Jingle Balls

Mary Jo McCullough interviews a very special, holiday baker who takes great pleasure in sharing the delights he cooks up.

The Delicious Dish brought to you by LovePassionately

From our hearts and funny bones to yours, we wish you joyful holidays and look forward to sharing many laughs, hugs and passion in the New Year,
Sara and Thomas Stout

SKYDANCING TANTRA/SARA AND THOMAS

You think you know about tantra? THINK AGAIN! Meet Sara and Thomas, SkyDancing Tantra enthusiasts and teachers. In this episode we chat about how they got into tantra, how it has changed their life, and how they hope to end the negative stigma associated with tantra by educating others and helping their participants live full and present lives.

Tantric traditions are extremely diverse so there is no single label that is universally accepted. One popular definition of tantric practice is “the systematic quest for salvation or for spiritual excellence by realizing and fostering the bipolar, bisexual divinity within one’s own body. Another definition I came across is “ a set of spiritual practices that direct the universal energies into the practitioner, thereby leading to liberation.”

The term “tantra” and the tantric traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism have been subjected to a great deal of misunderstanding over the years, and a relatively widespread association with sorcery and immoral sexuality. The word “tantra” came into use at a time when Buddhism, Jainism, and the various Vedic traditions we now call Hinduism were dominant in India. A core part of each of these religions were “sutras” or key texts. Perhaps the most famous sutra is the Kama Sutra, the book of love and erotic arts that, by the way, is completely unrelated to tantra. Etymologically, sutra has the literal meaning of ‘thread’. If a sutra is a single thread of thinking, a tantra is the whole system of thought. The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word tantra is ‘loom.’ It implies the interweaving of traditions and teachings as threads into a text, technique or practice.

Neotantra is the modern, western variation of tantra often associated with new religious movements or alternative spirituality. Many teachers of this version of tantra believe that sex and sexual experiences are sacred acts, which are capable of elevating their participants to a higher spiritual plane.They often talk about raising Kundalini energy, worshipping the divine feminine and the divine masculine, and activating the chakras. One of the pioneers and famous figures in neotantra is Osho.  He was the author of many books on meditation, taoism, buddhism, and mysticism, and at least six on tantra.

One of Osho’s students, Margot Anand, founded a school called “SkyDancing” tantra. According to Margot’s website, SkyDancing Tantra is a unique path that weaves together studies in many therapies: sexology, yoga, music, and metaphysics combined with work in human energy systems through the use of light, music, movement, visualization, and particularly the energy map of the chakras. SkyDancing Tantra also blends modern techniques such as psychology, bioenergetics, and neurolinguistic programming (NLP), with meditation, sacred rituals, and other practices. SkyDancing Tantra teaches you to choose with awareness what brings you pleasure and joy—which opens the door to a deeper connection with spirit and a greater sense of aliveness.

Check out this awesome podcast by Kelley B from In My Spare Time – a podcast about unconventional hobbies and the people behind them.

#3 – SKYDANCING TANTRA/SARA AND THOMAS

Posted on Oct 18, 2018.

 

How does SkyDancing Tantra celebrate and support you in expanding?

Where can you find respectful and loving connections in relationships?

I especially want to speak to those who identify as feminine, who long for touch and yet feel cautious.

These days we are aware of how many women have received unwanted touch. In my 20s, I worked at a sexual assault center, a battered women’s shelter, and have been committed to women’s rights ever since.  I came to realize how important it is for your body to be your own. It is my desire for women to have refuge from harm, where you can explore your physical and spiritual essence, your sexuality, and intimate relationships. 

This path has brought me to SkyDancing Tantra, which was founded by Margot Anand. Her teachings celebrate the power of women, where you give voice to your needs and desires, and help you feel honored and beautiful as the divine feminine.

 

Through SkyDancing Tantra, I have seen many women come alive and feel radiant.

See what is possible for you,
Sara

 

 

A friend for ours wrote this about her Tantric Journey.

“Ten years later after first dropping down the rabbit hole of tantra, this key distinction has risen to the top for me: all this hype about “sacred sex” is best applied as a metaphor for the relationship between polarized aspects within ourselves.

Emphasis on Inner Union is the central pillar of the way I practice tantra and the way I support others in their own practice.

* So what is Inner Union? *

It’s finding the Beloved Within. It’s the ongoing cultivation of a steadfast and loving relationship between your body and your mind. Between spacious awareness (the masculine aspect) and the embodied felt sense (the feminine aspect) within yourself. No partner needed.

Of course engaging these practices can and will transform your relationship with lovers, not to mention your relationships with the trees, your dog, and the neighborhood kids.

It’s my pleasure and passion to support folks who are going beyond the glamour of peak experiences that are so common in the neo-tantra realms, so that they can

* Get down to business with the deeper work *

This means lovingly and firmly addressing the trauma-based compulsions, fixations, and insecure/avoidant attachment patterns that unconsciously drive so many of our relational behaviors and which can leave us disconnected or depleted.

This Western, psychological and somatic approach lays the essential groundwork for accessing the boundless presence that Eastern spirituality offers, minimizing spiritual bypass along the way. When we see ourselves clearly and with compassion, no longer avoiding or indulging, we become able to connect with the wellspring of our own creative life force as a source of nourishment and fresh possibility.

