Exercise for Ecstasy: Five Simple Practises for Pleasure

If you wanted to enhance your wellbeing or get super fit, what would you do? Perhaps go to a gym, hire an expert personal trainer, watch videos, or ask advice from friends. You wouldn’t imagine that it would happen overnight. You know that it’s an ongoing practice.

So why is it that so many folks imagine having spectacular sex when they do little to cultivate their capacity for pleasure?

The belief that “sex is natural” is a great limitation on the imagination. It is true as far as being driven by the biological impulse. But let’s face it, most people do not engage in sexual acts for the purpose of procreation. You might be having solo sex, your genital match might not be baby-making, or you may be engaging in erotic experience for a whole host of motivations, such as connection and intimacy.

Credit: Forward bed – Illustration 90842899 © Benjavisa Ruangvaree | Dreamstime.com

Sex is natural and pleasure is available to every human being. Yet in a curious paradox, when you bring form to the practice of pleasure, it supports greater flow. You can exercise for ecstasy.

Currently I am on a writing course with the wonderful Eva Weaver. As we journey week by week, I am struck by the parallels between the creative writing process and erotic experience.

Popular culture suggests that inspiration just comes out of nowhere, and creative expression simply flows spontaneously. However, as budding writers we are encouraged to devote ourselves to our craft – making time and space for the discipline of writing. Sometimes it feels like there’s no time in the day, sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s downright frustrating. And yet I keep turning up. Tending to my writer self.

How could you tend to your lover self?

Credit: United – Illustration 102471568  © Benjavisa Ruangvaree | Dreamstime.com

Practising pleasure doesn’t tend to look like what most people imagine when they hear the word “sex”. No partner is required. Even if you have a lover or partner, it is valuable to develop your own erotic aliveness so that you have something to share with them.

The Rishi Isometrics* are an ancient practice for cultivating awareness of the subtle energy body, based on a principle of tension and release. Many folks are walking around in a state of chronic tension – physical and mental – without even realising it. Whilst it might sound strange to deliberately create stress in the body, when we do this consciously, it can become easier to perceive relaxation. You don’t know what you’re holding onto until you let it go.

 

Why not try it right now… here in this moment.

Take a deep full breath in. As you breath in, create a tension in your body by squeezing as many muscles as you can… scrunch up your face, squeeze your fists, clench your buttocks and tense your toes. Hold the breath and hold the tension. When you feel like you’re about to explode, release the breath and release the tension. Notice how you feel… track the sensations in your body… tingling, stillness, warmth, cool, whatever is arising for you… notice it. (If you don’t feel anything the first time, give it another go. It can take a few tries to feel it.)

 

You can download the written instructions here and do the exercises along with me on Soundcloud here.

I’ve shared this practice with many of my private clients and they love how simple yet powerful these five exercises can be. It only takes fifteen minutes to do the whole sequence. It might just boost your energy for life – and your lover. Enjoy!

* Gratitude to the lineage holders of Ipsalu Tantra for this practice.

 

One World Tantra Festival

I am thrilled to be joining the team of over 75 incredible international teachers presenting at the One World Tantra Festival, the only week-long global online Tantra event in the world. It starts tomorrow! (Friday 25th Feb)

I’ll be offering a “Grief Ritual for the Earth” on Thursday 3rd March at 7:00 pm GMT. I’m honoured to have been invited to share this essential work for our times.

The capacity to melt into love, pleasure and joy is only as vast as the capacity to meet the pain, anger and sadness of existence. Are you willing to go there? This is a space to bring everything that is in your heart, mind and body, and offer it up to our sacred Earth.

Get all the details, local times and check out the full schedule here.

AND you can use my code GAYATRI to get 25% off your ticket price which gives you full access to the live 24 hour program of workshops, the live community lounge to share and connect with other participants and 24 hour technical support in case you run into trouble PLUS a 60 day access period to the content after the event closes AND post-festival community events!

What makes a practitioner “Tantric”?

