Tantric Massage—A Workshop Review by John Keoni Kalb
In any relationship there comes a time where it is critical that partners deepen intimacy. After almost five years of marriage I needed to find an environment in which I could feel tender towards myself and allow without judgment my deeper self to emerge while at the same time create a fresh, deeper, honest and trusting connection with my partner. I’d hoped that I could also find a way to recharge the erotic juices of our relationship.
Steve and Lokita Carters’ workshop, “Tantric Massage for Lovers” was the perfect healing balm for both of us. The weekend provided us with the intimate energetic underpinnings and juicy massage techniques that will serve as the foundation for creating real intimacy and a fabulous life-long relationship. This workshop was a beautiful journey, attended by 8 couples where Steve and Lokita taught each couple to co-create a safe, sacred, intimate and erotic connection within their relationship. For my partner and I it all but saved our marriage.
The foundation of tantra is honest, intimate communication for without it there cannot be authentic sexual passion or a shared spiritual journey. Steve and Lokita define tantra as the weaving spirituality, love and intimacy into the fabric of our daily life. They use ritual, communication and energy as the basis for their work. This workshop never delved into the sexual components of tantric practices but stayed focused on creating intimate connections and methods of moving energy between partners. Steve and Lokita, who obviously enjoy their personal relationship, led the workshop with love, humor, joy and high intention. They always modeled excellent communications skills, really listening to each other, leaving us feeling like we were invited into the middle of their ongoing intimate conversation.
Learning to see and honor each other as the living embodiment of god/goddess Shiva/Shakti formed the basis of the partnership work. Steve and Lokita were skilled at helping the group create a powerful and sacred environment, where it became safe to playfully explore all of the possibilities. Each couple in the group was passionate about deepening their interpersonal connection and fully took advantage of the space to explore their own emerging dynamics while respecting other couples’ boundaries necessary to fulfill their personal intentions.
The weekend featured an excellent balance of personal transformation exercises and opportunities to learn tantric massage touches. Introducing powerful breath work techniques allowed each person the opportunity to clear out old patterns that have the potential to hinder our journeys. Other exercises gave us ways of exploring our bodies through movement and time to meditate on the specific energetics of the individual chakras. As old personal patterns were released and new skills were taught we experienced a deepening authentic connection to our individual selves and the ability to playfully share our journey with our partner.
Each of the massage exercises started with the creation of each couples’ sacred space and a simple connecting ritual. Steve and Lokita then led the demonstrations of rituals and massage techniques with sensitivity, where giving and receiving, communicating honestly and tantric touching were all demonstrated with ease and pleasure. Then they guided us through what we had just witnessed, gently reinforcing our own skills and suggesting individual improvements to enhance the pleasure of the massage for both the giver and receiver.
The weekend was punctuated by the setting of Harbin Hot Springs, where I felt reconnected to a deeper nature and appreciated the removal of electronic devices and worldly distraction. In addition the four days were catered by an excellent chef, (Erin Wheeler of Sparks restaurant in Guerneville) who presented yummy organic vegetarian fare to the delight of all of the workshop participants.
It became apparent by the end of the workshop that all of the couples enjoyed deepening their personal intimacy and had received new ways of sharing pleasure. We all also enjoyed the great and juicy surprises that were revealed over the weekend. Needless to say, we all appreciated the rare opportunity to create a loving environment where we were able to be who we truly are, to be accepted as we truly are and to share in a wonderful journey.
Coming back into the home environment from a great workshop is always a challenge and my wife and I started by scheduling three months of weekly massage sessions. While we forgot some of the elements that we used over the weekend the result was the same, a connective and juicy experience for us both. And by referring to the beautifully photographed handbook we received we were able to reconstruct the elements of the ritual we left out the next time.
For me, the greatest lesson of the workshop for was not only the massage techniques but most importantly the realization that our relationship and all our interactions can come from this revitalized connective place between us, even if we don’t have time to go to this place as frequently as desired. Every couple that attends Tantric Massage for Lovers will refine, deepen and extend they loving intimacy, even if they have no desire to further their exploration of tantric practices. And for those who think it’s too late, this could be the ray of hope and the cure for divorce.