Hanna and Martin are the two of the leading and best-loved Tantra teachers in the UK. We are a committed couple teaching tantra together in the UK for 14 years and we share our secrets with you in our Couples workshops. We have been running tantra workshops together and have been bringing international teachers to the UK since the beginning of our unusual and unique love story.
Hanna Katz-Jelfs, Shakti Hanna has practiced; healing meditation, Tai Chi, Chi Quong and other ways of working with energy for twenty years. She has a 18 year old daughter.
Hanna has trained with Bodhi Avinasha, Sarita & Geho and with Bodhi Teja and Ambar in kriya tantra, Rudra in Kriya Yoga, Gurmukh Khalsa. She has been studying Mantras with many teachers, Noa Balas, Muz Murray, Tantric Self Healing with Lama Gangchen, Tantric Healing with Shri Param Eswaram.She has also trained in Israel for many years, and Kabalah from Satmare Hungary, Israel, Miami & Costa Rica.
She is a holistic architect and Reiki and Karuna Master, Hanna has trained in counselling and colourpuncture was a university lecturer
Martin has been interested both in spiritual practice and in energy bodywork for many years, training as a psychotherapist from 1978 onwards in many forms of psychotherapy, privately and at Guy's Hospital. He has worked as an integrative psychotherapist , counsellor and supervisor for over 25 years. He has two grown-up sons.
Martin has a private practice in Salisbury and Central London in which he integrates tantra with psychotherapy and counselling as well as supervising counsellors and therapists.
He became interested in tantra 30 years ago and has visited Nepal searching for Tibetan tantra in 1989. In 1995 he started training in tantra in Britain . He has also trained in Tantric Kriya Yoga with Bodhi Avinasha and Teja.
Now with his wife, Hanna he completed the couples training with Sarita & Geho, Bodhi Teja and Bodhi Amber, and is now training with Agama Yoga in India and Sri Param Eswaran. In 2009 he visited India for three months studying mantras, the Shiva traditions of tantra and Kashmir Shavism. More recently he has studied with Baba Dez Nichols.
"What to Look for in a Tantra Teacher for Individual work"
by Tantra Bensko
If you are considering working individually with a Tantra Yoga teacher, I feel there are certain important aspects to look for. There are of course many schools of Tantra, and they vary widely, As regards sexuality, they vary widely also, some advocating celibacy except for householders, some advocating only ritual sex, generally with a spouse, and only on rare and prescribed occasions. Other forms of Tantra are a little more lax with sexual allowances, but traditionally, sex is only to be for the sake of enlightenment...
Tantra is a practice of using the body... The subtle anatomy is paid more attention in Tantra than any other form of practice other than Taoism, but the Tantric anatomy is specifically working with the nadis, or astral pathways, specifically the sushumna...also deals with countless other nadis, especially the Ida and Pingala, which cross on either side of the sushumna, crossing at the chakras. The chakras are also a strong study specific to Tantra Yoga, and the means of awakening, cleansing, connecting, and developing them are a large part of the practice... having sex tantrically allows these pathways and the chakras along them to be transformed and the energy moved upwards rather than outwards, and circulated, rather than lost. This fosters cosmic consciousness, being a tool of the Divine, experiencing communion with the Divine and feeling the oneness with bliss.
There is a very unfortunate trend recently for women to call themselves Tantric Goddesses who are in fact simply giving sensual massage, perhaps wearing a sarong or bindhi on the forehead and playing Indian ragas, if they even go that far towards trying to appear authentic. It has become for many people a way to go to in for a sensual massage and be able to claim it is a spiritual practice, especially for guilty married men. One way to tell if that is the case is if the Tantric Goddess encourages ejaculation or not. Tantric sex does not generally include ejaculation except in very rare advanced practices to be done on certain astrological moments for specific magical purposes perhaps once or twice in a lifetime. When a man ejaculates, his energy is then gone, and that is completely against the teachings of Tantra Yoga. The energy is to be generated, cultivated, circulated, milked, blessed, expanded, and raised up through the body, often above the head, and sometimes then circulated downwards afterwards, sometimes through the body of the partner, and sometimes circulated often through the two of them, but ending up at the crown of the head for the man during orgasm.
A good Tantra teacher should at the very least be very familiar with all aspects of the subtle anatomy, and should preferably be able to sense the movements of the energy within the body of the student simply by looking or feeling or even listening to the subtle sounds emanated from him. The teacher should be able to tell what is best for the student according to what is going on with the subtle anatomy, where to begin, what direction to go in, what to avoid, how long to keep working on each aspect, how to relate to the student and what to suggest for the other relationships the student may be involved in. The teacher should not simply go by the book and teach the exact same thing to each student, though a general guideline of course may be followed. She should be able to tell what is happening as the studies progress, moment by moment, and it is best if she can sense the whole aura of the student, all the way out to the very largest levels of the being. Teaching Tantra is a sacred act, perhaps the most important undertaking in the life of the student, and the student as a whole should be seen, the eternal, non local, wise self who is sitting before the teacher. The student should be related to as that being as well as all the concentrically smaller levels of the self embodied in the auric bodies.
If the teacher is relating to you as a simple personality, and the physical body before her, thinking more of money, and whether she is attractive, or only about teaching how to be a better lover, this may not be truly a Tantra teacher at all. Tantric sex involves curling the tongue backwards, clenching the pelvis and hands, turning the eyes upwards, lifting the perineum, and other ways to move the energies upwards along the sushumna.
