How Tantra can help - 5 simple practices
Do you know that situation: You are in the middle of foreplay and would actually like to unwind in order to enjoy the lovemaking but your head just doesn’t want to come to rest?!?
That customer hasn’t answered for three days… was I too bold in my last email?
I should actually finish the documents for the team meeting tomorrow tonight…
Oh man, I should relax. Now my partner is trying so hard to massage me and I can’t really enjoy it.
Does he want more?
Shit, I forgot to hang up the laundry. I have to think about it now. After all, the mud pants for kindergarten have to be dry tomorrow…
Oh, I wanted to relax…
Oh no, he’s touching my stomach…I’ve gained weight again. I hope he doesn’t notice…
And this is how it goes all the time…
Stress and the endless monkey mind seem to be one of the greatest challenges of our time that stand in the way of a fulfilling sexuality.
Of course, it is hard to really enjoy lovemaking if we’re not really “there”.
But how is it possible to change that?
Push even harder?
Judge yourself for not getting it right?
Of course not.
Although this seems to be a very common tactic.
In this article we want to look at…
- What a healthy way of dealing with the endless thought loops can look like and
- Which 5 simple practices can help to arrive fully in the body and in the here and now in order to be able to really enjoy mutual intimacy in the relationship
How to deal with the endless thought loops?
What usually always helps is, first and foremost, acceptance and compassion.
Not fighting it anymore.
And not judging yourself anymore.
But letting the thoughts be there for now.
Because the more I resist something, the more power that thing gets over me.
The problem is that all these thoughts often come together when we are not busy and have some time.
We are actually designed to, throughout the day, experience an interplay of phases of activity & tension and phases of relaxation & regeneration.
During breaks we can process everything that didn’t have a place in the activity phases and we can come to rest.
Unfortunately, for many people, everyday life is so busy these days that breaks simply don’t apply. We still have important work talks with colleagues during the lunch break, check emails in the evenings after work and talk to each other during possible breaks (in the car, public transport or even in the toilet) constantly distracted by talking on the phone, scrolling through social media or replying to messages…
There is simply no more room to deal with everyday life and to relax.
When we finally do have time for rest and intimacy in the evening, all the thoughts and feelings that we have successfully pushed away all day then come to the forefront.
So what can help:
- Plan more breaks during the day without distractions, during which your thoughts can wander freely
- At the end of the working day, write down what is still open, what needs to be done or what you must not forget (so as to not have to think the same thought 5 times)
- Consciously perceive and question diffused worries and fears
When we are stressed, many situations often appear much worse than they actually are.
We are evolutionarily programmed to recognize and avoid dangers as early as possible.
Therefore, the mind has activated many clever protection mechanisms that have ensured our survival in the past (especially as a child).
Often these are inner drivers that were originally intended to protect us from criticism from our own parents…
- By doing everything perfectly
- By making an extra effort
- By being as fast as possible
- By making everyone else happy
- By always being strong
If we do not consciously perceive and reflect on these inner drivers, they subconsciously direct our lives, make us feel constantly driven and never really let us come to rest.
Sometimes it also helps to personify these inner parts as the “inner perfectionist or controller” and thus consciously distance ourselves from them.
Yes, there is a voice inside me that wants to tell me what I still have to do.
But that doesn’t mean that I have to follow that voice.
Sometimes it is enough to perceive that voice and appreciate its positive intention in order to be able to make a conscious decision as to whether it is important to go into the direction of its perfectionist thoughts or whether I decide to engage in a different activity.
Personally, it also helped us a lot to just say out loud all the thoughts that came up during lovemaking.
With that they immediately lost all power over me and we often even laughed about them and simply didn’t take them so seriously anymore.
When the thoughts no longer seem quite so loud and dominant, then of course the next question is:
How can I feel more and get into my body?
For this I would first like to go into classic mindfulness methods, because in the end “coming from the head into the body” means nothing other than “arriving consciously in the here and now”.
As long as we are in our heads, we are either reflecting on the past or planning for the future.
On the other hand, when we are in the body, we are truly present in the present moment.
And that not only leads to inner relaxation, but also to more contentment and happiness.
For many people, however, the step from “constantly doing something mode” directly into a silent meditation for example is far too big.
