The Science of
Egyptian Tantra is founded on ancient mystical practices, but it also connects with the latest findings in areas such as neurophysiology, the understanding of brainwave states and much more.
Let’s look at some of the science that helps explain what is happening chemically and biologically within the body when we explore tantra. Through this we can come to see how our body supports the changes and expansion into higher states that many people have reported from Egyptian Tantra.
To understand this more fully, let’s look at the different spiritual practices we explore in Egyptian Tantra, and how these practices might impact the body, mind and consciousness from a scientific perspective…
brain wave states
A Tool for each Situation
Breathwork comes in many forms – there are breath techniques that activate energy and raise the heart rate, and others that invite a relaxation response in the body. Which tool you might reach for depends on what effect you might want.
If you are feeling stressed, Ankh Breathwork is a beautiful modality that increases energy levels but regulates the nervous system at the same time. It uses an intentionally calming breath pattern which includes breath holds. These have been shown to support brain cell protection, improve lung capacity, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve longevity. All good things!
The Purpose of Movement
Ankh Breathwork can also be explored as a movement meditation which involves you in a series of moves united with breath inhales, holds or exhales. These steps keep you focused in the moment, and within the body. The longer you go, the more deeply connected you feel, and the less the analytical left brain is in the driver’s seat.
The Neural Science
The Beta State
Note in the brain wave image here the wide range of experiences of the Beta state of consciousness, from fight or flight (at the far right of the graph), through extreme or ‘middle anxiety’, to the states of attentive focus, or relaxed and focused attention. When we commence any spiritual practice we are most likely to be in a beta brain wave state – our ‘normal’ waking state – the logical left-brain.
How Breathwork Changes our State
- As we deepen into Ankh Breathwork we shift into the slower end of Beta where we relax.
- We may then shift into Alpha – entering a deeper and more relaxed meditative state.
- We may then enter Theta, which is a dreamlike or flow state where we are strongly connected to our emotional body.
Which brainwave state you shift to depends on how long you do a practice for, and how much you can allow the analytic mind to take a back seat – constant analysis can keep you stuck in an anxious high-beta state.
How to get out of Mind Analysis
Focus on the technique, the practice, the tool that is being offered to you. The more you can focus on the technique, the more likely it is that your brain wave state will shift and you will go deeper.
Gamma states – the new brainwave discovery
Breathwork can also lift us into Gamma states. Gamma is actually above Beta. It has only recently been mapped as a brainwave state that has been scientifically recorded and reported about, most popularly by author and teacher Joe Dispenza.
Gamma is a ‘super state’. It is when we are at peak perception – a highly expanded state of consciousness. This is the state we can reach after a period of focused, activating spiritual practice. It feels truly beautiful to experience – our sense of separation may dissolve and we see our intrinsic connection to everything. We become one with The One.
The Gamma ‘super state’ can happen as a result of more activating breathwork modalities we explore in Egyptian Tantra. Or we may simply rest and rejuvenate in the Theta or Alpha state before returning to normal waking consciousness.
the whole-brain state
The Brain Hemispheres
As you probably know our left-brain deals more with logic, whilst our right brain is more creative. When we are at work or in our ‘doing mode’, typically our left-brain logic will be more active than our right brain, navigating the world around us, reasoning, thinking, analysing etc.
Chanting or Sounding
When we sit down and start chanting or making sounds an interesting shift in brain activity occurs, and because the chant is usually repetitive we enter into a state of rhythmic entrainment. This activates the right brain, carrying us into a state of deep immersion – a flow state.
Stress may fall away, and the fight-or-flight nervous system response relaxes. The parasympathetic nervous system then comes online, as a result of which we relax and open more deeply.
Chanting heals the body
Dr. Alan Watkins, a researcher at Imperial College London discovered that chanting brings about healing in the body, supporting recovery from illness and disease. Chanting also helps balance the brain’s hypothalamus, which controls our emotions. It calms the amygdala – the brain’s anger centre – so chanting can shift us out of negative emotional states and into positive ones.
Chanting alleviates Depression
The International Journal of Yoga did a study using fMRI, which revealed that chanting activated the limbic system of the brain, helping to alleviate depression. So there is a lot going on as we chant or sound, in the brain wave states and also in the bodies nervous system.
and the Chemical High
What Happens when you Move your Body?
Whether you are dancing, doing yoga or other movement practices, you are also activating a multitude of chemicals to release, increase, or start flowing through your body.
A Harvard article noted: “Studies show that dance helps reduce stress, increases levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, and helps develop new neural connections.”
The Role of Oxygen
As the body moves, the heart rate increases, sending more oxygenated blood through the whole system, including the brain. Some delicious chemicals start to be released naturally. This is your bodies ‘inner chemistry set’ as Tantra teacher Ma Sarita Ananda calls it.
As you may know – your endorphins make you feel high. There is also oxytocin – ‘the love drug’ – which creates a sense of connection with those around you. Dopamine is known as the pleasure chemical.
In a sense we are activating a whole cocktail of chemicals, the combined effect of which makes you feel good, great, or downright ecstatic!
The Connection to Egyptian Tantra
Within Egyptian Tantra we work intentionally with all these modalities – using breath, movement and sound to help people shift consciousness.
We give you the tools and help craft the optimum conditions to help you shift consciousness.
- We guide you from analysis into whole brain.
- From whole brain into whole body states of awareness.
- From feeling good to learning how to allow ecstasy to rise naturally. Not forcing it, not rushing or chasing after it, but ALLOWING it.
- The body knows how to taste ecstasy. All we need do is create the conditions to support this naturally happening.