Taoist and Esalen Compared

    ROhs These two weekends both provide fairly intense experiences of applied tantra.  Both massages  explore the Tantric understanding of how energy works – how we can tap into, free, nourish and move our energy; how to meet and dance with the energy of another; and how we can flow, experiencing ourselves and our partners as energy-beings, rather than ingenious machines.    In both, we work with sexual energy as the source, raising and nourishing energy in the pelvis and spine, connecting with  heart and head, and energizing the whole body.  As always, we teach the technique of relaxing into excitement, rather than tensing and contracting, as the erotic charge rises. In that relaxed state the erotic flow of aliveness expands to permeate the whole being.  The experience is complete in itself, rather than a form of foreplay.  The afterglow at the end of the massage affords a deep  sense  of well-being, and deep sense of the connection between giver and receiver.

     Yet the  flavour of each massage is very different.   The Taoist massage focuses strongly on circulating energy in a way which allows waves of pleasure to  spread  throughout the body. This massage is based on a Taoist sexual massage taught by Stephen Russell and Jürgen Kolb.  As barriers to flow are are subtly removed, being in the flow of sexual energy becomes an altered state of being, rather than a drama of doing.  Energy does build in the  later stages of the massage, but as it builds the space in which it is confined is also relaxed, so that there is a gentle spread, more and more, until the “container” is no less than the whole “energy body”, which has by the end of the massage extended well beyond the boundaries of the physical body. 

    Though the  Esalen Massage also works by inviting  “relaxing into excitement,” it is much less subtle, much more muscle-based.  It is based partly on the kind of sexual massage developed by  Ray Stubbs, partly on Joseph Kramer’s work.   This massage consists mainly of slow, continuous strokes,  and works on the skin and musculature, rather than meridians. The two halves of the massage are very distinct: the first, primarily relaxing, the second very sexually charged.  As you work yourselves with this massage, you will learn how to explore the altered state of consciousness that arises when the whole body is so eroticised.

    The way we run these two workshops is that each couple creates its own “nest” on which to work together. We introduce the various strokes (none of which are technically very complicated) and teach each sequence by demonstrating, and then talk the couples through what we have just demonstrated.  As this is a full body  massage there is usually nudity  during the  sessions, but intimate contact is solely within the couple, in their own “nest,” who together set and respect their own boundaries in how they work together.  The atmosphere encouraged is one of innocence, trust, respect, appreciation, and delight in each other’s pleasure. 

     Unless you have some previous experience of our work, we usually advise you to take our Tantric Touch couples’ weekend before going on to explore  the Erotic Massage workshops.   In most cases, we also advise taking the Taoist weekend before exploring the Esalen massage. 

— Robert