Therefore, more intensive practices are often needed – an intermediate step – in order to be able to really relax afterwards. I would like to go into this in the second part.
Tip #1: Breathe consciously
The tip you probably hear in every meditation and yoga class is to breathe consciously.
Because when you bring your attention to the breath, you are automatically in the here and now.
Not only is it about perceiving the breath, but also about regulating the nervous system via the breath.
Huh? How does that work?!?
Normally, our nervous system controls our breathing.
When we are stressed, we breathe relatively quickly and shallowly into our chests.
When we are relaxed, we (naturally) breathe calmly and deeply into our stomachs.
However, since we are also able to consciously control our breathing, we can “simply turn the tables”.
So if you find in everyday life or during the time together as a couple that you are tense and hardly breathing, you can start breathing more slowly and deeply into your stomach and lengthen the exhalation a little. This allows you to calm down your nervous system and get into a deep state of relaxation.
The nice thing is that this simple technique is not noticeable from the outside.
This means that you can also do it wonderfully in a stressful meeting or when you are triggered (by your boss, partner or children) and emotions are running high.
Breathing can help you relatively quickly to calm down and find inner serenity again.
Also before or during lovemaking, deep abdominal breathing can help you to relax even more. It can furthermore help to avoid a premature orgasm and can enable you to keep the energy longer.
Tip #2: Body scan
A second classic mindfulness technique is the body scan.
It is about going through your whole body with your mind and consciously feeling each part of the body.
The toes, soles, heels, lower legs, thighs, buttocks, pelvis and so on…
Just notice how each part of your body feels right now and what you can notice there.
If your thoughts wander off, you bring them back into your body – just like in meditation.
Again and again…
This technique not only helps you to be more in the present moment, but also to learn to feel the body more consciously.
I can still remember the first time I did the body scan many years ago…
There were a lot of parts of my body that I couldn’t perceive unless I touched or moved them. And I was surprised to find how tight my body (particularly the shoulders and jaw) often gets without me even noticing it.
Over time, my body awareness has gotten much better. This is not only helpful in being able to pay attention to my body’s signals (in the event of tension, stress or the first symptoms of illness) much earlier and to respond to them, but also to become more sensitive in lovemaking and to feel much more pleasure.
Tip #3: Conscious sensory perception
Another practice that can help us get in touch with both ourselves and our environment is conscious sensory awareness.
You can consciously direct your attention to what you can perceive with each of your senses.
This is a beautiful exercise in nature, but here I would like to use lovemaking as an example.
Actually, that’s the sense we use the most. But maybe you can ask yourself how often you REALLY see the world out there or your partner. We are often so caught up in our own “movie” that we simply dismiss many details.
Consciously take the time to look into each other’s eyes for a longer time and really see.
Maybe you can also consciously look at your partner’s body… like an artist who wants to paint it. What do you notice? Which colors? Which shapes? The interplay of light and shadow… This is of course particularly beautiful with candlelight…
Perhaps you would like to express and describe what you see.
Sense of hearing:
All other senses are often more perceptible when we close our eyes or are blindfolded.
You can then pay attention to the noises in the room. Your own breath, your partner’s breath, your partner’s voice, maybe there’s music… or the creaking of the bed ;-P
Sometimes it can also be great to surprise your partner with a “sound bath”. If you have a singing bowl, cymbals or a chime at home, that’s great, of course. But you can also use other instruments or the sounds of household objects (glasses, pots, etc.)
Sense of smell / taste:
The same applies to the sense of smell or taste. On one hand, during lovemaking you can consciously pay attention to which smells you can perceive. Your partner’s natural body odor, shower gel, cream, fresh laundry, or similar, but also sweat or the smell of the genitals… What does this smell trigger in you? And how do your partner’s kisses taste?
But of course you can also consciously spoil yourself here by blindfolding your partner and letting them smell and taste different oils, spices, fruits, chocolate or similar…
Sense of touch:
This sense is of course super present in lovemaking. But true pleasure only arises when we are relaxed and really consciously perceive touch. Therefore, direct your full attention to the individual touches of your partner. How does it feel to be given a strong massage? What does gentle caress provoke in you? How does your body react to even more intense stimuli such as scratching or biting?
