Nowadays you find many different places that proclaim to offer tantra massage. These experiences range from clothes-on bodywork to release of physical tension to naked and oily body-to-body massages where ‘everything is allowed’, and it is all about following the flow of the moment. What is it exactly that we offer in the Tantra Temple? And why do we call it an art as it says in our motto: The Sacred Art of Conscious Touch?
Through personal examples and stories, I will explain to you what it takes to turn a tantra massage into a true piece of art and reveal a secret key, which is necessary for any artist to create something truly fascinating, touching and awakening. I will also give you some tips and tricks in the end to have some practical tools to turn your regular physical massage into a breathtaking symphony of touch, love and intimacy.
The Art of Art: The world of Ballet and Tantra
First of all, let me tell you a little bit more about what we consider art. Art is a way of expressing something objectively true, something objectively beautiful, harmonious and good. Real objective art has the property and purpose to transmit something deep from one soul to another. It can awaken something profound in the one watching, hearing or receiving this art; becoming captivated by a state of wonder, splendour or beauty.
This will then take us out of our usual, linear or mental way of being, opening a door to the magical world of our soul. In order to pass our usual barriers that contain us in a limited space, art takes us to a wider place; there where our heart connects to something that is universal. Since normal words, banal acts or physical gestures cannot open this gate to heaven, art uses symbols and archetypes (e.g. in poetry) to let us experience this reality, which always takes us closer to whom we truly are.
Before I started working as a tantra masseuse, I had a professional career in ballet, where I discovered two categories of dancers. All were of course highly trained and extremely skilled, but there was one group of dancers, the real artists, of whom people said ‘they have talent’. And then there were those who were technicians, who mastered their technique very well, but who somehow failed to transmit that which transforms the movement into art; the transmission of enchanting, soul-awakening, awe-inspiring magic to the audience; lifting you up way beyond the steps of perfectly arched feet on the floor.
The same can be said about a tantra massage that is performed as an art.
A masseur can become very skilled in their techniques: learning all kinds of pressure points, ways to stretch the body, awaken and control certain kinds of energies or de-armouring trauma’s, but it can become very dry and technical. It might bring some relaxation and even joy, but it does not reach as deep as true art.
A tantra masseur who is also an artist has learned – beyond offering a technically well-performed massage – to bring a message to the heart of the receiver. The massage done as an art can transmit a certain state, touch the soul of the receiver and awaken that being to a universal reality. This reality has always already been there, but it might have been partly forgotten, partly covered by layers of daily activity and routine. This is why guests in the temple often state after a massage: “I finally feel myself” or “I feel so much love, this unconditional love” or “I am in such a good place, like I have finally come home”.
The Secret of becoming an Artist: Balancing discipline and spontaneity
‘How do we do that then?’, you might wonder, ‘create art out of a massage? And take a receiver to this universal reality? And is that something we can actually learn? Or are some just born with this artistic sense and way of being, while others are simply not?’
Actually, this is something that we can all learn. Art is not something that superficially arises, without us working hard for it first, it is all about perfecting what you learn. Every artist has a profound background of experience. I can take again the example from my past as a ballerina. We would practice for over 10 years 8 hours a day, training our body, skills, techniques and our steps. The dances we performed were not just some free dances. Every little step is on the note of the music, perfectly aligned with the other dancers and controlling every muscle with precision; it is all extremely structured. When I perfected my practice so precisely, I felt the dance so deeply imprinted in my being, and when I would then go on the stage: I was free, then it was my heart dancing, not my body or my technique. I started to shine and my soul was blossoming. It became a spontaneous and authentic dance, a truthful expression of my heart in that present moment. And then it is this state that you transmit and not the routine, which will catch, touch and impact the audience deeply.
“Freedom only appears after a proper practice of discipline”
This story actually reveals a secret key for mastering any art: a perfect balance between discipline and spontaneity.
Spontaneity is what makes the art come alive, and this counts for a tantra massage as well. Every massage, every touch, every stroke and caress is totally new. Performed with the freshness of the present moment, which makes it beautiful, magical, makes the mind stop and takes you beyond the world that you know, plunging into a touching unknown. And this spontaneity does not mean that you cannot perform the same massage technique or routine again and again. Or that it has to be anarchic or totally different every time. It might be a completely similar succession of gestures, but not performed mechanically, as a repetition of pre-imprinted learning, but as an alive discovery and new expression of that exact moment in time.
