Practising Tantra to Release Sexual Trauma
I know what you are thinking. How can Tantra release sexual trauma? Isn’t tantra all about long, slow and kinky sex? And your scepticism is very justified; very often, tantra is loosely used in the context of sex but that’s not how my experience started. The “shutdown or the freeze” of my body that was caused by the sexual abuse was completely transformed with tantra and today, I want to share this experience with you.
It was a few years ago. I had finished hypnotherapy and even though I felt like a new person in some ways, I still felt that my body needed freedom and I didn’t know how to go about it. A google search on the bodywork revealed the website Tantric Blossoming ran by Martina Hughes and I decided to try.
Beauty of Women – A Tantric Circle
My first ever event was called Beauty of Women. I didn’t really know what to expect. I arrived at Martina’s place. There were about 15 women in the room. we were all sitting on cushions of sorts. There were lit candles, warm lighting and incense creating a delicious smell; the temperature was warm and comfortable. I immediately felt very cosy. I was expecting the evening would start with some form of introductions but that didn’t happen. Martina asked all of us to close our eyes and take a few deep breaths.
What happened next was very similar to what I have described in First Steps towards the Healing Journey. We started from our toes and went all the way up to our scalp. We used the palms of our hands to touch various parts of our bodies to connect with how we felt.
I had never done anything like it. I had never thought about how my feet felt and how my shoulders were. The practice took all my thoughts away and brought me to my present moment. It put me in touch with “me”. It was a very surreal experience.
Martina then introduced herself as a tantra teacher; by then, the mood in the room had already changed. We were all more present; more connected with how we were feeling in our bodies and somehow had left our day-to-day world behind. The rest of the evening was filled with various simple exercising from eye gazing to breathing to sharing simple touch. I left the evening feeling more fulfilled, more relaxed and more present than I knew I was capable of.
The word tantra means “energy expansion”. In its traditional format, tantra is about strict meditation practices and using breath to integrate heart, mind, body, and sexuality. For me, it was a gateway to finally creating a connection with my body.
For the next 5 months, I immersed myself in various tantra workshops and practices. Each time I attended an event, it started with the same question – how do I feel in my body today?
Slowly Awakening my Body
Initially, my body didn’t respond at all; it always felt numb. Sometimes, there was a slight touch of cold but mostly, I was frustrated because I started to realise how shutdown my body was. I also knew that I couldn’t stop because this was my path to awaken my body.
This frustration didn’t last long and I did start to get the hang of things. The best thing about all the workshops was that there were clear rules, clear boundaries and clear structures in which the exercises were facilitated. I had complete freedom about which ones I wanted to participate and there were clear ways to communicate boundaries. This started to create a sense of safety in me and allowed me to relax. This relaxation resulted in healing, releasing of trauma and freedom.
It was during a weekend workshop. I was doing a simple tantric practice with a man; somehow his response to our connection was quite different. I could see a certain serenity, response and calm on his face and body that I hadn’t seen before. I asked him what it was and he said that it was the energy moving through his body. This was a strange phrase. What did it mean? How does one let the energy move through their body?
My intellectual mind wanted to work it out but I had to continue focusing on the exercise so I left my wanderings to one side and tried to focus on our connection and my own connection in my body. Suddenly, out of the blue, I felt a surge in my body. I didn’t know what it was but it looked similar to what was happening to him. Maybe it was energy that was moving through my body. It felt liberating and energising yet foreign and scary all at the same time.
Later on, I realised that this was the first time my body had talked to me in such an obvious manner. My body had witnessed another awakened body and somehow it gave my body permission to do the same. I also realised that I must have released a lot of trauma from within my body because finally, there was some space in my body to give feedback to me about how it was feeling and what it was needing.
Funny thing was that I wasn’t trying to release trauma. I was just trying to awaken my body so that I could get rid of this “numb” sensation that I was living with. Tantra taught me to not only connect with my body but it allowed me to connect with others from this place and my experiences with other people started to change.
I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found tantra. It completely changed my life and allows me to heal in ways that were fun, relaxing and opening with support from my peers and my facilitators.
Many tantra practitioners today hold a circle for women or men. I encourage you to try and I hope that you can find the transformation and healing that I did because that would be truly awesome.
Yayyyy to a healing life.