Monday, December 25, 2006

"All those that walk on land or move in the air, all living and animate creation, trees, shrubs, roots, creepers and grass, etc., oceans and mountains -- all know ye to be Brahma. See them all in Atma."

The Gheranda Samhita

Monday, December 11, 2006

We've contracted for our next book with Llewellyn and expect it will be out in late '07 or early '08.

We're featured in the January Redbook and have an article entitled "Embracing Tantra From 'sacred sexuality' to spiritual development" in this month's Many Hands Magazine. It begins:

What Is Tantra? The word Tantra is becoming increasingly familiar, as a practice embraced by celebrities such as Sting, Woody Harrelson and Scarlett Johanssen, to name a few, and as an exotic, somewhat laughable approach to sex, as depicted in movies and on television - from ''American Pie'' to ''Meet the Fokkers'' to ''Sex and the City.'' Sting's famous assertion that he and his wife, Trudy, make love for seven hours at a stretch created a stir, but his subsequent explanation that this included dinner and a movie, and his more recent statement that Tantra is about experiencing the sacred through relationship, attracted far less attention.

To read more visit: 120100202006

For those of you who are in New Jersey, we'll be teaching a six hour workshop on January 27 in Brick. Go to:

for details

Thursday, September 07, 2006

We've been very busy promoting our book, The Essence of Tantric Sexuality and working on our next one, but we hope to start blogging a bit more regularly. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for our appearance schedule and links to some reviews and interviews.

What Tantra can do for the Tastebuds
Few realize that foods can do more than stimulate the tastebuds. A light meal with carefully chosen dishes can be the beginning of a delicious night in! In one traditional Tantric ritual (the Pancamakara or 5M ceremony), certain foods are consumed, and each is associated with a Chakra and an element. We have borrowed this concept, modified it and adapted it for modern Westerners. This is not the classical ceremony, but it is a delightful way to awaken your senses and connect with your beloved.

In Tantra, different energetic centers (Chakras) in the body are triggered by different sensory stimuli. Taste and smell are the most primal senses, and they awaken the Chakras that govern sensuality. The right foods can stimulate these centers and tantalize your partner. See below for the recipes.

First Course
The first course should include a musky, earthy element. A dish made with truffles is a good choice and will stimulate the sense of smell and begin to awaken desire (Muladhara). Chef Jonathan Pratt ( suggests starting off the meal with Truffle Mac n’ Cheese, which is rich in earthy flavors.

Main Dish
Swadhisthana chakra is associated with water. For the second course, evoke the ocean and try a seafood dish, like Oyster and Morel Fricassee. The mushrooms in this dish will also stimulate the sense of smell. The sensory avenue for this sexual center is taste, so if you don't like seafood, anything with bold flavor will work. Recipe courtesy of Chef John Michael Hamlet.

Finally, what better way to engage the heart than with chocolate? Pratt suggests Strawberry and Chocolate Ganache Fondue. The shape of the strawberry is similar to that of the heart, and the sensory avenue for the heart center is touch. The watery, dark chocolate is also reminiscent of the ocean, which will appeal to your sensuality. Feeding each other the dipped strawberries and paying close attention to the sensations of touch will awaken the heart.

Wine is also a part of the classical 5M ceremony. It represents Manipura Chakra, and the fire element. If you choose, you can add this traditional component to your ritual meal. The fifth M, Maithuna or sexual union, is associated with the air element and the throat Chakra in many systems.

Tantra & Tastebuds Recipes for a Great Night In!
Truffle Mac & Cheese (Truffles earth)

2 cups raw macaroni
3 cups milk
1 cup cream
2 oz. Black Truffle butter (found at specialty stores)
4 oz. Butter
4 oz. All purpose flour
4 oz. Grated Fontina cheese (found at specialty stores)
Dash truffle oil
Salt and pepper

Cook pasta and set aside.
Simmer cream and milk. In a separate pot melt butters and whisk in flour to make a rouille. Add to milk mixture and simmer about 5 min. to cook out flour. Add dash truffle oil to enhance. Salt and pepper to taste.
Mix together with pasta and place in ramekins, top with bread crumbs. Place under broiler until top is golden brown.

