It’s funny how a comment that singer Sting made over 20 years ago made him the 21st century spokesperson for the ancient practice of tantra.
The singers’ statements about all night sex sessions as a result of tantra still has an enduring hold on the public’s imagination. However, the 5,000-year-old Eastern spiritual practice does not mean that you have to make love for hours.
Instead, having a deep respect for your partner is key. The tantric approach has far more to do with your mental approach than with a technique. It’s about harnessing sexual energy in order to revitalise your whole body and mind rather than bragging about your staying power in the bedroom.
Through misunderstanding and misinterpretation, tantra has gained a reputation of being outside the pale of respectability. Many people misinterpret female tantric healers as sex workers and male tantric healers as sexual predators.
The fact that tantra treats sexual energy as something to be celebrated, rather than something to be suppressed or hushed, makes many people feel uncomfortable with the concept of the practice. When we are thinking about embarking on a tantric journey, it’s really important that we understand that negativity can be encountered through fear and ignorance—that is a good foundation understanding of what tantra is.
Sometimes it is necessary to be a little thick skinned when it comes to people being prejudiced about the tantric path. Not everyone is willing to listen or learn about the true essence of tantra. If our family or friends are concerned about the practice, it’s a great idea to invite them along to a talk or workshop. Hopefully, they will soon learn that this is not some sort of black magic or a sexual cult.
Tantric work does not deny sexual energy—it embraces sexual energy—but that does not mean sex defined by mainstream media. In the work I do, sexual energy is used as ignition for firing the kundalini energy, the body’s biological energy system. That can help a person enjoy their sex life to its fullest potential, but it is far wider reaching than that. It can help to break down barriers of guilt or fear, and remove self-imposed or limiting cultural and social boundaries and empower women.
Everyone’s path to tantra is different. My own tantric path began with massage.
I was born with an innate ability to massage. Even when I was a five-year-old boy I enjoyed giving hand and foot massages and gained immense pleasure from the feel good factor that I could bestow on others. Whilst I never stopped massaging, it wasn’t until my wife took over a beauty salon that I decided to pursue a career as a therapist.
In the beginning, I gained satisfaction when a client enjoyed their treatment, but then a few clients experienced an adverse reaction to my bodywork. This was a frightening experience for both me and for the client as they underwent what is commonly called “healing crisis.”
I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong, so I embarked on a quest to discover why my female clients were experiencing trauma after deep tissue massage. I wanted to understand their emotional blockages. It was my hunger for knowledge that led me to travel around the world and learn different techniques.
My work is all about helping people to gain release from negative trauma and transform their lives, allowing them to cast off negativity, and emerge like a butterfly from a chrysalis. This is what I consider the true essence of tantra— the ability to feel bliss and truly enjoy life.
I believe that women hold great capability for overwhelming joy, and to put it simply, tantra removes emotional blockages that stop the embodiment of this joy.
Yoni massage is a therapy, which can sometimes push our boundaries because it is capable of releasing oceans of tears, anger, mistrust, and other emotions connected with our pain—both physical and mental—but it can also release great laughter, joy, and deep pleasure which can in turn produce a heightened state of awareness.
A tantric yoni massage can enable a woman to become aware of her creative feminine energy. This energy is extremely powerful and sometimes a person may not be ready for it. If this is the case, it can feel as if they are confronted by all sorts of obstacles. But with a certain determination and willingness to be healed, it is possible to push through those boundaries and have a beautiful break-through. These experiences are not just ecstasy-like states, they are highly spiritual.
When I first decided to embark on my tantric journey, I found it difficult to know where to start. I was lucky enough to be able to take a career break in order to search for my tantric path, but I understand that not everyone can do this. I continue to learn by just leading my everyday life and incorporating tantra and tantric practices into it.
If I were to time travel back 20 years, I would begin my journey with these 10 steps:
1. Begin the process slowly. Read about tantra. There are some great guides out there and if you start this way you’ll get comfortable with some of the key concepts.
2. Attend a tantra workshop or talk. You could attend alone or with a partner—it doesn’t matter.
3. Consider a physical detox. Don’t underestimate the importance of following a healthy diet and lifestyle, when taking the first steps on Tantra. Tantric practices can act as a real emotional detox and you can help and support yourself in getting through this with an alkaline diet that avoids stimulants. A gentle physical detox is a good idea.
4. Practice deep breathing with attention.
6. Prepare yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally.
7. Approach tantra with an open mind and an open heart. If something makes you uncomfortable, try to work through any feelings of discomfort. But remember: it is your journey and everything should move at your pace.
8. Enjoy the learning! In tantra it never stops and you’ll be amazed how much you will learn about yourself.
9. Keep a journal. It helps if you can record your thoughts and feelings. Writing can be a great way of expressing yourself on your path.
10. Expect that you may come across things that challenge your previously held thoughts and beliefs. Also, expect that you may go through a healing crisis.
Author: Mal Weeraratne
Image: Jen Y./ Flickr
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy editor: Nicole Cameron
Social editor: Waylon Lewis