Saturday, March 26, 2011

Day 137: Alegraluz Tantra Workshop

Another morning at the Alegraluz Tantra Center. I woke up to the sun shining through my window and warming my face. The morning breathing and breakfast all went as normal, however today was a special day. Today was my first day as a student since I graduated. Martin gave me the opportunity to take place in his Tantra workshop.

Tantra me, baby!

This workshop was to train two ladies from Denmark in the ways of Tantra. They were clients of the center and I was fortunate enough to go along for the ride. Anna came to the center after I had been here for a few days. She arrived late one night and smiled when we were introduced but I got a bit of a cold diva vibe from her. The next morning when I added her on Facebook I understood why – she is a model. Over the next few days before the workshop we spent a lot of time together getting to know one another and as she opened up, we quickly became friends. The other student was Jane. Jane is a friend of Anna, and also from Denmark. She's a warm woman that's the mother of two with some visible remains of her crazy younger years. She's a lot of fun and easy going, but it was with Anna that I found a special bond. Without Anna, I would have been completely unprepared for these workshops.

The workshops were not my first introduction to Tantra. My first day here Martin told me about Tantra giving me "opportunities to see myself" but I didn't understand until I experienced it. Anna started training with Martin almost immediately and soon she needed someone to practice on. I was in the right place at the right time.

Following my shower, I walked across the hall into the massage room. Soothing music mingled with the incense, Anna was sitting on the mat. She greeted me and asked me to sit with her. After a brief introduction we began breathing together in the Tantric style. Breath is extraordinarily important in Tantra. Tantric breathing means breathing deeply into your lungs so that your stomach swells and breathing out making a sigh in the tune of a vowel, "aahhh", "oohhh" or "eeeee".

So Anna and I are breathing together and going through various Tantric poses. We would lay together and breathe, moving our hips and the breathing would become faster and faster until we would both take a deep breath and let out a big sigh. It felt extraordinary. We were naked and many of the poses were sexual, but even without penetration, it felt like having sex. I felt this energy flowing through me that I had never felt before. In fact when I would breathe heavily my hands, shoulders, arms, and mouth would all tense up. At one point Anna asked me how I was and I laughed because my mouth was so tense that my words stumbled out of a small porthole that my lips made. It was an odd mix of comical and spiritual. As we finished up our session I had little clue what had happened but a comforting feeling of intimacy and unspeakable understanding of Anna and myself. We had a few of these sessions and it's funny how not having sex brought me more understanding of sex than having sex. Now I understand that having sex is not about penetration or orgasms but about the exchange of energy. Anna's sessions were the perfect introduction to Tantra and now it was time for me to learn some of the techniques she used.

Martin's photos are brilliant – this is the Meridian Tantra ritual.

With my lungi wrapped around my waist I entered the workshop room. It was pleasantly warm – Martin, Peter, Jane, and Anna all smiled as I entered. When I sat down, Martin began. Over the next two days we would be learning twelve Tantric rituals which can be used to help patients. These twelve rituals were divided into three types, the first four focused on breath, the second touch, and the third energy. Martin would demonstrate each ritual, then we would practice the ritual in pairs. As a pair we took turns, one person would give the ritual and the other would receive, then we would swap.

The twelve rituals we learned were:

1. The Tantric Greeting (appetizer)
2. The Hug (heart to heart)
3. Bonding (Laying on top of one another)
4. The Game (agressive, sensual, seductive)

5. The Blanket Pull
6. Ring Finger Rub
7. The Butt Push
8. The Meridian

9. Worship
10. Self love (lips, breasts, stomach, groin)
11. The Trifecta (buddha, scissor, sit)
12. Namaste

After every ritual Martin asked each of us what we felt. Feelings varied from person to person but most of our comments were similar. In fact, there were some rituals, namely bonding, the meridian, and the trifecta, where I was overcome by the feeling that Anna and I experienced the exact same thing. I can't explain but I was sure whatever I was feeling she was feeling also. Sure enough, when it was her turn to speak, she smiled and agreed.

A part of the Worship Tantra ritual.

Experiencing these rituals was profound. They are designed to induce a higher state of consciousness and they did so successfully. I felt like I was meditating because my mind was switched off for most of the time. The mindless feeling that I described is a curious one. Most people would think that a mindless feeling is not a higher state of consciousness because for them consciousness only exists in the mind. Through meditation and now through Tantra I have been discovering that we are much more than our minds and our bodies. Especially in the Western world, we have so much to learn about spirituality. Similar to meditation, you don't notice the benefits of these exercises until you've completed them. After many I could feel energy surging through my body –  like bubbles or vibrations charging up my spine, through my head, back down, through my arms, legs, and toes.

This beautiful pose is part of the Trifecta Tantra ritual.

This was my first time experiencing these feelings and quite opposite to drugs, with practice these feelings will get stronger. Tantra is awesome and I want to experience more. Tantra is a technique for discovering parts of yourself. You cannot discover these parts of yourself through the mind. There are no passages you can read or thoughts you can produce that will even give you a glimpse. The only way to learn is through experience, which is why Tantra does not tell you, it shows you.

As the session closes we show respect and gratitude with Namaste.

It goes without saying that the two days of workshop were life changing. I feel like I have silently gotten to know myself in ways that I cannot express. It dawned on me the other day that we are conscious of so little of what we experience. In these Tantra sessions there were some thoughts I was conscious of, some things I was semi-conscious of but unable to express, but I have a feeling that about 90% of what happened during these exercises I am completely unaware of but am still able to benefit from. I cannot thank Martin enough for including me in these workshops as they have been one of my most enjoyable moments of growth on my trip. I feel more whole, more confident, more relaxed. Thanks again, Martin.


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