Oyster and Morel Fricassee (mushrooms, earth, Oysters, water)
8 Large meaty West coast oysters
4 large morels
2 plum tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup white wine
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil

Blanch, peel, seed and chop small the plum tomatoes. Slice garlic into thin rounds. Cut morels in half and brush off any loose dirt. Sear off in olive oil. Add tomato and garlic, then deglaze with white wine. Turn off heat and add oysters. Allow to poach. Add butter, salt and pepper.

Strawberries and Chocolate Ganache (resemble the heart)
8 Large Strawberries, stem and wash
1 lb chopped semi-sweet or bitter-sweet chocolate
1/2 c. sugar
2 c. heavy cream
Heat cream to a light simmer, combine sugar with chocolate. Pour in hot cream to melt. Dip and serve like a fondu.

We will be discussing our Tantric Dinner, Saturday, Sept. 9th 10:30am (EST) on "The Chef's Table" in WHYY in Philadelphia, and Sirius Radio.

Swami Umeshanand and Devi Veenanand
Events & Workshops

September 8
LOVING MORE EAST COAST CONFERENCE, (UPSTATE NY) - "The Chakras and Sexuality" workshop Friday evening.

September 9 , 4:30 p.m.
THE DREAMING GODDESS (POUGHKEEPSIE) - "Introduction to Tantra" workshop followed by signing - $10

September 13 - 17
DARK ODYSSEY SUMMER CAMP - We will present, The Chakras and Sexuality, Tantric Erogenic Zones, Pleasure as Spiritual Practice, and Exploring Gender Paradigms

October 12, 7-9 p.m.
INSPIRED! BOOKS AND GIFTS (KINGSTON, NY) - 41 N. Front St. Kingston NY. Introduction to Tantra, $20

November 16, 7-10
TANTRA TEMPLE (SEATTLE) - Lecture, Q&A and book signing, register at

November 18, 6:30 p.m.

September 11 p.m. (EST)
WCAU-TV “NBC 10 NEWS AT 11” (PHILADELPHIA) - Ways couples can keep their relationship strong with Tantra.

Podcasts, Webcasts & Archived Radio


THE SEX AND SEXUALITY SHOW - (click Archives, Sex and Sensuality Show, July 18th) We are guests for Tantra Tuesdays, the first Tuesday every month.



NOBODYLIKESONIONS.COM – archived, August 15th show


Articles Online

SOULDISH - Interview with Jamye Waxman,

THE SHADOW SACRAMENT - Interview with Skian McGuire,

Erotic Authors Association - Interview by Pamela Weatherill,

Magazine & Newspaper
JANE MAGAZINE - p. 94, Tantric Erogenous Zones by Kate Torgovnick.

CHRONOGRAM - "Listening and the Spiritual Power of Silence" by Mark Michaels and Patricia Johnson

September 12

ROCKSTAR MAGAZINE - What men can do to appeal to women’s sense of smell and cause sexual arousal, by Jon Platner.

WEDDING ESSENTIALS (TORONTO, CA) - Tips on how newlyweds can keep the sparks flying for years

January 2007
ALL YOU MAGAZINE - Interview with Patricia Johnson

September 9th, 9:30 p.m.

September 9th
WHYY-FM/SIRIUS SATELLITE RADIO “A CHEF’S TABLE” (NATIONAL) – Creating a Tantric meal. This show airs on Philadelphia’s NPR station, as well as Sirius Satellite Radio.

September 20, 12:40 p.m.

November 6, 2 p.m. (EST)

REVIEWS by Joshua Tenpenny by Pamela Weatherill

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

We're gearing up for our launch party, tomorrow, July 13, 7 pm, at Babeland, 94 Rivington Street, NY, NY. We'll be doing a mini workshop and signing books. We're hoping a lot of people will join us to celebrate! Friday we'll be teaching a more extended class for Sexy Spirits.

