My name is Tao Semko; welcome to my website. Tao is the name my parents gave me at birth, spelled Tao but pronounced like the Russian for Theo (“thay-oh”). Through live streaming and recorded video programs and live workshops, I teach the playful exploration and integration of the full spectrum of human experience – the interaction of mind, emotion, sensation, movement, rest, emotion, diet, desire, intuition, intellect, expression, digestion, incorporation or elimination, integration, relationship, and contextualization — and how to cultivate all these skills, wisely, both individually and in tandem, from the mundane to the transcendent.
I synthesize current physiological, biochemical, and noetic knowledge with a deep practical knowledge of esoteric wisdom traditions and the habits of extraordinary individuals.
This website is my online home, from which I teach ideokinesis, breath, movement, meditation, non-dual extraordinary vessel cultivation, alchemical qigong, tantric hatha yoga, kriya yoga, and laya yoga, vyayam (traditional breath-coordinated exercise and physical culture), Dr. Glenn Morris’s Kundalini Awakening Process (a method of internal alchemy and integration), and more…
Thank you for stopping by, and I do hope you’ll dive deeper.
Tao Semko is a practical, empirical explorer of the union of exoteric and esoteric human experience. He has trained for two decades in numerous Asian esoteric traditions, but received his formal schooling prior to that in the hard sciences, with two baccalaureate degrees, magna cum laude, and numerous graduate credits on a national merit scholarship plus a full-ride academic scholarship with simultaneous admission at 17 to both the baccalaureate and doctoral program, before withdrawing from academia (with stellar grades) to pursue a more integrated human experience.
Tao synthesizes the insights of modern scientific studies with the practical, experiential knowledge of those who cultivate extraordinary skills on a daily basis, from modern and ancient wisdom traditions, physical culture, sport, the arts, bodywork, medicine, martial arts, and more.
He is one of the world’s foremost authorities on kundalini phenomena, including complete kundalini awakening and integration and many of the varieties of so-called kundalini syndrome and their remedies, having integrated his own kundalini and having helped hundreds of others to achieve stable, integrated risings.
Tao is also an expert in meditative and transformative processes of consciousness, including accessing and transitioning between personal, transpersonal, transcendent, and immanent psycho-spiritual and psychosexual experiences, and integration of mind, breath, and body processes in cultivation.
This continuum includes the processes of yogic concentration, meditation, and meditative absorption (collectively known as samyama), kundalini awakening and integration, non-dual contemplation, and cultivation of the physical body, breath energy, sexual energy, emotion, intuition, and intellect.
Tao is comfortable using both the physiological language of western science and the metaphoric shadow language of metaphysics, as benefits the individual student or client. This allows him to provide his students and clients with maps, language, and tools to access, re-access, understand, and integrate their extraordinary and mundane experiences.
He has a particular gift for understanding the embodied, harmonious integration of mundane, transpersonal, and transcendent human experiences.
Tao’s expertise includes:
- teaching rapid, safe access to refined meditative absorption (samyama, samadhi / laya) and extraordinary states through understanding of their biological and energetic mechanisms
- deep understanding of breath work and internal energy cultivation (prana vidya, qigong, jinggong, shengong)
- sexual energy cultivation, circulation, harmonization, integration, and yoga
- kundalini awakening and integration (kundalini vidya, internal alchemical processes)
- emotional cultivation, release, and harmonization
- understanding the somatization of emotions and experiences, and releasing disharmonious patterns
- cultivating yogic intuition (somatic, visual, auditory and more)
- integrating the logical and intuitive mind
- meditative physical culture
- harmonizing imbalances from stress, trauma, and improper practice — somatic/physiological, energetic, emotional, mental, spiritual (kundalini syndrome, qi sickness, spiritual emergence, visionary phenomena)
Tao is skilled at teaching by metaphor, feeling, and metaphysics, but also explaining why things work in grounded, relatable physiological terminology. He teaches movement, breathing, meditation, emotional cultivation, sensory awareness, stress relief, dissolving limiting beliefs, and more. For students interested in going deeper, Tao dives into a variety of practices exploring the very nature of consciousness. Tao shares with beginners and experts alike.
Tao has taught tantric yogas and alchemical and contemplative qigong for more than two decades, being an authority on traditional hindu tantric hatha, kriya, laya, raja, and mahavidya yogas, taoist alchemical qigong, vajrayana/mantrayana, mahamudra, the kundalini practices of the late Dr. Glenn J. Morris, and various forms of energetic and consciousness-based healing.
Tao is an expert in kundalini vidya and prana vidya, samyama and laya practices, and various non-dual liberation practices, and is extremely skilled in recognizing where a practitioner is in her/his kundalini process, providing guidance in its cultivation and integration, and in perceiving and providing assistance in alleviating root and subsequent causes of kundalini syndrome. He is also skilled in perceiving and working with limiting belief systems, traumas, and more at the causal/mental/emotional level.