If the teacher includes sexuality in the Tantric lessons, orgasms are encouraged, but only if the man can maintain his seed, or if he is working on the process of mastering Tantric orgasm. Sometimes a man will not succeed, and the Tantra teacher should not be judgemental at that sensitive moment, but should be accepting, help him enjoy it, and be encouraging that the next time it may well work for him to retain it and she can suggest ways to improve his skill. She needs to be very tuned into the man to be able to help him reach an orgasm without ejaculation, and if you feel the teacher did not help you correctly to do that, that it was truly her rather than hers that you ejaculated if you did so, then give her another chance, but if it happens again, it may be time to move on. It may take several tries for some men, because of conditioning, age, and so on, so the Tantra teacher may be doing the best she can, but if you find that she is not trying hard enough to help you with this, she may be concerned more with getting the session over with quickly than with teaching you that invaluable skill.
If you are learning ejaculation control, you should be in a meditative state, visualizing for example, the Shakti, or goddess, the individual self, the physical focus of the first chakra, moving upwards to join with Shiva, the god, Absolute Consciousness, at the portal of the crown chakra, the universal self, the higher self which opens out into the infinite. You should not be visualizing traditional lustful sexual fantasies or thinking of your Tantra teacher as an ordinary sexy woman, as she is a tool of the Divine helping you be one with the light. She is one with the light. She should be able to disappear as a personality, and let your own dance with the Divine take precedence. If she is acting in ways that encourage ordinary sexual responses of a baser kind, and also teaching Tantric methods, she is endangering you. Tantra is very powerful and can open up the chakras and raise the Kundalini, and if that happens when a person is focused on base lust, the Kundalini snake of energy can turn downward and lead to psychotic breaks. She should be helping you keep focused on going beyond separation into love and beingness, the pulsations of light, the outer levels of yourself, the union of all levels.
There is far, far more to learning Tantra than ejaculation control, even in the context of meditaion and energy circulation and conscious loving. She can show you ways to relate to your partner in higher states, and to relate to yourself and the world around you in more ecstatic, productive ways that allow everything to shine. Tantra involves mantras, or toning of the Sanskrit sounds that produce specific effects on the body and consciousness. It also involves yantras, or sacred diagrams of the dynamics of energy and consciousness, images of the deities, and mandalas. It involves proper diet and healthy behaviours and various modalities of healing including herbal supplements, and amaroli, or the drinking of urine. It involves pranayama, breathwork, perhaps the most important part of Tantra, and asanas, or yogic positions and movements, and an in depth philosophy. Meditation, it goes without saying, is a basic part of Tantra. If she is not teaching you these things, she is probably not teaching you Tantra, though some forms are more focused on devotion and selfless service. She should be well trained in these things, generally from master teachers rather than simply from books, as the exercises are very specific, and if done even slightly incorrectly, can be ineffective, or problematic, and she needs to understand what each student is ready for and in need of at the moment.
She needs to be ready to deal with problems that can come up such as releasing and protecting from demons as you clear your field and remove negative habit patterns. She needs to know what to do if your Kundalini rises, and be able to be there for you during the whole process or find someone who can. She needs to know what to do if your Kundalini rises incorrectly, and you will not find a Tantric Goddess who is just doing sensual massage without Tantric training, years and years of internal focus and an pure lifestyle, devotion to service of the Evolution of Souls, able to handle such difficulties. Normally, a very young teacher should be questioned on these things it is rare for these qualities to be acquired that quickly without plenty of life experience to hone the understandings.
A Tantra teacher should be understanding and warm, not confuse Tantric sex with S/M, be available to you for questions, should be respectful of you and demand respect from you, should protect herself and the other students as well as you. Some Tantra teachers will go so far as to have intercourse or oral sex with students, and perhaps they have some way of avoiding STDS. Personally, I would advise against going to someone who does that, as STDS are so easily transferable whether a condom is used or not. Not only STDS are a concern, but candida, parasites, and various other types of diseases, such as the types of herpes not tested for regularly, mycoplasmas, funguses, and so forth, and even kissing opens one up to many things, and a teacher sees a lot of students. So a teacher who can provide the teachings, even if they are sexual, without having body to body contact in the whole danger zone of the pelvis is someone you can trust not only with your health, but you know she is trustworthy and responsible in general. A Tantra teacher should certainly be aware of the energetic connections formed by sex, and realize that not only physical contagion is possible, but all sort of entangling.
She should also disentangle at the end of the session, and this is true even for workshops, letting her energies go back into her, and yours into you, removing any energetic contagion, cutting any cords that were formed, but remaining available for messages on the psychic planes if she is needed because of changes in your Kundalini. If she fails to disentangle, you could be receiving each others energetic problems at any times subconsciously, or draining each other subconsciously because of the bond that is formed.
She should have respect for the body and the environment, and use natural ingredients in the incense and massage oil, non paraffin candles, or her own scents. Her looks may not be as important as some people think, and one of the best Tantra teachers I have ever known is not conventionally attractive, nor even fit, but no one seems to have a problem with that. In some ways, getting past the appearance is a positive thing. It is more important for her to have experience with various personality types and sexual and spiritual issues, and make each man feel comfortable and open immediately, be non judgemental, be able to lead visualization and take you into deep states of consciousness with exercises she leads you in, her voice, her breathing rate, her touch, and her spirit. She should be able to find the answers within her repertoire or from the Divine Wisdom, intuition from within. She could ideally be able to send energy to you, and should certainly be able to circulate energy between the two of you if she feels it is safe, and to move energy upwards along with you to the crown. She should leave you feeling euphoric, transformed, with a new sense of freedom and clarity, focus and insights, abilities, and love of All. "