Tantric Awareness Apprenticeship Program
I’ve had it with certification programs. While there are some that are fantastic, the majority get it all wrong, especially when it comes to sacred sexual healing. This type of healing is incredibly nuanced and it requires a true calling and purpose to find yourself in this profession. It also requires a lot of skill as well as a supportive community of peers.
While I am in full support of the legalization of sex work, and don’t place tantric sexual healing on a pedestal above other forms, the truth is, that Tantra is different from many forms of sex work. It is not entertainment, it is not fulfilling someone’s fantasies. It is not “pay x, to get x sexual act.”
Whether you call yourself a dakini, daka, sacred intimate, sensual massage therapist, shaman…there is a common thread of authenticity and healing in our work. I believe that almost all pleasure is inherently healing, but there is much deeper healing possible when pleasure is shared in deep authenticity with the intention of increased awareness and sensation.
As a dakini, I see all types of clients. I see a lot of people who are curious about learning Tantra to deepen their intimacy, become better lovers, and have better orgasms. However, I also see people dealing with severe sexual trauma, women suffering from pain during sex, inorgasmic people, men with premature ejaculation concerns and couples with blocks to emotional intimacy. Being a dakini or daka is becoming “what it takes.” It is a calling and a challenge to show up for all of these diverse needs without losing your center.
Tantra was not designed to be a healing modality. It has been adapted to be so by western minds. I believe the reason this happened is because a) Tantra is the only ancient spiritual path I’m aware of that honors sex and does not shame the human body or worldly pleasure, b) When it was imported to the west, this small part of its system became the focus specifically because westerners are so plagued by sexual shame, and c) Many classical tantric practices lend themselves to focusing on sensation and the present moment, which inherently increases sexual pleasure and intimacy.
I am one of very few tantric practioners who has studied classical Tantra just as much as Neo-Tantra. I believe that the integration of the two provides profound, life-changing personal development opportunities, including healing from all sexual fear, shame and trauma. And it is an incredibly delicate process. One wrong move, and we can unconsciously retraumatize our clients or ourselves.
We’ve all heard the stories of the “creepy male tantra teacher.” And trust me, they exist, unfortunately they are quite ubiquitous and there are many in the top ranks. There are also female tantra teachers and sex workers that operate from their shadows and trauma as well, they just don’t get outed as often. You don’t want to be one of them.
I feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to apprentice with Ava. I would not be anywhere near the level of professional and sophisticated of a Dakini as I am today without the uniqueness of her teaching style and the huge loving support she gave me every step of the way.
What Ava offers is the ability to learn modern and classical tantra alongside the actual practice of going into session space with real clients. This rare teaching style is vital and yet surprisingly almost nonexistent in this field. Yet, it is exactly the magic that creates a real, embodied Dakini in her power and mastery.
Ava’s teaching penetrates deep and it does not take long before you are living, breathing and exuding the essence of tantra in and out of session space. During my apprenticeship with Ava she quickly took me from being a beginner into tantric mastery.
As a coach she truly understands me and has given me clear reflections of the priestess I am and used that to help me craft my unique offering with writing coaching and copy editing.
Ava Ananda has been a great catalyst for me to upgrade my practice. While I had been a Sacred Intimate for over a decade prior to collaborating with her, I still did not have a website, and was only advertising in two places. Ava Ananda was an incredibly strong ally in creating a website, introducing me to multiple advertising modalities, revamping my pricing structure, and creating better screening practices to ensure safer experiences with clients. Ava Ananda is a wise business woman and a compassionate coach, and I highly recommend any practitioner – new or seasoned – to work with her, to establish or revitalize their practice.
Ava’s passion for the dark power of the feminine – to heal, to challenge, to change the world – runs deep. She’s a sorceress, a priestess, a tantrika with great love in her heart and great magic in her body. Skilled in the sexual arts, she has a gift for embodying Ma. Men learn and women melt in her arms. In her sessions and groups, she brings the Goddess back to life. Jai Ma!
Why are there so many horrible modern Tantra teachers? Because people take a training course, get a certificate and start touching people. They often do so without a mentor or supportive community of peers. They don’t have anyone to call them out on ethical issues or reflect back to them the harm they are causing to themselves or others.