After founding Smashan Press and co-founding UmaaTantra.com in 1999, he has provided empowerment, explanation, and transmission of both traditional practices and modern syntheses, both in person, via recorded media, and using modern multimedia internet communications, to wonderful students in over 50 countries, on every continent except Antarctica.
His teachers include the late Dr. Glenn J. Morris, H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, the late Khempo Yurmed Tinly Rinpoche, Santiago Dobles, Dinu Roman, Sifu Francis Fong, Raven Cohan, Pak Harold Koning, Sifu Dan Ferrera, Daniel Atchison-Nevel, London Brown, and numerous other teachers, both wondrous and notorious.
Prior to his subsequent esoteric studies, Tao Semko graduated Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude from the University of Miami where he attended on both a National Merit Scholarship and an Isaac Bashevis Singer full academic scholarship, gaining simultaneous admission to the undergraduate and PhD programs in Marine Science, and graduating in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science with majors in pre-med biology and marine science, and a minor in chemistry, and numerous grad school credits. He followed his heart and left his graduate program with honors to pursue a more personal and universal vision of “careering”.
Courses of Training and Esoteric Methods Taught by Tao Semko:
Esoteric Methods of Self-Realization (Tantric Yoga)
Practices for expanding the human personality
(Tantra Sadhana & Internal Alchemy)
Practices of Conscious Physical Culture
(Vyayam and Ideokinesis)
Practices of Energy Cultivation, Circulation, and Projection for Self and Others (Qigong, Pranic Healing, Reiki)
“Very basically, I teach practical methods of experiencing, training, and expanding all aspects of human awareness and action, including physical movement, emotion, breath, cognition, intuition, subtle energy awareness and control, conscious sexuality, as well as meditative absorption (yoga or samadhi, stilling the mind while completely aware), and transcendent or bliss experiences arising out of that stillness of mind, and resolving back into it.
I teach much of what schools and universities do not teach about human experience and practice — I teach the esoteric (hidden knowledge) more than the exoteric (openly available knowledge).
I teach how to access and train abilities which are profoundly human, but frequently repressed by society – the intuitive, the feminine, the loving, the sexual, the mystical – without losing sight of the importance of society, of polite interaction, of social convention, of material prosperity and comfort, yet without slavish devotion to that prosperity and comfort.
I teach balance in practice as well as extremism and intensity, rational inquiry and goal setting as well as intuitive trust and wholistic embrace of what is…
I do not seek or teach spiritual escapism. I teach integration of spiritual practice and transcendent experience into mundane life, with full interaction with society. What use is liberation of one human fragment of Consciousness from feeling separate, sorrowful, fearful, angry, anxious, or suffering if the other fragments of the whole are still experiencing in pain?
The material I teach is the traditional realm of tantra, yoga, qigong, shamanism, internal alchemy, sexual alchemy, and other esoteric disciplines that are only being approached now by western science, and only with great trepidation. I teach both traditionally and syncretically / synergistically, depending on what is appropriate in that time and place.
My training from traditional spiritual lineages and from non-traditional (syncretic and synergistic) teachers and synthesis is extensive (3000+ hours of hatha, kriya, laya, and raja yoga before I even began to teach those disciplines alone) under teachers of metaphysics, meditation, tantra, dzogchen, qigong, and yoga, as well as undertaking enormous amounts of research, experimentation, and synthesis upon myself and with my own students, friends, and teachers.
I have been teaching tantric yoga since 1999, and qigong since 2002.”
Some of the methods I practice and/or teach: academic definitions
Ideokinesis: “the use of specific images that you see moving in the body to release chronic muscular holding patterns. By using the mind’s intention to move in the opposite direction of the habitual contraction, you can effectively release muscle tension” (Definition Source)
Tantra: Expansion to liberation… An enormous science of expansion of the human personality into a “divine” or “universal” personality, using the inner world (microcosm) and inwardly-directed awareness to connect to the outer cosmos and more universal states of consciousness and experience, as well as more universal sources of power, both manifest and kinetic, and unmanifest and potential.
In the west, Tantra has been reduced by marketing to a few New Age sexuality practices drawn from the maithuna practices of vamamarga tantra, which is but one droplet of the greater ocean of tantra. All of tantra observes and uses the energies of creation, sustenance, and destruction, whether in the form of human or universal energies.
In the postmodern East, regrettably, Tantra is usually associated with the selfish magical practices of a few practitioners, and not with the greater stream of its wisdom and practices.