It is usually helpful to do the touching very carefully and slowly. Because if there are too many stimuli at the same time or if the movements are too fast, it is difficult to remain really present and in conscious perception.
If you tend to lose yourself in thoughts and wander off again and again, then say out loud what you feel and what the individual touches trigger in you. Because in order to be able to describe, we have to be really mindful and present 😉
And of course, you can make a game out of it, blindfold your partner and experiment with completely new stimuli. Feathers, silk scarves, ice cubes, flowers, oil, cream, but maybe also a hairbrush, wax, pearl necklaces, or whatever you find in the household…
Have fun experimenting!!
If all of these things are too subtle, gentle, or not effective enough to really get you out of your mind and into your body, then I’d like to introduce you to some more intense techniques as well.
Although of course you can play with different intensities with the sense of touch.
I know myself that – whenever I’m stressed – I find gentle stroking rather annoying and uncomfortable and it doesn’t help me at all to get into my body. But when Damian grabs me, throws me on to the bed, massages me firmly or sometimes scratches and bites or wrestles with me, the intensity of the encounter at the beginning totally helps me to switch off my head and feel myself again. And as soon as I am relaxed, I can also enjoy very gentle and tender touches 😉
Tip #4: Breathwork
We have already talked about deep abdominal breathing as a very classic mindfulness method but I would like to go into more intensive breathwork techniques at this point.
Breathwork is – for me and for many of our participants – one of the most effective methods to get from the head into the body.
By breathwork I mean practices like rebirthing, holotropic breathing, etc. in which you breathe deeply and connected over a longer period of time. But also practices like Wim Hof breathing or similar, in which deep breathing and breath-holding are practiced.
Due to the deep connected breath over a longer period of time, our cognitive mind switches off and we enter a trance state, which connects us with the subconscious, our intuition and creativity, but also with our feelings and body.
During the breathing pauses and afterwards, I notice how my heart beats much more intensively and how strong energies are distributed throughout the body. I can relax and feel much better.
Often just 10 minutes of breathwork after work or before lovemaking helps me to be much more relaxed, open and to consciously leave everyday life behind.
Tip #5: Shaking Meditation
Another very effective method is shaking meditation.
This may sound strange at first, but let me give you some background information.
Shaking is actually our body’s natural way of dealing with stress.
In small children, this processing system of the body is usually still intact.
After a stressful day, the children are totally psyched in the evening, slightly irritable and almost looking for boundaries, only to then release all the pent-up energy in the form of a tantrum or crying.
They also cry when they hurt themselves, fall from somewhere or are frightened.
Not like us adults, where maybe a single tear rolls down the cheek… no, the children cry and sob (and shake themselves) with their whole body.
If they find anything stupid or unfair, they rage, thrash, stomp, etc.
And 5 minutes later the storm is over and we have a happy and relaxed child in front of us again, as if nothing has happened.
Likewise with animals. If they are frightened or just barely escaped the tiger, they shake themselves and everything is good again.
Just not us adults. We don’t let it show, swallow all emotions, stop any trembling (when excited, stressed or after dangerous experiences)… and thereby store all the stress and all the suppressed emotions in the body… in the form of tension or eventually physical symptoms.
Or we brood over it for days, repeating the difficult situation over and over in our head, carrying the resentment or passive aggression associated around with us for a long time.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that in a team meeting we should throw ourselves on the floor and lash out if we don’t like something, but the question is: “How do I otherwise get rid of the emotional charge of anger, stress or frustration in my body?”
That is exactly what shaking meditation is all about.
To shake off everything that I still carry around with me from everyday life.
Useless thoughts (“if only I had…”).
Judgment towards ourselves or other people.
Worries and fears.
Take 5-15 minutes to just shake your body.
You’re welcome to do this with music.
Somewhere where nobody sees you and you can be completely by yourself.
If you also breathe out consciously, this can support the process.
Of course, stress and pent-up emotions can also be relieved through other physical activity such as jogging, weight training, etc., but I often find it easier and just as effective to shake at home for 10 minutes after work as opposed to going to the gym first or having to go for a run…
But just experiment what works best for you personally.
Please let me know how it went for you or if you have any questions.
All the best,