As for the ballerina, this freedom only appears after a proper practice of discipline. A tantric masseur learns about the body and the energies, practices many massage techniques, pressure points, and ways of stretching the body, always aiming to perfect his skills and knowledge. He even has a personal practice of daily purification techniques, yoga and meditation, often for many years and also applies the tantric principles in all his daily activities; making the tantric path a way of life. Only then will he enter the massage, where he will be ready to shine the light of the heart, deeply connecting with the other one and offering himself as a divine inspiration in the loving sensual game of the soul.
Three steps on the path towards becoming a Tantric Massage Artist
’This sounds beautiful’, you might think, ‘but how can I practically learn to give a tantra massage as an art?’ Here are a few suggestions:
FIrst step: learning the discipline! You need to know the basic principles that are necessary to offer a tantric massage. They ought to be learned, studied, applied and made ‘your own’. Once you truly master them, you will be able to set your heart free and become a spontaneous artist of conscious touch. These principles are: being conscious in your touch, learning to always be in the present moment, quieting the mind, being in your heart, being aware and connecting from heart-to-heart to the receiver of your massage. We cannot keep these concepts as dry knowledge that we only heard about, we need to live them, become them, so that they become our nature that we don’t need to think about any more once we start to touch.
Second step: learning to be spontaneous! To open up to inspiration. Once you have learned some basic massage techniques and mastered these basics principles, it is a matter of not applying your techniques from your mind, trying to fix some kind of issue or get to a certain goal. But to simply silence your mind and make space for intuition to inspire your touch in that moment. You have to learn to be free from some goal you had in your mind and instead to feel what is needed exactly in that moment. The piece of art appears as a spontaneous expression of your soul. It is like a song that is being played through the unicity of the two of you, a poem that is written by your touch; a concert that arises from that unique togetherness. We open up to be inspired, to follow this reality beyond us, this flow that guides us, shapes us, unites us with the receiver as we listen, play and become the music that is created then and there between us.
In this way, you will discover that you can combine all your tools skilfully, freely and spontaneously. Using our sensuality and focusing deeply on the intimacy – even when we massage deep into the muscles, you stay tuned from heart-to-heart. You can combine for example multiple ways of touch: a deep acupressure point to release tensions with one hand, while the other is caressing tenderly. You can combine different speeds, rhythms and dynamisms. We avoid staying with a slow and relaxing pace from the beginning until the end. A tantra massage artist touches from slow-motion to passionate and dynamic, to soft and relaxing and alternates intuitively. We play it like a true sonata, where the sudden crescendos, decrescendos, full stops and high pitch notes, take you completely by surprise, stopping the mind, leaving you in a state of suspension and awe, creating a true harmony of nuances and tones.
Third step: always keeping your highest aspiration in mind. We are creating this piece of art through touch for a reason, more than simply offering pleasure, relaxation or a beautiful experience. We make sure that in our massage, we are never just doing something to the body of the other. We aim to touch the heart of the other and even their soul. To awaken them, and open them up to a new and higher reality. To let them discover parts of their own being they have not seen yet. To let them look in places, they have not yet searched. To bring them closer to the mystery, to the divine, to their highest Truth.
This can happen in different degrees depending on where the receiver is at. We aim to love the one we touch so deeply and intimately that he or she will be touched one way or another. We learn to be so intimate and close to people, meaning: feeling the other one’s heart and making a deep connection. When the connection is established, the receiver might follow, and might start to feel and awaken through that connectivity, and the love and intimacy which is offered. We give ourselves heart-and-soul to the soul of the receiver, and we express the beauty of our own soul in this spontaneous and artistic way. And more than offering ‘a good massage’: when we manage to become an artist of conscious touch, we partake in this piece of soul-intimate art, which can impact the receiver fundamentally.
Finally, Discovering the Magic of Life
’Wonderful!’ You might think. But what about the one who is receiving? Can the receiver become an artist as well?
Yes, it is also an art to receive massage. It is an art to learn the combination of being completely relaxed and at the same time totally focused. As you are receiving, you aim to stay very aware of every single touch and sensation. When the mind wanders away, it takes you out of the present moment, and you will not feel the deeply enchanting impact that takes you into this land of magic.
Usually when we hear, feel or see something we are busy thinking about something else, and we are not so present with what we are actually sensing. In the massage we practice this presence, as the pleasant focus on touch keeps us anchored here and now, following the richness of sensations.
The only thing that keeps us away from living a magical life is our own ability to be present. We miss the beauty, the mystery and the magic of life, because we were thinking of something else, while it was right in front of us to see. A tantra massage – and life in general – becomes amazing, fascinating, revealing and truly awakening, when we are fully present to experience it.
Bagala – tantra teacher and masseuse.
NB: Do you want to learn tantra massage?