Tantra is vastly misunderstood not only by the general public, but also by many practitioners and scholars, who each limit its scope to a small group of practices or beliefs.. I don’t pretend to know the entire scope of tantra, but I do aim to constantly expand my understanding and recognize and let go of the prejudices of individual teachers and lineages.
Yoga: The practices which are called yoga are intended to achieve yoga, which is a yoking to, or union with, the Absolute, the Unmanifest, that aspect of consciousness which is primordial and unchanging. Yoga can also be defined as samadhi (union of meditator, meditation, and object of meditation), or as the cessation of fluctuations in the mindstuff… There are many methods used to achieve yoga.
Tantric Yoga: In tantric yoga, the experience of union is the central goal, with the peripheral pursuit of an expanded human consciousness, more aware of and more capable of consciously acting on the continuously changing manifestation of fluctuations in consciousness, energy, and matter which we see as relative truth or external reality.
Tantric Hatha Yoga: The system of posture, breath, internal muscle control, and attitude and gesture used to manipulate the meridan and chakra systems so as to unify the solar and lunar flows (Swara) in the central channel (Sushumna) at ajna chakra, achieving sabija samadhi. This system is then followed by a variation of raja yoga to achieve nirbija samadhi.
Tantric Kriya Yoga: Kriya means action, or kinetic energy or movement. Kriya yoga is the process of entraining human awareness and energy through conscious movement of the awareness and breath through the meridians of the body, sometimes without external physical movement (similar to Taoist NeiGung), and sometimes with external physical movements to help circulate the breath, vital energy (prana) and blood.
Laya Yoga: Laya means dissolution, absorption, or samadhi. Laya yoga is a systematic absorption of awareness into various sounds, symbols, and spaces within the body, achieving a particular resonance through meditation on that sound, symbol, or space… Each resonance sets up a particular brainwave and endocrine/nervous system state, allowing controlled expansion of human awareness into various non-normative states, and allowing a re-wiring of the nervous, endocrine, and meridian systems that is called kundalini awakening. Eventually, absorption is also practiced and established on empty voidness, achieving the same effect as raja yoga.
Mahavidya Yoga: Mahavidya means great wisdom, great knowledge, or great self-reflexive awareness. It is a feminine term, and each of the ten (dasha) mahavidya principles are anthropomorphized as a goddess as well as named with sound (mantra) and represented geometrically in space (in yantra or mandala) The Mahavidya yogas are practices of samadhi (meditative absorptions) in these very specific universal awarenesses and energies.
Raja Yoga: The “king” (raja) of all yogas, raja yoga is nirbija (“without seed” or “without fluctuation”) samadhi itself, as well as all of the meditative practices leading up to samadhi, including the awareness of still suspension of the spine, steadiness of breath and control of vital energy flow, restraints and direction on the mind and action, withdrawal of the external senses, focus, meditation, and meditative absorption….
Jnana Yoga: The yoga of self-knowledge or self-inquiry, including discrimination between temporal and eternal realities, dispassion, tranquility, sensory control, renunciation of that which is not inner duty, endurance, faith, perfect concentration, and intense longing for liberation from temporal limitations
Qigong: Literally, vital or living energy (Qi) practice (Gong)
Dr. Glenn J. Morris’s Improved Kundalini Awakening Process: An ingeniously simple yet comprehensive method to permanently awaken the innate psycho-spiritual consciousness-as-energy known in Sanskrit as Kundalini, using principles of physiology. The endocrine and nervous system are stimulated and balanced in a particular way using breathing, proprioceptive awareness, visualization, movement, and emotion / sense amplification to establish increased signal conductivity along the vagus nerves and increased synthesis of different forms of conscious experience. It’s fast, it’s safe, and it’s effective.
Morris MethodsThe Methods of the late Glenn J. Morris, PhD, ScD., for autoregulation, personal development, energy cultivation, spiritual awakening and integration, rhetoric, and leadership.
Daniel Atchison-Nevel’s Non-Somatic Extraordinary Vessel Healing (NSEV): Daniel’s presentation of pre-Taoist Wu Shamanic practices that harmonize the Eight Extraordinary Vessels/Meridians of Chinese Medicine, and cultivation of the functions of the three wombs/caves/cavities/dan’tiens and Eight Extraordinaries with the phases of the moon.
Vyayam: Literally, “exercise,” but specifically, the breath-coordinated calisthenics and yoga kriyas which achieve both physical vitality and mobility, as well as yoking the mind and breath to produce (amongst conscious practitioners) yoga of the mind…
Healing: I have been doing and teaching various forms of energy healing and consciousness work for as long as I have taught qigong. These include qigong healing (medical and projective qigong, including meridian and acupoint treatments as well as energetic treatments of tissues), modern pranic healing, reiki, nyasa/ mantric Healing, Shaktipat, biodynamics, and the energetic release of limiting beliefs and crystallized emotions.