00:39:19]:


Hema [00:39:20]:

So it’s again, kind of an outlook, spiritual outlook on life that kind of shapes how I walk through the world.

Trina Krug [00:39:28]:

I love that you mentioned that about just the feminine energy, for lack of a better word. Because I do think there has been an oppression, obviously, in that the scales are no longer like in flow with one another. And I do think that the feminine energy is we’re moving away from that oppression. And the pendulum is swinging back a little bit because there is a lot of beautiful and wonderful things in there. The masculine and the feminine. And it’s not man or woman, it’s just the masculine and the feminine energies that do need to be in good balance with one another.

Hema [00:40:03]:

Yeah, I agree. I actually move away from using the words masculine and feminine. I know I referred to it a few times only because I was talking about people who own uteruses and yonis, right, or vaginas. But I really try to steer away from masculine and feminine because that actually sets up a kind of binary aspect. And with so much that’s happening around the gender spectrum more out in the open, I think it really behooves us to be more inclusive in our language. I try not to use that in the masculine and feminine energies. I’m going to say that there actually is no such thing. We can use different adjectives, right. We can say strong and soft. We can say giving and receiving, that kind of thing, but because even for myself, I use the pronouns they, for example, because very often I don’t feel like I subscribe to society’s idea of what a woman should be.

Hema [00:41:04]:


Hema [00:41:05]:

I feel very much like I have a lot of those yang qualities within me, right. So people expect me to behave a certain way, particularly being South Asian, and I don’t act that way. So I’m me, I have different qualities within me.

Hema [00:41:22]:


Hema [00:41:22]:

And I don’t label them as masculine and feminine. YinYang is a good way to look at it, but that’s a different construct from a different religion and philosophy. But it’s that it’s more attributes, because society has conditioned us to think that, oh, the men are the ones that are going out and bringing home whatever it is.

Hema [00:41:46]:


Hema [00:41:48]:

This ancient programming comes from along centuries and centuries of repression, but also to media. Hollywood has propagated those myths. So, yeah, I would really question, when are we using masculine and when are we using feminine? Because it’s not just female bodies that are being oppressed. It’s also male bodied.

Trina Krug [00:42:11]:

Oh, yeah.

Hema [00:42:12]:

They don’t feel like they can express emotion. They don’t feel like they can show softer side of them. Right. Which actually takes a lot of strength to show that side. This is where, again, Tantra for me is really important because it’s about the integration of all aspects of who you are, all aspects of your being.

Hema [00:42:34]:


Hema [00:42:36]:

When kids are little I mean, little boys and little girls, they cry, right. When did we tell little boys that it wasn’t okay to do that? And when did we tell girls that it’s not okay to be the leader of your class or leader of your group? I mean, there’s just all this conditioning.

Hema [00:42:53]:


Hema [00:42:54]:

And that’s the piece that I didn’t address with Tantra is like tantra is really all about ego, deconstruction. So it’s about questioning every time. Question everything. What were you taught? Why do you believe what you believe? Why do you think the way you think? And deconstruct? That right. And is it someone who told you that this is the way it’s supposed to be? Because don’t accept anyone telling you how things should be. Always. Question. And so that’s one of the main aspects of Tantra, too, is deconstructing ego.

Hema [00:43:25]:


Hema [00:43:25]:

You identify as a really great athlete. Okay, well, maybe try something else that you’re not so great at, and you’ll see that it’s not just about being a great athlete. It’s this other piece, too. Maybe you’re horrible at watercolor, but that’s okay.

Hema [00:43:38]:


Hema [00:43:39]:

That’s another expression of who you are. It’s weaving all those pieces together.

Trina Krug [00:43:45]:

I love that because I think there has to be this changing and this evolution of our thoughts and our words and all of the things. And there are things that are benign in our own mind that have been things that have been conditioned into us that do need to shift into change. And so I love that that’s an aspect of it of to question everything and to really look at, okay, what are my thoughts behind that? What are the words that I’m using for that? So that’s absolutely amazing.