Most of these people truly think they are doing good work, and for some, they are. They often have just as many supporters as detractors because they are not evil people. They tend to provide great experiences to those who don’t have a history of trauma or to those they aren’t attracted to. Many of these teachers have major boundary issues, unknowingly abuse their power and status, and use expert communication skills to spiritually bypass, deny, and deflect people’s concerns. It’s a horrible thing.
One way to prevent this is to bring back the apprenticeship and guild model of learning, rather than certificate courses. After all, it’s one thing to take several levels of a program and do sessions on other practitioners in a controlled setting, and completely another to take this work to the real world, where you can often become very isolated due to the shamed nature of being a sex worker of any kind.
It is a special calling to be a Daka or Dakini. And even if one has the calling, pursuing it professionally isn’t always a good idea. For some who are in monogamous relationships, it is too much for them or their partners to think about sharing sensuality with others. Other factors that can be challenging are: children, intrusive and/or judgmental families, shame, fear, sexual trauma and difficulty with communication, boundaries or money.
What are the benefits of the apprenticeship model?
- Learning on the job, working with real clients along side a master practitioner, and getting real-time feedback and teachings from someone with a master’s degree in education
- A long term engagement of learning, often six months to a year
- A well-crafted progression of skills that are taught when your mentor sees that you are ready for the next step, rather than some canned curriculum that pushes you too fast, or slows you down
- Getting hands-on support on the business side, after all this is an entrepreneurial venture and it does require some business skill to be successful (I owned a marketing agency for 3 years and have been an entrepreneur for nearly 10 years.)
- A life-long relationship with a mentor and a supportive community of colleagues (including a private Facebook group and retreats for graduates)
- Receiving sessions from a master practitioner to help clear the pathway through your own sexual and emotional shadows and trauma
- One-on-one coaching that helps you deal with the inevitable challenges that arise when you transition into doing this work on your own
What does an apprenticeship with Ava look like?
Depending where you are at in your practice, 1 or 2 weeks may be all you need to deepen or rejuvenate your work. For beginners, I require a 6-month minimum coaching commitment, which includes at least 4 weeks of immersive work together in person. Either way, in-person training is done in 1 or 2 week intervals, so you have time in between to practice and integrate the teachings.
Each week of immersion with me includes lodging, morning meditation, receiving 2 sessions from me, and unlimited coaching every day. After 2 demo sessions, we book duo sessions with real clients and/or I will observe you working with real paying clients.
All packages include mandatory follow-up coaching calls for at least 3 months.
I like to craft each experience to the individual, but here is model that has worked well with others and the approximate fees.
$5,000 for one week and $8,000 for 2 weeks
Why so much? Because you learn a shit ton in an immersive environment, skills that you will build your entire livelihood on for years to come, and quite honestly it takes a lot of my energy because I care deeply about you having a safe and educational experience. These immersion weeks are most often held in Nashville, TN. Other locations are sometimes possible, but often require an increase in fee.
Once we are booking with real clients, you receive 30% of the client fee to honor your work. You can use this 30% to help pay for your apprenticeship. Payment plans are available.
For phone or Skype coaching sessions to help established practitioners rejuvenate their skills or business practices, initial consultation is $250 for 90min-2hr. After that, we can determine the duration and depth of our engagement and negotiate an appropriate fee.
Sometimes I offer an immersive retreat where I gather some of my graduated apprentices and 5-10 new ones and we practice together for a week. Please email me if you’d like to be put on the wait list for the next one.
Here are some answers to the most common questions I get: No, you don’t have to look a certain way. You can be any gender, orientation, color, shape or size to do this work. Yes, there are legal considerations to think about when doing this work in the United States. There is risk and it is minimal if you set up your business well. No, I do not have sexual intercourse or oral sex with my clients, but you are at choice of how you’d like to connect with yours. No, you do not need to already have massage training. Yes, you will have to be sensual with people you don’t find attractive. No, it’s not difficult. No, I am not worried about taking on any “negative” energy from my clients. Yes, this work is challenging and risky and it’s so immensely rewarding. It requires a special breed and a lot of support, especially if you want a long career. Getting started the right way can make all the difference. So many practitioners jump in head first after one training, traumatize themselves and quit the work soon after. I don’t want this to happen to you.
Ready to get started?
Book a two hour coaching call or in-person session with me to experience my work, discuss your intentions, and see if we are a good fit.
You may already be a daka or dakini in your heart or in your practice. Whether you choose to work with me or not, I honor you for following your inuition and sharing your gifts with the world.
Hope to hear from you soon.