Preparation Rituals

Woman in bath ritual sensual bathing

Most of us have busy and at times stressful lives. We put our energy into work, children, household duties, financial matters and never ending ‘to do’ lists. Sharing intimate times with our partner can often take a back seat or become something hurried before falling asleep!

Whilst we all enjoy a spot of spontaneous lovemaking there is also something to be said for seeing it and approaching it as a ritual and savoring and intensifying every moment. Whether self-pleasuring or being with our partner, we like to bring in a sense of sacredness and fun. To prepare ourselves emotionally and physically we create a sacred space. This could be the bedroom if it is quiet, warm and cosy. The things we bring into the sacred space are important. We like to create a sensual mood so have objects such as precious stones, fresh flowers and beautiful fabrics which can be draped to transform or hide any clutter in the room. Soft and subtle lighting and candles are a favourite. Music is equally important and can invoke desires and feelings within us.

So now we’ve prepared the space how about our self? If you are on your own, you may think ‘what’s the point of that if I’m going to be alone?’ Taking time out, tuning in and honouring ourselves in this way is good for our body, mind and wellbeing.

A nice way to prepare is with a bathing ritual. Create and transform your bathroom into a luxurious and inviting space that you can really indulge in. As we mentioned earlier, candles, soft lighting and sensual music are all wonderful mood enhancers. Exotic essential oils such as geranium or jasmine will really heighten and enhance the senses. When you are satisfied with your setting it’s time to sink into your tub and spoil yourself.

Now is a good time to start tuning in and becoming aware of the breath. Allow yourself to breathe a little deeper and slower into the lower abdomen. Feel a wave of relaxation spreading throughout your body. The bathing ritual is a beautiful gift to pamper oneself or to share with a partner, who you may wish to bathe you.

The next suggestion is self-massage which is wonderful when done in front of a full length mirror or if you prefer, lying down. Choose your favourite oil and start to spread slowly over the body, really paying attention to every part. After a while let yourself linger over sensitive areas such as your erogenous zones. Continuing to breathe steadily and deeply, helps you to stay connected with yourself and present in your experience.                          

Love Carmelle and Rachael

The Love Muscle

Text suggesting practice exercise  

An important muscle, often referred to as the love muscle in Tantra, is the PC (pubococcygeus) muscle. This is the muscle we use to stop the flow of urine and it is present in both men and women.

Tantric practices are easily integrated into daily life in many subtle ways. Here is a technique and easy exercise to begin with, using the love muscle, that is simple to integrate whilst going about your daily routine:

Using the PC muscle almost like a pump, in conjunction with the breath, try inhaling whilst tensing the PC muscle then releasing it fully on the exhale. Once you have mastered that you can try a quick pulsing action or, when you feel comfortable, try tensing and holding for 6 seconds before releasing it. This creates a pleasant sensation as well as moving the energy up the back of the spine and helping to circulate the energy throughout the body. You may also feel a wonderful rejuvenating effect!

It is important to keep this muscle strong and healthy by exercising it regularly. The benefits are expanded orgasm and pleasure with heightened sensations during lovemaking. For men it begins to help with stronger ejaculation control.

Love Carmelle and Rachael 

Yin Yang Play

Yin Yang Symbol 

Yin Yang play is a game that is fun and revealing! You may be familiar with the concept of Yin Yang and how they are based on opposites that make the whole. This is because each also contains an element of varying degrees of the other. One is not better than the other, rather they are both necessary and the ideal would be a balance of both. An example of Yin would be; receptive, stillness, female, cold, moon. Yang; force, movement, masculine, heat, sun.

Firstly, you choose who will be yang - they will be expressing their desires. It is a chance to clearly speak your own thoughts and wishes. It can be difficult sometimes to just receive as we often feel we need to (or want to) give something back in return. An example you may wish for could be a massage. Be specific and let your partner know which essential oil you would like, the pressure and type of touch, how long it should last etc.

The role of yin is one of nurturing, being present and encouraging yang to explore and be open about their desires. This will create intimacy, strong communication and trust.

A few things to consider; decide how long each of you will have. You may have a couple of wishes that could last for a few hours or lots of little ones that you can spread out over the agreed time. Remember that the intention of this is not a power play situation. Do not ask for something that you know your partner cannot or would not be comfortable doing. It also does not have to be sexual wishes. This can be a great chance to challenge ourselves a bit in a fun way, particularly if we find it difficult to ask for what we want for fear of seeming selfish, being rejected or having a lack of time.

Explore and be creative but most of all bring out your sense of playfulness!