On a regular basis at Tantra Massage Training we receive applications from folks who wish to offer Tantric massage professionally. Many of those folks are muddling Tantra with a primarily erotic or sexual service and think that learning a bunch of techniques will be enough to start offering Tantric massage. More alarmingly, a number state that they simply “fancy a career change” without ever having actually done any inner work or exploration of their sexuality for themselves.

Of course, there is a great confusion out there in the world about what Tantra is and isn’t. That’s a big conversation in itself. In this blog I’d like to focus on some of the elements that I consider essential for anyone offering or considering to offer Tantric massage professionally. It’s not exhaustive, yet it provides a starting point for any practitioner wishing to work with integrity.

I’ve shared the elements under two key areas – form and formless. “Form” is the tangible and measurable outer work required; such as specific qualifications to have in place as a foundation. “Formless” is the less tangible yet deeply sensed and intuited inner work that gives a particular frequency to your offering.

In reality these two are not separate as one flows into the other – like the symbol of yin yang. Yet it feels supportive to offer this kind of clarity to the different dimensions to consider. Many folks only consider the aspects of form as they have not yet come to know the formless within themselves.

Photo 35344559 / Yin Yang © Kwasny221 | Dreamstime.com

Form – The tangible and measurable outer work

  • You have a recognised bodywork qualification as foundation (e.g. ITEC massage)
  • You have walked the path of personal development / spiritual awareness / sacred embodiment for some years
  • You are committed to your professional development and accountability by engaging in regular supervision sessions – either with an individual mentor, group programme, or peer support.
  • You have engaged with some kind of trauma awareness training

In recent years we have become much more aware of trauma – individual and collective – and how it impacts someone’s capacity to be in their sovereignty; particularly when in the presence of sexual energy. Working in a “trauma informed” way is essential for all practitioners to be in integrity and minimising harm.

Formless – The intangible and intuitive inner work

The most essential quality of a Tantric practitioner is the depths that you have explored in your own being. It is only when you have met and befriended all the colours of the human experience within yourself that you can meet and befriend them within another. What you cannot meet and befriend within yourself, you will condemn or reject within another.

One of the key qualities you must cultivate is self-awareness. You have done the inner work. You have invested significant amount of time and energy in your own personal growth. You know your shadows as well as your strengths. You have looked at your blind spots as well as your gifts. You have deeply explored your own relationship to sexuality before you try to guide someone in theirs.

As an adjunct to exploring sexuality through the portal of the erotic body, I recommend same-gender work (i.e. women and men’s circles) for deeper self-enquiry. There are many shadows between the sexes when it comes to attraction and intimacy and it is not healthy or helpful to be playing them out with your clients. If you are a man intending to work with women, it is supportive to have examined your relationship to women by understanding yourself as a man. If you are a woman intending to work with men, it is supportive to have examined your relationship to men by understanding yourself as a woman. If you are working in a LGBTQI+ space you also need to understanding your own sexuality and gender identity and how this informs your relationships and practice.*

Lastly, ask yourself these questions…

How comfortable are you in your own skin? In a culture that is body-shaming and pleasure-negative (despite sex being co-opted everywhere!), can you offer your clients an imprint of innocence, naturalness and sexual wellbeing? What is your relationship to the Sacred? Can you guide your clients beyond what they already know into an expanded experience of themselves through the awakening of sexual energy?

For many people, all the elements mentioned above are part of the evolving exploration of liberation and integration. You don’t have to wait until you are perfect. In fact you can’t wait until then. The world can’t wait till then! But you do have to perfectly awake to what you know and what you don’t know.

In essence, having a piece of paper with a qualification does not a Tantric practitioner make. Thinking that simply learning techniques without having done any inner work is dodgy and potentially dangerous. Tantra is not something that you “do”; but rather a transmission that emanates from your “being”.

Be in humility with your capacity and be in service to the Great Mystery.

