The word Yoga literally means Union
The word Tantra literally means Method
Ancient religious paths originating from Hinduism have fallen into great misconception in our days. They are typical examples of how certain ideological systems about life have been secularized and used in order to promote socio-cultural trends.
Take the example of Yoga. It’s hip. It’s even sexy. Pictures of extremely well-built, athletic bodies in yoga asanas may be posing on your facebook feed. Naked yoga is the new fad, glorifying physical perfection and celebrating the body-adoring culture of our time. “Yoga” in the contemporary Occidental cultural condition means “a mystical, alluring, flexibility-enhancing workout”.
Or Tantra, an ancient and sacred path of knowledge, mistakenly equated today with sex and pleasure. The spiritual sense of the concept is that of a method that can lead to enlightenment. But so-called tantric sex teachings in the West often involve the improvement of one’s sex life or the fulfillment of one’s desires and fantasies.
Are these phenomena occurring due to our culture’s fetishistic identification with materialism and corporeality? Or do they signify a return to primary bodily needs, so inconspicuously masked and suppressed within the loins of the Western world and its religions?
The history of colonization is repeating itself. We have stolen ideas and concepts and made them our own. We have assigned new meanings to ancient traditions and ideologies. We see the Yogi as a trendy trainer and the Tantric as the ultimate sex fantasy. These conceptualizations adjust the notions to the Western reality, while at the same time setting us apart from their origins.