* This leads to the long game. *

Now we engage the joyful work of creating healthy, regular, integrated habits of thought, speech, and behavior, lived in devotion to the mystery, to the divine, or to what some call the zero point–the great void at the heart of all things, from which all things spring, to which all things return.

Bowing in devotion to that mystery, with you.”

Robyn Lynn

Last week, I was gifted with the amazing opportunity of coming together with women from all over the world as we experienced the healing teachings of Tantra Goddesses, Caroline Muir and Amrita Grace. After five years on sabbatical Caroline returned to teach Divine Feminine Awakenings with grace and enthusiasm. It was truly an honor to absorb her life’s passion for sexual vitality.

Like Caroline, it was through my journey into Tantra that I discovered my aliveness and felt supported in expressing my full femininity, which possesses both softness and strength. Tantra helped me embrace my vulnerabilities. I also came to understand my desires to be adored, to be served and (to both my and my husband’s surprise) to surrender. At the same time, I found that inner primal passion of Kali, ripping the clothes off my man and coming together with intense lust.

We all have both masculine and feminine qualities and energy within us. As women, we too often lose ourselves, mistaking our masculine power as feminine power. We attempt to cope with the harshness of the world by hardening ourselves. Often this causes us to become aggressive and controlling. We forget the feminine force within us, which is grounded, considerate, determined and–ultimately–more affirming. As women, we must strike a balance. It is good to be powerful and effective, but it is also important that, after the work is done, we retain the ability to soften, let go and be held.

As a teacher, I have promoted inclusivity of all genders. At the same time, I have had a few recent opportunities to dive deep with just women in particular. There is something undeniably special and beautiful about being in sisterhood – a real coming home and softening occurs. Likewise, I am sure that there is something meaningful in the brotherhood of men and the siblinghood that occurs between people of other genders. Being seen and supported by one’s own gender is soul affirming – a basic need. A true gift for any and all genders is to be held by their kin.

Another need is to be accepted. Unconditional acceptance comes after we fulfill a deep ache to be fully seen and heard in our rawness. I believe that is the impetus that drives this new “naked“ generation to share such personal musings on social media. They reach out and say: “This is me.” But are we as skilled at supporting each other when we are cracked open? Do we offer the depth of holding that says “I see you, I hear you, I am with you, and honor you”? Do any of us ever say “I hold you in your pain and I rejoice in your celebrations”?

At one point during the Divine Feminine retreat, I came to a sharing circle feeling restless, aware I had not gotten vulnerable and shared myself emotionally. I feared that I would leave this retreat having missed the opportunity for true meaningful connection with these amazing women. I longed to be with them, to be more of my full self and let them see the aspects of me that I am tired of keeping in the shadows. I wished to know more of each of them, but that was theirs to reveal.

I decided to facilitate my own exposure, to be with each of the women and share the recesses of my private life. I spoke of how I felt lonely and scared, and also about how I am learning to love myself and let more love in. I told of the qualities I have that I celebrate and the behaviors of which I feel ashamed. Progress was marked when I heard myself exclaim, “I love my body.” It wasn’t until later that my body retorted, “Then why do you still criticize me so much?” So far I’ve come and still so far to go.

In the end, I did feel seen, heard, held and celebrated.

I am thankful for the courage that Tantra has provided to me – the validation of my wholeness, by weaving together sometimes contradictory aspects into a harmonious sacred being, which we all are in our own ways.

Sara

Friends, Eclipses, Tantra, and a lot of Love: Our Beautiful Journey

Our journey started with a flight back to California, where we assisted the Love & Ecstasy Training Cycle 2 (or LET 2, for short). It was our third year of assisting with the LET cycles 1 & 2, and we were delighted to see how much our students have transformed from the first cycle in May. While our students learned how to refine their multi-orgasmic response, we also did some learning of our own—about how to teach the LET’s. We hope to bring the knowledge we gained to the Midwest in about a year or two.

It was during this week that we were lucky enough to experience a rare astronomical phenomenon: the solar eclipse. We watched the landscape grow darker as the moon’s shadow raced across the planet. In the spirit of this extraordinary event, we conducted a ritual to find, befriend and honor our very own shadow sides.

Afterwards, we spent two days in seclusion with other members of the Ecstatic Living faculty at the Earthrise Retreat Center, in the heart of an expansive wilderness, surrounded by friends. Together, we discussed the best course for our class offerings and ways to make our classes more welcoming to people on the LGBTQ spectrum.

After this faculty meeting, we returned home briefly. Then it was back to California again, in order to teach Tantric Massage 2: The Art of Sexual Ecstasy. The class gives couples the chance to deepen their understanding of what it means to be intimate with each other. Teaching this weekend also reinforced our decision to rename the course Ecstatic Touch, since it really is much more than just massage.

We trekked back to Minnesota for two weeks, to see clients and to do laundry (both necessary things). Some friends joined us from California at our MN LET Regional Group. Two of the Tantra teachers-in-training led us through some wonderful practices so that they could get more experience. We also hosted a well-attended and received Tantra Community Night.