*Gratitude to Rowan of Moon Hare Yoga who offered these words in reflection of their conscious massage offerings for clients of all bodies and genders

Birthday, Death, Re-birth

This week we’re celebrating five years of Tantra Massage Training. Yes, it’s our birthday!

Many times I have sat in front of a group, ready to share the gifts of Tantra through touch, and wondered “How did all this happen?” The truth is that I never set out to teach Tantra massage or run a school. Yet that’s what existence called me to and I responded. This is how I live… listening the whispers of Spirit, following the trail of cosmic breadcrumbs, and essentially doing what I’m told by the Big Boss (you could also say God, Divine, Source, or whatever works for you).

It has been over a year since we ran a Tantra massage workshop. In that time there has been much opportunity for reflection…

In the spaciousness that opened up when the world went into lockdown, I realised just how exhausted I had become through overwork. It seems somehow shameful to admit but even when you love your “work” and it’s your vocational calling, it’s still possible to do it unsustainably. Our whole culture is geared towards this – demanding more and more. Even the personal development axiom “Do what you’ll love, and you’ll never work another day in your life” can become an impossible standard. One that encourages us to over-ride the needs of the body and soul for integration and rest. I spent the first few months of Lockdown #1 in a state of grief and deep rest.

Since the start of Lockdown #2 I’ve been “back to school” and diving into education on trauma awareness, power dynamics, systemic oppression and the creation of new culture, plus some deep personal enquiry. It’s been one hell of a ride!

Even though there is a roadmap out of lockdown over the next few months, physical (social) distancing measures are expected to go on for some time, placing a big restriction on bringing people together with touch.

Yet more poignantly, we are living through a mass collective trauma. Not only through the presence of COVID but also the restrictions around contact, movement and how we can show up in the world. For many, it’s the most significant event to impact our lives. Regardless of your stance on COVID, vaccinations and Government guidelines – or even if you have flourished during these times – there is a shockwave running through the collective that cannot be ignored.

So much of the Western culture focuses on stimulation, high intensity and speeding towards imagined outcomes; as reflected in the standard story of sex. Even in the world of neo-Tantra, the promise of harder erections, better orgasms and juicier lovemaking feeds into the hunger for “bigger, faster, more”.

For me, there has been an invitation to look deep inside…

  • What is my part in all this?
  • Where have I perpetuated these paradigms?
  • What is the world in which I wish to live?
  • How can I tend to the new culture?

It is my intention to be responsive to and in integrity with this moment as fully as possible – knowing that this is an ever-evolving enquiry. This has brought me to some decisions about the future of TM workshops…

We will no longer offer weekend-long massage workshops, particularly for genital touch (lingam and yoni). Whilst healing and transformation has arisen in these spaces, the risks associated with offering such intimate work in this format no longer feels aligned.

The only Tantra massage training offered this year will be the “Tantra Massage Intensive” in October (10th to 17th). The residential format offers a deeper container of holding and consent/boundaries will be a strong feature of the training. The Intensive is only for those who have either worked with me previously (whether in a workshop or privately) and/or coming with a good foundation of Tantra/bodywork experience. Naturally there will be COVID protocols in place; though at this point we do not have a clear picture of exactly what they will be, as per the ever-changing Government guidelines.

It is possible to learn Tantra massage – individually, with a partner or in a small group – through private tuition at my home temple space in North Somerset. In these bespoke training and retreats the content and pace can be more tailored to your level of experience. COVID protocols are in place and bookings are from May onwards.

Something new is emerging… something new wants to be born… yet at this time I can only see a few steps ahead. This is how I live… listening the whispers of Spirit, following the trail of cosmic breadcrumbs, and essentially doing what I’m told by the Big Boss.

Blessings of grace and fortitude to you for whatever ride life is taking you on right now.

