“You’re giving yourself the gift of yourself,” says Linda Bienenfeld of Tantric Dance.
The Tantric Dance is a sacred, sensual moving meditation for women. It teaches women how to channel their sexual energy, known as Shakti, throughout the whole body – from the root center of the feet to the crown of the head.
This energy nourishes the whole self. It’s not a dancing skill but rather a skill of energy. Women learn how to feel, create and build their energy and store it for themselves to awaken their whole being. “With spontaneous, yet highly focused movement we awaken and link our hearts with our sexuality,” says Linda, a teacher of Tantric Dance for 10 years and a Hellerwork practitioner for 30 years. “When we surrender to the subtle energies of the body, we find a place of deep stillness, bliss and reverence.”
Society teaches women to think of sexuality in relationship to men. Religion, government, pop culture, education, family and other institutional factors play a role in influencing how women think. Through Tantric Dance, Linda says, women “unlearn” these ways of thinking and learn how to live in their own “authentic erotic,” which is completely innocent.
For example, young girls today dress provocatively as a result of how pop culture portrays women. These young girls don’t know anything about their bodies, yet they are learning at a young age how to manipulate through their sexuality, Linda says. Tantric Dance teaches women how to return to the innocence of the true energy of creation. Linda compares that energy to the energy that opens a flower – the life force itself. She says she has several mothers in her class and these mothers recognize how important it is to teach their daughters not to become robots of the system. These mothers are setting examples for their children because children learn from the physical transmission of their mother’s body.
Linda, who has had women continue to dance with her for years, recommends a series of six consecutive weekly classes. Women begin class in a circle where they get to know each other and develop relationships, forming a sense of safety within the group. Then, they separate into their own space and practice a breath stretch technique of Shakti yoga. Each woman then dances alone as the group witnesses her Tantric Dance. The witnessing is a powerful experience of the exchange of feminine knowledge. The dance, which is a moving meditation and a form of prayer, focuses on female energy and power.
The group comes back together at the end of the class to share what they felt during their dance and what they noticed in the dances of the other women. The reflection is deep and meaningful for each woman and each woman allows the experience to integrate into her life. “It’s an extraordinary exchange between women,” says Linda, who began studying Tantra about 10 years ago to expand her Hellerwork background. Her teacher noticed her ability to move energy through her body and encouraged her to share this knowledge.
Tantric Dance, which began thousands of years ago, is simple and doesn’t require technique. It’s about discovery and devotion and it’s about pleasure as a pathway to ancient memory and knowledge, Linda says. She compares Tantric Dance to belly dancing, where the dancer learns to shimmy. With belly dancing, that shimmy is a learned technique. “During Tantric Dance, if you’re truly in your energy as a woman, you do that same shimmy, but it has nothing to do with technique.” It is the authentic expression of Shakti, the tremor of life itself. “You are dancing your bliss, your pleasure, and the subtle energies of the body quiver in ecstasy.”
Women take the class because of stress, relationship problems, divorce and sexual trauma, among other issues, to reclaim themselves. Linda often suggests the class to women with distinguishable levels of tension or who have had issues with their body.
One woman, a successful music professional, had no idea how tense her body was until she learned how to surrender and get out of her head and into her body. Tantric Dance teaches women how to feel their nervous system differently.
Many women come to the class knowing only how to manipulate through sexuality. After completing the series, they are able to find happy relationships or enhance old ones by learning how to feel in their own bodies.
Often, the class teaches women how to enjoy sex for the first time in their lives. “I have married women in my class whose husbands tell them, ‘Keep going to that class’ because it teaches them to be more in touch with their beauty and femininity as a woman,” Linda says. “It’s something that you do that’s completely for you to fill yourself up.”
Linda Bienenfeld has been teaching Tantric Dance for 10 years. She has been a Hellerwork Structural Integration practitioner for 30 years. She resides in California and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– By Jessica Braun
Jessica Braun is a writer and an editor at WholesomeOne. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.