We'll be on tour from July 24-August 1, with stops in L.A. (Bodhi Tree, July 26), La Jolla (Yoga Fuzion, July 28 and 29) and Minneapolis (Magers and Quinn, July 31). More details and a list of upcoming media appearances soon.

Friday, July 07, 2006

In her Tuesday, July 5 column in the New York Times, entitled "How to Train a Woman", Maureen Dowd wrote: "Women may want to mold their men to be more obedient and less irksome. . ."

Dowd's premise betrays an exceedingly negative view of human nature and relationships. Her perspective is an expression of antiquated gender stereotypes; men are disobedient and irksome, so women must manipulate them.

The Tantric model of relationship is collaborative; each partner should be genuinely interested in the other's well-being and should strive to bring out the best in his/her mate, openly and honestly, without a hidden agenda.

Dowd began by wondering "does nagging work"? The answer, of course, is no. It will only lead to resentment and disharmony. As an alternative, Dowd cited a New York Times article by a woman who employed the techniques of animal trainers on her husband, an approach that reduces intimate relationships to a mere system of rewards and punishments.

Almost half the column is devoted to the views of Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers and the author of Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romance. We have not read the book, but according to Dowd, one of Fisher's key points is that women experience intimacy through face-to-face behavior because "for millions of years" women have interacted with babies that way, while men experience intimacy side-by-side, since for "millions of years" men have faced their enemies that way. While there may be a kernel of truth in this claim, it fails to account for the fact that for millions of years, men have been babies too and have had their most formative intimate experiences through face-to-face interactions.

In our experience, both men and women benefit from focused and intentional eye-gazing, and in long-term couples with problems, both men and women find it equally difficult to look at each other directly.

Dowd also wrote that "training your mate may be essential in an era when everyone is more connected and yet less," a reference to the recent study in the American Sociological Review that indicates "Americans may be getting lonelier and more isolated." The study is certainly alarming, but engaging in manipulative behavior is not an effective way to strengthen a relationship

The way to create deeper and more meaningful intimacy is to cultivate interest in your partner, to respect him/her as an individual and to treat your relationship as something important, something co-created and something mutual. Dowd suggests treating your partner like a trained seal. We believe that treating him or her like a human being would be a far better place to begin.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Here's a photo of us signing books at INATS West on June 25th. We're gearing up for next Thursday's launch party and will have a more substantive post up soon.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

To update an earlier post, our launch party/mini workshop will be held at Babeland's Lower East Side Store (not the Soho store), on July 13th, at 7 pm. Here are the details:

94 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002

Essence of Tantric Sexuality Book Release Party
Thursday, July 13, 07:00PM, FREE
Tantric and yoga experts Patricia Johnson & Mark A. Michaels sign copies of their new book "The Essence of Tantric Sexuality" (Llewellyn) and share some secrets to supercharge your sex life, including tidbits on prolonged arousal, self-pleasuring, and revealing your tertiary Erogenic Zones. A devoted married couple whose workshops and writing on sexual freedom have been featured in the Village Voice, Now Magazine, and Chronogram, their book explains the Tantric philosophy and its principles and offers authentic exercises and techniques for turning your every moment of pleasure into an opportunity to experience the divine. Nibbles and liquid refreshments provided.

Our signing at INATS (Denver) will take place in the Llewellyn booth from 2-3 pm on Sunday, June 25th.

We will be appearing on "Love Talk" with Tana Marie 10 pm Pacific Time, Friday, June 23rd, KNRY-AM, Monterey.

Also, "Night Calls" with Christy Canyon and Ginger Lynn, Playboy Radio, Sirius Channel 198, 7:30 pm Eastern Time on Thursday, June 29th.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

We've got a new article aimed at the dating community up on It focuses on how a tantric approach to relaltionship can be introduced at the very beginning of a relationship and draws heavily on the idea that parity is crucial to a tantric way of relating.

