Before I became a Tantrika, a terrible event had transpired. The details are too painful and too private for a public blog post, but it’s enough to say that I thought my life was forever changed for the worse.
I thought that I might not ever feel joy in the way I once had and that my happiness was permanently damaged. I was terrified.
It was during this time, as my husband and I were in the process of putting our lives back together, that I decided to become a certified Authentic Tantra Practitioner. We were having coffee at a bookstore, trying to restore some semblance of normalcy to our lives when I read an article in a magazine about sacred sexuality, which included modern tantric practices.
I had always been fascinated with human sexuality and had always wanted to be in the healing arts. This seemed perfect.
After doing some research into certification programs I quickly came to the conclusion that I needed to work with Devi Ward of Authentic Tantra. Her certification program was by far the most comprehensive training available, and I loved that Devi’s course included elements of Nonviolent Communication in addition to Tantric practices. After a few conversations, I signed on.
I knew intuitively that this choice was right for me, but what I didn’t expect is that my work with Authentic Tantra methods would open the door to an entire reframing of my spiritual world.
I thought I was only getting a tantric sexual education, but what I got was so much more.
I got an introduction to Vajrayana Buddhism and the Tibetan 5 Element Healing Meditations, holistic breathwork designed to relax the body and sooth the parasympathetic nervous system, compassionate communication skills, Daoist sexual yoga, ancient sexual and non-sexual tantric practices and western sexual science all combined into one transformative healing modality.
These practices came at exactly the right time and they helped my husband and I heal and move forward with our lives.
The meditations stopped my mind from spinning. When I’m going through an extremely stressful period it can be difficult to get a mental break from trying to “work” the issue at hand. I was so worried all of the time and I couldn’t get my mind to stop fixating on the problems in my life. As I started to learn the Tibetan 5 Element Meditations I began to cultivate more and more focus. My mind was gradually able to come to rest and gain perspective on what was happening in my life, rather than sinking into the sea of bad feelings, “shoulds” and “could haves.”
This profoundly soothing breath, created by Carla Tara, has the unique capacity to balance the Autonomic Nervous System. I was so stressed that I could never relax. I couldn’t get out of the “fight or flight” state that I was in. Practicing the Ocean Breath began to relax my nervous system and bring it to balance, decreasing my baseline stress levels even during such a trying period.
I started to be able to feel pleasure again. Tantric practices release so many beneficial neurotransmitters like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine. I began to find even more balance.
It had been difficult to connect because we were trying, simply to survive. Studying Authentic Tantra forced me to spend time engaging in connection practices that made space for our relationship and made the whole process much easier. Pain is hard to go through alone and connection can be a wonderful way to soothe that pain. And, once we were connected again we were able to make love. Stress can have a dramatic impact of the libido, so it was such a relief that find and cultivate practices that helped support a healthy functioning libido.
Finding the tools to improve my life, and my relationship, while being in so much pain was such a relief. My choice to become an Authentic Tantra practitioner changed how I relate to myself, my partner and the world for the better. We have a wonderful life and those past hurts seem so far away.
By choosing to focus on self-improvement, self-care and the health of my relationship, both my husband and I came out of that time stronger and more deeply bonded than before.
I’m so grateful to have these remarkable practices in my life and have the ability to share them with others who need practical, effective, and powerful tools for healing.
Alaina Salks is the Co-Founder & Director of The Institute of Authentic Tantra Education.
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*The Tantra Mastery Training Program does not require approval by the registrar of the private Training Institute Branch (PTIB). As such, the registrar did not review this program.