Love Carmelle and Rachael

Intimate loving - Orgasmic living

Man Woman Kissing Intimacy Nature Sensual

For a lot of people there is a certain misunderstanding and mystery surrounding Tantra and sex. This is partly due to the way in which we view and experience sex. In the west we often crave immediate gratification, using sex as a source of releasing stress, seeing ejaculation as the goal to be reached, touching but not really feeling the other person, assuming that if you just spend some time focusing on the genital area, he/she will be turned on and ready for the next step. Whilst there is nothing particularly bad about that, you can lose the more subtle and expanding sensations.

There are many stereotypical ideas that we attach or expect from each other. Men are often expected to be powerful and to initiate sex. They may feel pressure about giving a good performance and having an amazing sexual technique. This can lead to anxiety and disconnection as it then becomes a sex act, staying in the mind rather than approaching lovemaking from your heart and body too. Women can often have negative feelings about their bodies, trying to live up to an ideal image. Social conditioning can make it difficult for women to express their true desires and needs, for the fear of seeming aggressive or feeling vulnerable.    

Only by discarding those gender stereotypes and allowing ourselves to accept and explore both the masculine and feminine aspects in each of us, can we begin to relate to each other and understand our full potential.

Often in our relationships it can be difficult to maintain the freshness and the wonder that we had in the early stages of being together. We get attached to the story of who we are and the roles we play within our partnership. Old resentments and playing out old habits of relating to each other make it difficult to view our beloved through fresh eyes. This often carries through to our sexual relationships and it can quickly feel stale as we struggle to retain the early excitement. We can sometimes feel disconnected as we struggle to let go of old hurts and emotions bubbling under the surface.

In Tantric lovemaking we focus on being in the present and having a sense of awareness and consciousness with every gesture and touch, allowing our intention to be clear and flowing freely, which naturally occurs when surrendering into the present moment. Tantric lovemaking is like a dance; it is the energy between two people and what it creates and stirs deep within, flowing between you in an organic way. It is a shared journey and a merging of sexual energy, passion and intimacy, building in a slow conscious way.

We often create what we call ‘sacred space’. This space is created through our respect, focus and intention. Our sacred space is the place in which all that is failing to serve us is left outside. A big part of Tantra is communication with open hearts, this makes it easier to tap into our truth and share in an uncensored way with our partner without fear or judgement.

Although we do not offer Tantric sex sessions, we do offer ways in which you can start to explore your own relationship with sex and intimacy.

Love Carmelle and Rachael

A Tantric Paradise.

Woman bathing outside paradise

Flying into San Francisco then driving a couple of hours north we arrive at Harbin hot springs. Beautifully quiet- no phones allowed or work anyway, with hills and luscious greenery all around. Checking into simple but pretty rooms which will be home for the next seven days and feeling excited and full of beans, despite the jet lag!

Venturing out to explore we pass the library, divine temple, the market store selling delicious foods, fresh juices and various lotions and potions. An Aladdin’s cave full of silks and gems in an array of colours catches our eye and tempts us in.

Saying hello and smiling at the various clothed/unclothed people passing us as we make our way to the pools. There are four in total, all using 100% spring water and no chlorine. You could soak for hours with this water.

Bathing at night is one of the most delicious experiences....as we lower ourselves slowly into the meditation pool everything just melts away....a stream of thoughts dissolving into the water. The sounds of wild animals and the cool night air gently eases us into a tranquil night of sleep.

Waking up each day at dawn for the morning meditation we cajole each other with positive words such as ‘It’s the best way to start the day.’ As neither of us are early birds this essential scenario is played out each morning.

Isn’t it funny how you are able to immerse yourself and how much easier it tends to be when you’re in a different environment? The week could be described as both roller coaster and blissful, but one thing was for sure, we were both fully engaged and focused on the present moment- an essential part of Tantra.

Harbin has a wonderful array of workshops that run all the year round. Many are designed around sexuality, intimacy, love and its healing aspects. An important part of the workshop involved bringing to the surface our deepest fears and insecurities. Wow, it certainly did bring things up, including a great deal of resistance in most of us. However, then we can move beyond these feelings, revealing us in our pure and true nature. Thank goodness for much laughter and dance to balance the mood!

It reaffirms to us the deep healing power that Tantra has on our own lives, and the personal transformational effects we witnessed in the group we were honored to be a part of. We found Harbin to be the perfect retreat centre to study and progress with our own personal discoveries, a path that unfolds the deepest truth and joy within ourselves.

We have been back to Harbin many times since, both for trainings and pleasure. If you ever find yourself in that part of the world we recommend that you treat yourself to a visit, even just for the day!

Love Rachael and Carmelle