"People often assume that Tantric practices are exclusively for couples or exclusively for long-term couples. Nothing could be further from the truth. Relationship, as we understand it today, was not really a consideration in classical Tantra, which thrived in an entirely different cultural climate. Nevertheless, Tantric principles can be brought to bear on relating, and the process of doing so can add a profoundly spiritual dimension to any relationship. The best aspects of the Tantric tradition stress learning more about your inner states and cultivating equanimity, compassion and awareness. All of these principles can be brought to bear on a relationship, even in the early stages."

There's more here.

We don't quite understand why's url mentions "cheating", since that's plainly not the subject of the article, but so it goes.

Friday, June 09, 2006

We had a wonderful time at BEA and a great turnout for our signing. Things have been very hectic, as our promotional schedule is starting to intensify, and we've been busy writing articles and working on our next book. Below is a list of our upcoming appearances for the month of June. There will undoubtedly be more.

Monday, June 12 at 12:30 pm, EDT. The Good Life Show with Jesse Dylan. Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 114 or online.

The 2 O'clock Show, 710 KPQ AM, Wenatchee, Washington (Patricia). Date and airtime TBA

Thursday, June 22 at 7:35 am, EDT, Ocala Live, 1370 WOCA AM, Ocala, Florida.

Saturday-Monday, June 25-27, International New Age Trade Show, Denver Merchandise Mart, Denver Colorado. We will be signing books at the Llewellyn booth. Time and date TBA.

Monday, June 27, 8 am, MDT, Good Day Colorado, Fox 31, Denver, Colorado.

We're also delighted to announce that the launch party for The Essence of Tantric Sexuality will be held at 7 pm on Thursday, July 13 at Toys in Babeland, 43 Mercer Street, New York, NY.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

We had a wonderful time at BEA and a great turnout for our signing. Things have been very hectic, as our promotional schedule is starting to intensify, and we've been busy writing articles and working on our next book. Below is a list of our upcoming appearances for the month of June. There will undoubtedly be more.

Monday, June 12 at 12:30 pm, EDT. The Good Life Show with Jesse Dylan. Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 114 or online at

The 2 O'clock Show, 710 KPQ AM, Wenatchee, Washington (Patricia). Date and airtime TBA

Thursday, June 22 at 7:35 am, EDT, Ocala Live, 1370 WOCA AM, Ocala, Florida.

Saturday-Monday, June 25-27, International New Age Trade Show, Denver Merchandise Mart, Denver Colorado. We will be signing books at the Llewellyn booth. Time and date TBA.

Monday, June 27, 8 am, MDT, Good Day Colorado, Fox 31, Denver, Colorado.

We're also delighted to announce that the launch party for The Essence of Tantric Sexuality will be held at 7 pm on Thursday, July 13 at Toys in Babeland, 43 Mercer Street, New York, NY.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Path of Paradox

"While lists of siddhis in India are as numerous as varieties of cheese in France, nearly all may be categorized under two general headings, 'magical' and 'abstract'. The latter, better known, are especially found in yogic and high Hindu Tantric sources. . .The former, found in both Buddhist and Hindu sources, are, in spite of having fallen out of vogue among Tantric authors and commentators, nonetheless more original and authentic."

David Gordon White, Kiss of the Yogini: "Tantric Sex" in its South Asian Contexts

"Among the general public, there is a common misconception about Tantra. It is believed that in performing Tantric practices one uses mystic formulas or mantras, invokes spirits and mystic deities and as a result acquires weird powers and uncanny experiences. But this understanding of Tantra is obviously naive, for Tantra has a much wider connotation. It stands for a particular conception of reality and subsequently a particular way of life."

Kamalakar Mishra, Kashmir Saivism: The Central Philosophy of Tantra

Friday, May 12, 2006

Aleister Crowley and Timothy Leary, two of the most notorious figures of the 20th-century, were influenced by the Tantric tradition, and any Westerner who practices Tantra has in turn been influenced by them. Both Crowley and Leary were brilliant, misguided, worshipped by some and vilified by others. Both understood the importance of the inner quest -- the exploration of consciousness -- and sought to live unfettered by convention; both paid a heavy price for that choice. Both men were deeply flawed, but each left us an important legacy.

