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Spirit and Body: Armin Heining on Gay-Tantra Training

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Jan 15, 2015

Early in an interview (available on YouTube) about his GAY-TANTRA™ workshops and his background, Armin Heining, a former Benedictine monk and the founder of the Berlin-based Institute for Meditation & Tantra, notes that even as a youth, "I knew I was going to be a holy person, or I was going to end up in the gutter."

Prudes may have their opinions about where Heining has landed, but the longtime instructor of spiritual and sexual techniques for greater personal wholeness is, to those whose lives he has touched, more of a saint than a sinner.

Now Heining is slated to bring his GAY-TANTRA™ Massage Training Workshop to the U.S. for the first time, with a weeklong training retreat at Frog Meadow, an oasis of respite for gay men run in southern Vermont by married co-owners Scott Heller and Dave King. (Frog Meadow's page about the event can be viewed here.)

"I am following the tradition of Margot Anand and Skydancing Tantra," Heining told EDGE in a recent chat about his upcoming workshop. "Margot Anand is one of the mothers of the modern tantra in the Western world. She brought it in 1990 from India to the Western world and to Germany. I joined her after being a monk for 10 years because I wanted to connect sexuality to spirituality."

After 18 years of working with Anan, Heining decided to strike off in his own gay-centric direction. "Until 2008 I was the gay tantra teacher in her tradition," Heining recalled, "and then... I had the impression that I needed to get more into my homosexual identity. She said, 'Okay, I understand that.' We did an empowering ritual to send me out into the gay world and to teach others on the tantric path and my unique, GAY-TANTRA™ program is what has developed as a result. And now this path brings me to Frog Meadow."

Online descriptions of the courses Heining teaches cite deeper connection as a goal, and a result. But connection to - or between - what? Sexuality and spirituality seems an obvious thought. "This happens on many levels, and everyone will have different results," Heining said. "One will connect more on the body level. Others learn to connect to their emotions. Others learn to connect to the spiritual. All of this belongs together and everyone gets out of the training whatever it is he's open to."

"I feel that I have a gay identity and I am still growing into this gay identity," Heining continued. "On the other hand, I connect with everyone - not only with gay people. In my seminars, I feel it makes sense to address the gay students because what brings up sexual energy for them are men, rather than women. It makes sense to have a men's group for a homosexual. But in the 'Schwule Super-Orgasmus' ['Gay Super Orgasm'], which was my last training, out of the thirteen participants we had three bisexual, or heterosexual, students."

"Some people are more comfortable in today's world assimilating, because they want to be part of a bigger whole," Frog Meadow co-owner Scott Heller entered the conversation to say, "but some people are still on the search for what their identity is, and what feeds that identity. It's nice that the gay community is less ghettoized, however there is still a very strong part of our identity that craves knowing what makes us special or different and celebrating that uniqueness. This [Gay-Tantra program] is nourishment for that need."

Asked about description of the course as giving its participants the "tools that will enable you to heal yourself from life's past traumas," Heining told a story about a participant of a Berlin training who sought a massage session with Heining. "He wanted a multiple-orgasmic massage, but I said to him, 'I don't think that's the best thing for you, you are already so aroused.' So I did for him a tender gay tantra massage. This is very slow, very gentle, very focused on energy and emotion. It was a healing for him [to learn] that is not always [about] going to the excitement, but also going to stillness... being grounded... the nourishment of the soul, or however you call that."

The GAY-TANTRA™ workshop & retreat will be held at Frog Meadow Farm in southern Vermont February 1-8, 2015. Participation is limited to twelve men and a few open spots remain. Following the enrollment, each participant receives three introductory DVDs from the GAY-TANTRA™ series as a preparation for the course. Completion of the course will earn each participant certification in GAY-TANTRA™ Massage. Visit www.frogmeadow.com for further details and enrollment.

ABOUT FROG MEADOW
Frog Meadow Farm Bed & Breakfast and Massage Oasis for Men is a welcoming, non-judgmental place for men of all colors and backgrounds to unwind and shed the trappings of busy modern life.

Situated on 63 beautiful & private acres, Frog Meadow frequently hosts men's gatherings, workshops and retreats. Hosts Dave King & Scott Heller are committed to providing a welcoming environment to re-connect with nature and yourself.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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