The Benefits of Yantra Yoga
A Path To Real Evolution
“When I learned Yantra Yoga from my uncle, the great yogi Ugyen Tendzin, I did not know I would come to the West to teach the path of Dzogchen and Yantra Yoga to people living in a world that is so different from my homeland in so many ways. But despite the differences between East and West, we are all human beings and we all have body, energy, and mind. After arriving in Italy in the early 1960s, the first thing I taught was Yantra Yoga, a sacred and secret practice in Tibet. I decided to teach it because people asked me to, but especially because I understood how beneficial it could be for so many people to be able to have a path to real evolution. A practice that helps coordinate body, energy, and mind while making us more balanced and free from tension is immensely important. When we have a more relaxed mind, it is possible to have a better, more harmonious, and healthy life. This is why I decided to teach Yantra Yoga: it is something anyone can find beneficial, and it can bring more compassion and understanding among people. When we are happier, we are more open to everyone and everything around us. In today’s world we really need to find ways to be more relaxed and have less stress and tension so that we can experience genuine happiness and joy.”
– Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
The Uniqueness Of Yantra Yoga
“Yantra Yoga is designed to coordinate our energy through the synergy of breathing and movement. As a consequence, we become healthier and able to experience a more harmonious and relaxed state of mind. We all have three aspects of human existence in common: body, energy, and mind. When we master our energy by working with our movements and breath, the body becomes flexible and strong and our mind more alert and clear, yet harmonious and relaxed. Yantra Yoga is more than a collection of positions: each Yantra consists of a sequence of seven phases of movement and breathing centering on specific retentions of the breath. This also constitutes one of the most pronounced differences between Yantra Yoga and Hatha Yoga. While Hatha emphasizes static forms, in Yantra we do not hold asanas for a long time; the pose is just a moment in the sequence of movements defined by the respiratory rhythm and the application of one of the five types of retention of breath. In each of the seven breathing cycles of each Yantra, the inhalation, exhalation, or retention of the breath is coordinated with the rhythm, usually to a count of four. Each Yantra has a central position that explicitly facilitates one of the five types of hold. These holds—open, directed, closed, contracted, and empty—each have a precise effect on the functioning of our prana energy and the five elements.
Another unique feature of Yantra Yoga is that the asymmetrical poses start on opposite sides of the body for women and men. Since Yantra takes subtle energetic differences between the genders into account, the efficacy of the practice is further enhanced. As mentioned earlier, the symbolism of the sun and the moon refers to female and male energy. It is important to note here that in the Himalayan tradition of Buddhism, the male quality is lunar while the female quality is solar, a reversal of the Hindu tantric traditions, where male energy is generally identified as solar and female as lunar. In Vairochana’s Yantra Yoga, the solar side is on the right for women and on the left for men, and the goal is to equalize and balance these two energies, consequently neutralizing the effect of confusion and agitation so prevalent in our fast-paced society.
Yantra Yoga can benefit anyone who has the desire to apply its principles. It is not only for expert practitioners of yoga, but for anyone—young or old, thin or not, flexible or not so flexible. Learning to coordinate the movements with the specific rhythm of the inhalations, exhalations, and retentions will bring you a wonderful and fruitful practice of Yantra Yoga, even if you need to adapt the positions to your capacity. Regular practice will make a tangible difference in the day-to-day functioning of your body, and you will experience significant improvements in your health, energy, and ability to find a more relaxed and happy existence and overall quality of life.”
– Fabio Andrico
(Excerpts from Tibetan Yoga of Movement – The Art and Practice of Yantra Yoga )