A beginner’s guide to White Tantra

Photo from whitetantricyoga.co.uk
White Tantra photo from whitetantricyoga.co.uk

White Tantra challenges us in millions of ways, a major one of these being the anticipation/ terror of a full-on day of mostly sitting cross-legged, practicing six or eight consecutive 31- or 62-minute kundalini meditations with varying degrees of toughness. These are instructed by Yogi Bhajan himself, who’s projected onto a massive video screen (prerecorded before his passing for all the White Tantras to come). 

Some of the meditations involve instructions like pressing the tip of our index finger to our partner’s third eye (like this one in 2016). In others, we sit in kundalini lotus, feet to feet with our partner, holding their hands as we lean back, while others involve lying down and chanting a mantra (and relaaaax!). 

But despite all the challenges, White Tantra is a wonderfully way-out, fascinating, extraordinary and transformative experience. Apart from having the blessing of working with group consciousness (which magnifies the effects of your meditations x500 – imagine the depth of healing!), there’s a great supportive vibe and a beautiful opportunity to connect with like-minded kundalini yogis. It’s likely you’ll walk out of there at 6.30pm feeling totally discombobulated and as high as a kite, but wow is it worth it. 

What to bring

Hardly anything! No water bottle as there is plenty of filtered water available at the venue. No snacks as fruit is usually provided for the inter-meditation loo breaks. No lunch as a vegan lunch is served halfway through the day.

There are rooms to store everyone’s stuff, and it’s all pretty much jumbled together, so the less you bring, the less you’ll have to worry about. I wear my whites under my coat, and arrive with my turban already on. I leave my purse at home and just take my travel card. Phone? You can take photos or make calls during the breaks, but you can’t take mobiles into the hall so you’ll have to leave it in the store room.

So here’s your checklist:

  • Sheepskin or blanket to sit on, plus a meditation cushion if you like (I definitely like!). Make sure your nest for the day is comfy
  • Shawl to cover you for warmth/relaxations
  • Flask of tea if, like me, you’re a tea fiend
  • Cash/card for the stalls during lunch if shopping is your thing
  • White clothes and head covering (or wear them to the venue)

No partner? No worries

White Tantra is done in pairs, and we sit in long lines facing each other. This creates the tantric bulletproof weave of energy that casts its transformative net deep into the subconscious of all the participants and allows the White Tantric magic to happen. Most of the meditations are spent locked into the gaze of the person sitting opposite. There are also some closed-eye meditations, but mainly it’s about recognising the other person is you and looking into their eyes. It’s really not important if you come with a partner or not, and it doesn’t matter if your partner is male or female. Those who arrive solo are directed to a big gathering of other solos, and you will be intuitively guided to the best partner for you for the day, guaranteed.

What counts as a head covering?

If it’s white, made from natural fibre like cotton or wool, and it covers your hairline, it’ll do – beanie, turban, headscarf, bandana; you’ll see all sorts at White Tantra. It’s the most incredible montage of how to wear white in all its guises! Many participants opt for a white shawl simply tied around their head, while others will don a skilfully tied turban covered with a chuni (scarf) and pinned with a gold khanda (Sikh symbol) to finish the look. If you want to wear a turban but have never tied one before, there are kindly souls who will help tie it for you. Even if you just wrap a white strip cut from a cotton sheet around your head and knot it at the back, it’ll work. But do wear a head covering because it protects the crown chakra and there’s some pretty almighty energy at work in a White Tantra day. 

Sit as close to your partner as possible

Drop your personal space issues and get cosy with one another. The closer you squidge up with your neighbours, the stronger the lines of energy that run along those rows. 

Also, the closer you get to your partner – ideally with knees touching – the easier you’re likely to find it. I’m referring to those ‘army’ and ‘leggy’ meditations described above. 

And with White Tantra becoming increasingly popular and every year growing by at least 100 people, space is getting tighter. So squidge up to make room for everyone to join!

Keep your mantra sheet off the floor

You’ll likely be handed a list of the mantras that we’ll be using for the day. These are holy Sikh scriptures, so as a sign of respect, keep them off the floor and tucked up into your sheepskin or blanket.

Lean on us

There’s a whole community of yogis around to support you. There are sevadars who are there to take your place in case you need a loo break in the middle of a meditation. There are people to your left, right, back and front to share your healing journey. So allow yourself to relax and enjoy the experience. It’s OK to laugh, OK to cry, OK to wriggle and stretch your legs out mid-meditation (negotiating a space by your partner!) if you need. Just allow the magic to unfold and enjoy the day.

Find the global White Tantra schedule here, and I’ll see you at London’s White Tantra if you’re able to join.

Sat nam x

7 years ago