Big love,
Gayatri

Cultivating safety in sexuality workshops

Since the tsunami of #metoo hit our cultural and social consciousness, we have seen wave after wave of statements of abuse by people in power. No area of life has been untouched by these outings– from government to charities, church to corporations. In the spiritual community every field from yoga to meditation has been shaken and stirred. In this sense the Tantra world is no different from any other sphere of life. However, what makes it particularly chilling is that many people entered the field of sacred sexuality seeking healing, and instead found themselves being further traumatised by what they encountered.

In Tantric work it is not uncommon for difficult emotions and suppressed memories to surface. Sometimes people experience catharsis and tears as old patterns and stories fall away. In the moment this is held with presence and compassion, and supported in moving through the body. What is essential is that the person is able to process their experience as fully as they can in that moment. It is only in a space of safety and security that we can really allow ourselves to open into the fullness of experiences. Softness and sensitivity are our guides.

What is problematic is when people have been pushed beyond what they are able to process – all in the name of breaking through sexual shame, cultural taboos, or “smashing the Ego”. Rather than being supported to explore and honour their boundaries and needs, folks have been pressurised to break through their “resistance” to the detriment of their physical and mental wellbeing.

What is shown time and time again through these revelations is how challenging it is for many people – in particular women – to feel empowered to honour the wisdom and knowing of their own being. We have been brought up with the message that we must entrust power over to authority figures whether teachers or doctors. We have been conditioned to disconnect from our bodies and override the subtle cues that something is not right for us. We have been taught to ignore our intuition and suppress our emotions. And we are so longing for connection and community that we give up our individual needs in order to fit in and belong.

So, how do we reclaim our sovereignty whilst surrendering into our spirituality? How can you stay safe when igniting such potentially explosive material as sexuality? What could be the ways forward for us all?

There are three principles which can support you on your journey…

Awareness
Tantra is founded on the twin principles of Energy (Shakti) and Awareness (Shiva). Much neo-Tantric teaching has focused on the cultivation of high energetic states, orgasm and ecstasy. However, this is only one dimension. We also need to cultivate the quality of awareness; witnessing ourselves in the experience.

Awareness is not the small self that shows up as self-consciousness; not able to fully engage for fear of “what other will people think”. Rather this is the big “Self” of consciousness that it always present within us. Awareness keeps us anchored in the present moment, able to notice and witness our experience as the “one who is experiencing” rather than floating off into realms of fantasy or disassociation, which are mechanisms of escape from reality.

Sensitivity
Sensitivity begins with your capacity to feel yourself first, before even starting to think about feeling another. How open are you to the environment around you? How keenly do you experience each moment of aliveness? Many people have had sensitivity drummed out of them from an early age. Or life feels so overwhelming that we numb ourselves out in order to survive.

In life there is a flow between giving and receiving, activity and receptivity. However, many people get stuck in one mode – usually the one associated with outward action and doing. When we are constantly pushing or reaching out into the world, the quality of sensitivity in noticing what is coming back towards us is diminished. We are reaching out for an experience but not attuned to what is actually coming back our way.

Sensitivity begins with feeling life moving through us as it is – without agenda or expectation. Once we have experienced this force of life, we realise that it is a part of us. We do not need to reach out to another to provide it to us. We are in a place where we can share what is moving through as an overflowing of our being. We touch the other as if touching ourselves and are responsive to the feedback that flows between us in the aliveness of the moment.

Slowing Down
Our world is increasingly fast-paced and performance driven. We want it all and we want it now. We have lost a sense of appreciation for the time it takes to truly learn and master a new skill. We are a culture of over-stimulated intensity junkies focused on quick wins and fast results.

Tantra is not a journey than can be fast-tracked; it requires continuous and consistent commitment to your practise and personal growth. Whilst powerful breakthroughs and exciting energetic shifts can be experienced in the moment, it is only by giving space for integration and honouring the movement of the experience beyond the workshop and into our lives that we can truly move glimpse the potential of the Tantric path.

Awareness, sensitivity and slowing down are all skills that can be cultivated. They require time and space to open into more subtle experience. Are you ready to awaken to a new way of being?