"Every generation lives the old drama out over and over again. Every person can. The challenge is for you to become your own priest. For you to become your own doctor. For you to become your own researcher on consciousness."
Timothy Leary, The Politics of Ecstasy

"To obey a set of rules is to shift the whole responsibility of conduct on to some superannuated Bodhisattva, who would resent you bitterly if he could see you, and tick you off in no uncertain terms for being such a fool as to think you could dodge the difficulties of research by the aid of a set of conventions which have little or nothing to do with actual conditions."
Aleister Crowley, Eight Lectures on Yoga

Each statement is a perfectly succinct articulation of what it means to live Tantrically.

Monday, May 08, 2006

"The War on Contraception" by Russell Shorto, which appeared in Sunday's New York Times Magazine is very important reading for anyone concerned about sexual freedom. It provides a good deal of insight into the mind set of the "abstinence only" crowd and makes it abundantly clear that for many in that group, overturning Roe v. Wade is not so much a goal as it is a first step.

For many social conservatives, non-procreative sex is the problem; their hidden agenda is the elimination of all forms of contraception and that is not all. According to Shorto, "[t]heir ultimate goal is not a number - the percentage of abortions or unintended pregnancies - but an ideal, a way for people to think and behave." This is why they are seeking to block the production of a vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus; they value their goal of transforming society more than they value the lives of sexually active women, protestations about the sanctity of life notwithstanding. Their way of thinking is profoundly at odds with the Tantric perspective, in which sexual activity can be a means to an end -- most often the experience of altered states of consciousness, a direct path to union with the divine.

There is a very quiet movement afoot in the United States to stamp out the rights of all sexual minorities, to return to a mythical golden age when we were invisible, when non-marital sex was forbidden and women were little more than breeding machines, with no right to pleasure. While some members of this movement can be quite vocal, the general public remains substantially unaware of the scope of its project. This is an age-old struggle; Shorto begins his article with a discussion of Daniel Defoe's "A Treatise Concerning the Use and Abuse of the Marriage Bed", in which Defoe claimed that by enaging in non-procreative sex, married men make whores of their wives. Today, beyond the struggles over abortion rights and contraception, several Southern states ban the sale of sex toys, and these statutes have been upheld in the courts.

Those of us who do not share the social conservatives' views ignore them or minimize them at our peril. Roe v. Wade hangs on by a thread -- in all probability a single vote on the Supreme Court. When that thread is pulled, the entire fabric that protects our rights will begin to unravel, and we will be living in a society governed by a set of rules that could make outlaws of us all. (subscription required)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Many people believe that Tantra first came to America in the 1970s, but in fact, America's first Tantra teacher flourished in the first half of the 20th century. Below is an excerpt from the Preface to our book, The Essence of Tantric Sexuality, (Llewellyn Worldwide, July '06), which provides an overview of the history of Tantra in the United States.

"[Pierre Arnold] Bernard founded an organization called the Tantrik Order in America that attracted adherents from the upper crust of New York society but also, interestingly enough, some people with significant knowledge of the Hindu tradition including Swami Bodhananda, leader of the Ramakrishna order in New York at the time. It appears that Bernard gave instruction in Vama Marga practices during his early years as a teacher... In 1918, he left New York City and established a retreat center known as the Clarkstown Country Club in West Nyack, New York. This center had a profound influence on the popularity of Yoga in America and a diverse array of luminaries, including Kurt Weil, Dr. Ida Rolf, Sir Paul Dukes and Cyril Scott, were associated with the C.C.C."

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Well, we're back, after a very long hiatus, most of which has been devoted to writing our forthcoming book, "The Essence of Tantric Sexuality" Llewellyn Worldwide, July 2006. Devi Veennanand (my wife and teaching and writing partner) and I plan to start posting here on a regular basis in the months ahead. Check out the site for information about upcoming events, book signings, musings on Tantra and other random thoughts.

Hari Om,
Swami Umeshanand