Yab Yum: the Tantric Posture
Google the word “tantra” under images, and it won’t take you too long to find an image of a God and Goddess sat in a special posture called “Yab-Yum”.
Often a large Buddha-like man with a smaller Dakini woman sat in his lap, her legs wrapped around his waist.
Not only is this a posture seen in ancient tantric artwork, but it is also something you will very likely experience before too long if you go to a Tantra workshop…
But what is “Yab-Yum” and what’s it all about?
Tab-Yum: Symbol of Divine Union
Yab-Yum is the symbol of divine union. It is the posture in which man and women are united between Heaven and Earth: a classic meditation posture. In many love-making postures one of the couple is underneath the other, but in Yab-Yum, both partners are equally upright.
“Yab-Yum” is a Tibetan term meaning “father-mother”.
In Tibetan Tantra it is about the union of Compassion and Truth/ Wisdom. In Indian Tantra it is about the masculine as a passive meditator with the feminine as a dancing shakti in his lap… pure awareness meeting pure energy. On a metaphysical level, Yab-Yum represents the union of dualistic forms in order to attain transcendence.
In other words, when we bring apparent opposites together in love we can enter a state beyond normal consciousness: a state of oneness or unity consciousness. A remembrance of who we are beyond name and form…
This is the ultimate goal of Tantra.
The Yab-Yum Alignment
It has long been known by meditators that to sit in a vertical stance is to align one’s crown with the heavenly skies, and one’s root chakra on the earth below. This gives the meditator a sense of their place between Heaven and Earth.
In Tantra, the Earth is the divine feminine force (mother earth) and the Heavens are the divine masculine force (father sky). Any seasoned meditator will tell you that meditating lying down is not the same as sitting upright. The enlightenment always happens in the vertical position…hence other statues of deities will most often be in a sitting pose.
So Yab-Yum, often thought of as a love-making posture, is actually the ultimate posture for tantric meditation for a couple.
Use of Yab-Yum
A couple may sit in Yab-Yum and meditate upon the energy flow through their bodies. Not only can the Heaven-Earth polarity flow, but the couples’ own energy systems are aligned. Their chakras, or energy vortices, are connected.
Because it is about meditating upon energy, Yab-Yum can be used with clothes on and still be highly effective. However, some couples choose to use Yab Yum as part of love-making and meditation. The root chakras can actually be physically connected, with the lingam inside the yoni (that’s tantric-speak for “the penis inside the vagina”). Then the sexual connection is there and at the same time the couple are open all the way to the crown, enabling them to channel energy from sex to spirit.
A couple may go straight into Yab Yum and meditate there. But they can also enter this posture at the end of a love-making session. By using other sexual postures first, they can move more energy, and then come into Yab-Yum at the end to sublime the energies into more refined levels. The posture may be combined with other techniques such as tantric breathwork, sublimation techniques or meditation tools (learn these from a trained teacher).
The Paradox of Yab-Yum
Something that makes Yab-Yum very special is that it truly combines sex and spirit. It truly combines love making with meditation…thus Yab-Yum is the essence of Tantra. It is a symbol, it is a practice, it is the essence. Some choose to sit in this pose, others use a statue or image to contemplate or meditate upon.
It can be very powerful for modern day people to see Yab-Yum. With our world of over-stimulated sexual imagery, pornography and media, to witness union in peace and stillness can be an instant paradox to such a conditioned mind.
If two fully-clothed people are sat in YabYum together, it is not explicit, nor illegal, it’s not graphic nor sordid….yet it is surprising, it is a paradox.
People are so used to sex being a shadow, that to see it in its innocence and in a meditative light is a shock to the conditioned mind.
How to bring Yab-Yum into your life
You may want to get hold of an appealing Yab-Yum image to contemplate, or even a beautiful statue. Sit 10 to 20 minutes gazing upon the image and watch any energy that moves through your body. Breathe deeply to let the energy flow freely. Afterwards close your eyes and direct the energy up your spine to your crown and watch the energy accumulate at the crown.
If you have a partner, then perhaps suggest that you meditate in this pose. Simply sit in Yab-Yum, breathe deeply with open mouths. Breathe all the way down to the genitals, else energy cannot move. Close your eyes and watch any energy flow you can feel in your body. You can even speak it to one another “I am noticing a tingling feeling behind my pubic bone”, “I am noticing a warmth in my sacrum”, I am noticing a pulsation above the navel”…and so on. Try not to judge or label your sensations, but describe them directly, as if describing a flower to a blind man.
End the meditation with your foreheads touching, looking inwardly at the third eye point.
Global Yab-Yum Challenge
What would happen if we brought Yab-Yum meditation to modern-day town centres? Or sat in Yab-Yum in stunning places in nature.
If you have ever meditated in Yab-Yum in a special place and taken a picture, please feel free to share on our facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/livetantra/timeline with #global yabyum
But please note: no nudity!!!