Hema [00:44:17]:

I think it’s through disconnection that we other people, right? And that might sound obvious, but once you’re connected to someone, like for example, I’m a big advocate for trans folks and they’re the ones that are being the most maligned these days. Once you connect with somebody, it doesn’t matter what their outer body is. Why does that matter so much? It’s really about the person, the soul, the essence of this person on the inside.

Hema [00:44:47]:


Hema [00:44:48]:

And what thrills me is everyone has a different vibrational frequency. And it’s again, not about male, female, it’s about what is your frequency? Wow. What is this particular frequency? Like, what kind of food do you like? What does your body like to do? What does your mind like to read that all makes up the essence of a person. If we could just move beyond outer label and focus in on the essence of who we are or the essence of this particular manifestation of God on the planet, I think that would move us a lot in the right direction. But when you’re disconnected, you other. When you’re disconnected, you don’t make an effort to understand. When you’re disconnected, it’s easy to stay entrenched in your own way of thinking. And we see this a lot, right? Like you see the white man who met a black man for the first time in his life and realizes, oh, this person thinks like I do and has the same concerns about his family and life that I do. Just our skin color is different and all of a sudden mind is blown. Right. We need to do more of that is connecting people together so that you don’t other and it’s easier to accept when you do it that way.

Trina Krug [00:46:03]:

Well, I think if nothing else, this conversation has really brought Tantra into a place of like truly, I think you did a wonderful job of allowing people to see that it is an everyday thing. It is something that it’s not something that, oh, I need to go to this class and practice it for this weekend and then that’s it. But rather something that is a daily practice for everybody. Something that brings us more into that space of love and compassion and connection and all the different things and there’s so many different things that you touched on. So it was wonderful and amazing. I’m so glad we had this conversation. I would love it if you could tell people where they could find you. For people who are interested in learning more or working with you, where can people find you?

Hema [00:46:55]:

Absolutely. Yeah.

Hema [00:46:56]:

Thanks Trina. This was a great conversation. We covered a wide range of things. It was very broad.

Trina Krug [00:47:03]:

A lot of stuff in a short.

Hema [00:47:04]:

Time, a lot of stuff in a short time. Yeah, people want to reach me. I actually do spiritual coaching and mentoring, and what that looks like is there are some practices, meditative and breath work practices and other things that are part of the mentorship. I also do energy healings. So if you have something going on with yourself, physically, emotionally, and talk therapy is not cutting it, come and see me. I’m actually an expert at moving trauma through the body just with energy work. So if people want to reach me, my email is Hama [email protected] and my website is actually www.hamapholisticmistic.com, so I can send you that information, Trina, so you can share with your listeners. Yeah, and actually, I’m teaching a few things. I’m actually doing an introduction to the Subtle Energy Body starting in September. So this is all on my website, and it’s a six week class online with Zoom where I teach you actually some really what I’m going to call cool techniques from ancient Tantric scripts on how to access the energy within your body. So Prana chi Life Forest It’s really helpful if you’re an energy worker or you’ve had experiences of energy to come to this class, because I explain it all and give you some deep practices to do that help amplify and enhance your energy skills. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to that. And I’m also teaching a workshop in Portland, November 17 to 19th. Yes, that workshop is going to be a fully embodied experience of everything we talked about here. So it’s a workshop where we’re going to go through some more about Tantra and have some actual practices. And there are also going to be practices around enlivening your senses. So it’s a fully embodied weekend. It’s called journey into bliss. And so there’s going to be some sensuality and not sexual, but it’s all about really getting into your body at all different levels and feeling what’s happening with some spirituality attached. So I’m looking forward to that too.

Trina Krug [00:49:17]:

Well, that’s exciting. I can’t wait to check that out. So thank you again, Hema, for joining me today. It was such a pleasure and an honor to be able to talk with you. And for all of my listeners out there, thank you for joining us. And if you have any questions, let either of us know and make sure you are subscribed and following so you don’t miss any of our amazing episodes coming up. And we’ll see you next time. Bye.

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