Many people believe that Tantra first came to America in the 1970s, but in fact, America's first Tantra teacher flourished in the first half of the 20th century. Below is an excerpt from the Preface to our book, The Essence of Tantric Sexuality, (Llewellyn Worldwide, July '06), which provides an overview of the history of Tantra in the United States.
"[Pierre Arnold] Bernard founded an organization called the Tantrik Order in America that attracted adherents from the upper crust of New York society but also, interestingly enough, some people with significant knowledge of the Hindu tradition including Swami Bodhananda, leader of the Ramakrishna order in New York at the time. It appears that Bernard gave instruction in Vama Marga practices during his early years as a teacher... In 1918, he left New York City and established a retreat center known as the Clarkstown Country Club in West Nyack, New York. This center had a profound influence on the popularity of Yoga in America and a diverse array of luminaries, including Kurt Weil, Dr. Ida Rolf, Sir Paul Dukes and Cyril Scott, were associated with the C.C.C."