I returned to California for training with David Cates in his Belly2Belly work in Yosemite National Park.  Although I didn’t get to see the iconic places in the park, I still felt completely immersed in my surroundings. I was taken in by the huge trees and beautiful weather–and not to mention the wonderful sight of the people around me, melting deeper and deeper into each other with a sense of trust, vulnerability and shared rapport.

One thing David said really registered with me: “Enlightenment arises in the absence of tension.” I took his words to heart and let go of tension in my body. As I stood in the forest, completely at ease, I was able to sense the living presence of the trees around me. Amazing!

The next week, we both assisted Margot Anand and Jim Benson in teaching the SkyDancing Tantra Teachers Training Module 3. It was wonderful to be in Margot’s presence again, absorbing her wisdom and experience. We would stay up with her late at night, simply listening to stories about her amazing life. It was also great to see Jim, who is a wonderful man and a skilled presenter. I learned so much from him about working with groups and holding space.

The first weekend of October, we were back in Minnesota to present Tantric Massage 1: The Art of Ecstatic Touch at Shalom Hill Farm in Windom, MN. This was only the second time Sara and I have brought a workshop from California to Minnesota. The final sharing circle revealed that it was transformative not just for us, but for all of our students as well. One woman in particular told us that the class helped her realize that what she used to think of as “good sex” was only 5% of what’s possible. It was an honor to facilitate the class and to have this opportunity to touch the lives of the people who attended.

 

WHAT A WOMAN NEEDS TO KNOW BEFORE BOOKING A TANTRIC MASSAGE

By Shashi Solluna

 

 

Tantric massage is becoming a big thing.

For men, the ubiquitous “happy ending massage” has been around in many societies for a long time, though mostly for relief of built-up sexual tension rather than any kind of tantric experience. So for men to go for a tantric massage is not a big leap of the imagination. It’s simply the next step.

But on the other hand… for a woman to go and receive a massage for her sexual pleasure from a therapist she doesn’t know is a pretty new concept in most places.

Yet it is taking off, and in tantric circles many people have learned some sort of tantric massage technique. It is now reasonably easy for a woman to book a tantric massage in areas where there is a lot of Tantra. In some countries it is legal and can be found in the bigger cities. And in a few places you can even find tantric spas with a full menu of delights (Germany and Czech Republic seem to be the leaders in this respect).

However, because this is a new trend, there is still a lack of understanding and information that can be really important for a woman to know.

Probably the biggest most important factor to understand is that there is a big difference between tantric massage for pleasure and tantric massage for therapy. This is a vital point to consider on ones quest to find a tantric massage.

Read more…..

WCCO TV featured Cuddle Parties on January 19, 2016.  I got some great air time!

Why are Active Meditations an important part of SkyDancing Tantra?

This question is like asking, “Why is cleaning and house repair a part of home owning?” Active Meditations are a form of decluttering your psyche and healing old wounds. Through breathing and movement you clear out the things that get in the way of loving and expressing yourself.

Most people are not fond of house cleaning. That’s where Active Meditations differ, in that it’s a wonderful experience. You don’t have to do all the work. It’s like going on vacation and returning to a home that feels more welcoming and beautiful than ever before. Most of the process is at an unconscious level. If emotions do surface, you’re encouraged to notice them and just let them pass. There is no need to analyze anything or to try to change them. Your body carries the wisdom to take care of itself if you just provide the opportunity.

When Margot Anand created SkyDancing Tantra, she had travelled the world studying many different teachings of Tantra, psychology, metaphysics and spiritual leaders. She understood the benefit of moving while meditating. You are more able to stay present with the experience and release stored emotions. We begin every morning with an Active Meditation during the Ecstatic Living Institute workshops.

When people talk about traditional meditation, so many say, “Oh I can’t meditate,  my mind is all over the place. I just can’t sit still and focus.” Exactly! With Active Meditation you don’t have to sit still and focus. You get to move and go where your experience takes you. Yet, you still get the benefits of meditation – mindful awareness, expansiveness and inner peacefulness.

The richness of Active Meditation is that every session is unique and personal. Each meditation engages on many levels, so as you clear and open, additional opportunities present themselves. You can benefit from a regular practice. Just as you might from a regular yoga practice.  Common responses are – feeling more emotional presence, increased confidence and building a deeper connection to your divine self and others.

After clearing out your home, you realize that without all that stuff, there is an expansive playroom waiting for you.  Active Meditations create more spaciousness for intimacy.  That is SkyDancing Tantra!

A friend of ours wrote this blog post about what it’s like to be in a SkyDancing Tantra Intensive, a week long course where you’re encouraged to go deep, confront any demons about yourself, ask for love and support.  It’s a beautiful process and she does a great job of describing it.  Check it out:

“Picture this… You are in a room with 28 strangers on day one of a seven day intensive Tantra workshop.   You don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know the people in the room, you don’t know what baggage they are bringing with them, and how events are going to unfold. You only know that you are on some sort of journey and you prepare yourself for the ride ahead of you…”

Read more: http://powerofpleasure.com/transforming-lives-one-tantra-workshop-time/