Togetherness – 18th & 19th November 2017

This dynamic festival explores human connection, intimacy and sexuality in all their forms.

It’s about…

  • Improving the quality of contact with everyone in your life
  • Meeting new people from different backgrounds
  • Enriching all your relationships

Gayatri is offering her ever-popular ‘Massage a Trois’ workshop there.

Discover more at https://www.togethernesslondon.com/

Tantra Festival London – 14th & 15th October 2017

Gayatri is delighted to be part of the 2017 London tantrafestival

‘Heaven on Earth – Dare to live in Ecstasy’
taking place in Shoreditch, Central London on the 14th & 15th October 2017

tantrafestival is a celebration of Tantra in its many facets. For one weekend, the best practitioners and teachers in the field of Tantra from the UK and Europe come together to create a dynamic and exciting programme of lectures, workshops and presentations on a broad number of Tantra topics. Among all these inspiring activities, the festival also includes artistic performances, stimulating Conscious Talks™, fun games and opportunities to connect with like-hearted people.

Join Gayatri on Sunday afternoon for her workshop “This Body, My Prayer” on the sacred nature of the body.

Discover more at https://tantrafestivals.co.uk

The Summer House


If you haven’t heard of it as yet, The Summer House is a wonderfully playful, creative sex-positive retreat for exploring intimacy, connection and self-expression. It offers a chance to escape from city life and soak up the views, gardens and atmosphere of a luxurious country home. All with an exuberant team who co-create radically different way of engaging with others. Prepare for the time of your life!  I’m delighted to be invited back to Summer House to facilitate for the third year running. The workshops are rooted in my take on sacred sexuality. Discover more at https://thesummerhouseweekend.com/

T O G E T H E R N E S S: An intimate festival of human connection

For 2 days in London in May in London we are taking over the top of a skyscraper and filling it with some of the best teachers in the world so you can learn how to

 • enrich your relationships

• expand your sexuality

• explore new ways of connecting with others

• improve the quality of contact you have with everyone in your life

Sessions include

 Expanding Your Sexuality • Art of Sensual Touch • Deep Listening • Boundaries & Empowerment • Mindfulness & Sexuality • Liberating Gender • The Soulmate Delusion • Sensory Experience • Art of Being with Alan Lowen • How to be a Lazy Guru • Body Positive Photo Studio • Singing & Intimacy • Digital Dating Detox • Love Lounge 101 • Sensuality & Ritual • Orgasmic Cacao Breathing • Shhh Dating • Procabulary • Deepening Sensuality for Partners • Playfulness & Connection • Holding for Healing • Saturday Night Cacao Dance Party

Teachers include

 ALAN LOWEN • ANDREW BARNES • GAYATRI BEEGAN • ADAM WILDER • CLARA GÓMEZ • GUY BARRINGTON • SANGA SANGA • LAURENCE SHORTER • ROMA NORRIS • MARK ENGLAND • WILRIEKE SOPHIA • AND MANY MORE

(FOR AN UP TO DATE LISTING CHECK OUR WEBSITE)

 Discover more at https://www.togethernesslondon.com/

Art of Being Festival (Czech Republic)

MIRACLE AND MYSTERY!

5 days opening and awakening to the mystical magic of becoming present in our whole being. Set in stunning countryside in the Czech Republic.

“We dive deep, we fly high, we share intimately and celebrate passionately, guided by Alan’s carefully chosen team of teacher-guides and musicians–men and women who love to pour out their life-transforming gifts with real presence, to enthrall and thrill us with music that may carry us into mystic space or dance us off our feet, who love the inspiration of working together, and love above all the rising festival wave that uplifts and transports us all into the realm of MIRACLE AND MYSTERY.” Alan Lowen, The Patron, Founder and Spiritual Father of the Art of Being Festival

Gayatri is honoured to return for the second year as a teacher and guide. We hope you will join us!

Discover more… https://artofbeingfestival.cz/en/