Neotantra vs. Tantra – Is There a Difference?

23 May May 2017
Ancient Tantra vs neotantra
Liisa Maimon
Founder and Senior Teacher

Tantra, in the same way as Yoga and meditation, occupies the minds of many spiritually open people. Therefore a need has emerged to clarify the terms of Tantra and neotantra.

By definition, neotantra is, as the name implies, a new, more modern and westernized variation of ancient teachings of Tantra. It is an approach which often incorporates a small selection of teachings from the authentic Tantra and is mostly associated with limited teachings that relate to sexuality only.

Neotantra: farther from the roots

Tantra - A statue of Nataraja, the dancing Shiva.
A statue of Nataraja, the dancing Shiva. A classical symbolic representation commonly used in tantric environments.

The underlying teachings of neotantra originate from the 1960s and in recent decades it strays farther and farther from the roots and foundations of authentic tantric teachings and has become a fusion of many new age modalities and methods.

Although it may be beneficial, a modern person can normally only get a brief glimpse of real Tantra when practicing the popular teachings of neotantra. The teachings often lack real foundation, clarity and a true spiritual goal, which is the ultimate goal in authentic Tantra. All of this may end up leaving the student confused and undirected. The attractive elements of neotantra are often the focus on sexuality mainly (or only) and the apparent luxury of not needing to exert much effort or practice to reach the goal. Next to the teachings of authentic Tantra, this is strongly misleading.

Tantra is frequently associated purely with sexuality nowadays, and I can even go as far as to say that neotantra is all about sexuality.

Can there be a “new Tantra”?

As Tantra is a powerful ancient spiritual system that has existed for thousands of years, it can not be new in itself. Despite the huge popularity of neotantra, it lacks the spiritual components and all-encompassing nature of true Tantra – a few decades of history can not be compared to millennia-old traditions. Tantra in its original and unadulterated form is perfect, complete and divine in nature and it is not something that needs to be updated or revised.

Tantra - Somananda leads a lecture on the principles of authentic Tantra
Somananda lectures to curious seekers the differences between Tantra and neotantra.

As already mentioned, Tantra is frequently associated purely with sexuality nowadays, and I can even go as far as to say that neotantra is all about sexuality. This is where the limitations of this modern adaptation become evident – by only or mostly focusing on the sexual side, it effectively uses a very limited part of the original teachings and rejects true Tantra’s unlimited nature and powerful effects when practiced in totality.

Our Tantra based curriculum

Authentic Tantra is much more vast and deep than neotantra – it is like comparing a small puddle to a vast ocean. Tantra is an ocean of knowledge and is undeniably thorough and holistic. By participating in our extensive curriculum you will reach the core of this spiritual path. Our courses and retreats cover all aspects of spiritual Tantra, including tantric forms of Yoga, meditation, sexuality, and much more.

Want to learn more? Read What is Tantra, Really? and Tantra is not sex

Liisa Maimon

Founder and Senior Teacher

An inspiring tantric yogini, Liisa is a strong driving force of the school – both as a senior teacher and general manager.

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Taste of Tantra
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Taste of Tantra

POWERFUL INTRODUCTION TO ALL OF TANTRA

This is powerful introduction to all of Tantra! You will study various tantric branches like sexuality, yoga, meditation and Tantra massage, and gain a clear overview of what true Tantra can do for you.
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