Yantra yoga is a form of Tibetan yoga which has its roots in the traditional Buddhism and is similar to both Chi Gung and Hatha yoga. The Yantra yoga can be described as the ancient art of movement and postures combined with breathing exercises and meditation techniques that help in the rejuvenation of the body and its energy. There are 108 movements in the Yantra yoga and it focuses more on movements than on the poses. It has been continuously preached in the monasteries of Tibet and is considered one of the most primitive forms of Tibetan yoga.
History of Yantra yoga
The history of Yantra yoga dates back to the 8th century when a saint by the name of Guru Padmasambhava, helped in bringing Buddhism to Tibet. He had learnt the art of Yantra yoga from a Nepalese sage by the name of Humkara. The Yantra yoga was designed to balance the body, mind and voice. King Trisong Detsen invited Guru Padmasambhava to Tibet in a bid to quell the resistance that was building up against Buddhism. In addition to bringing religion to Tibet, Guru Padmasambhava also brought Yantra yoga with him and started practicing and teaching the yoga techniques to his followers.
Teachings of the Guru
The history of Yantra yoga is not complete without the name of Vairocana. He was a Tibetan translator and also a student of Guru Padmasambhava. He trained from the Guru and also scripted the definitive text on Yantra yoga. This text is known as “Nyida Khajor” which means “The Unification of the Sun and the Moon”. Many disciples were further trained by Vairocana and these disciples carried forward the Yantra yoga form of Tibetan yoga through the centuries. The teachings were orally transmitted directly from teacher to student.
Introduction of Yantra yoga to the west
Yantra yoga was introduced to the western world by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu who was the nephew of Ogyen Tenzin. A master of Yantra yoga, Ogyen Tenzin imparted the knowledge to Namkhai in the midst of the 20th century. Namkhai started teaching Yantra yoga in Naples, Italy around the 1970s. During his training he trained several western nationals and in this league trained Laura Evangelisti and Fabio Andrico who were to carry on the teaching lineage.
Yantra yoga training
The goal of this form of yoga is to eliminate the negative elements while purifying the Karma and generating inner peace and solace. As mentioned earlier, Yantra yoga focuses on the balance of mind, body and voice. The body is balanced by the postures, the speech is balanced by the chanting and mind is balanced by the meditation and visualization. The whole act results in a holistic experience with the mind and body under control. The practice of Yantra yoga establishes increased flexibility and strength of the body while maintaining inner peace and vitality.
The Yantra yoga follows the traditional principle of teaching directly from the teacher to the student. Hence those trained by Namkhai Norbu believe that the ancient forms are still practiced and there has been no change from the past.