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.
My confidence and client results increased from the day I began training with Ava as my mentor. She offered me a flexible structure that takes the last-minute questions and nerves out of each appointment so I can focus entirely on my client as an individual. Obviously this creates a calm, capable container for a transformative session. Because of Ava’s guidance I now take on an extra session or two a week with no extra personal drain. The patterns she cooked up with me are that supportive to my sustainability as a healer.
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!
We were looking for a practice to deepen our spiritual and physical connection and were really inspired when we came across Ava in our research of Tantra. We are blessed to have a really wonderful partnership and are excited to know how much deeper it can get by bringing Tantra into our lives.Working with her is as if you had known her forever. She has an acute intuition to craft an experience that will be transformative, and really delicious. She was an incredible guide during the couple’s session, leading us from breathing to meditation to being present and how to give and receive.
Plus she was very good at teaching me as the giving partner how to give pleasure through yoni massage so that we can practice on our own.
As the receiving partner it was incredibly healing to be in the receptive position for my yoni massage, and to open up to allow myself to take up space and feel an incredible vibration in my body that I have never experienced before.
It was so liberating to let all expectations and inhibitions go and connect into ourselves and with each other through our breath and sensual touch. It is amazing to feel your senses so alive! We’re grateful to now have these practices that we can incorporate into our daily lives. This has redefined for us our experience of sensual intimacy.
Ava is incredible at what she does. There is such deep wisdom, embodiment, and understanding of Tantra and sexual healing behind everything she does. From breathing, to sounding, to feeling, to moving – every moment receiving from her is a divine masterpiece. In the 2 sessions I’ve received from her, I was able to move through a tremendous amount of grief, rage and stuckness and to return to an ecstatic unencumbered flow of energy and orgasm in my body. At the end I cried and thanked her for giving me the gift of returning home to myself. Give yourself the gift of Ava you will be so grateful you did.
When I have felt like no one else could possibly accept me in my pain, Ava always knew how to meet me with big compassion and often some really good jokes that cut through the heaviness. She isn’t afraid of the nitty gritty of human life, and she delights in supporting others to be curious and accepting, and increasingly aware of their wounding patterns, kinks, fears and desires.
Ava’s touch and care are intuitive and deep. I was able to trust, surrender and move into “timeless time” in the safe and beautiful container that she creates for her work. I felt connected, seen and heard during the session, and refreshed, enlivened – and more in touch with my own body afterwards.
After I got work done by a professional to help bring pleasure and awareness to my prostate, I couldn’t believe what I was missing. I had experimented before with partners but having someone who really knew what they were doing show me how I could maximize my pleasure and orgasm was totally game-changing. Now I feel like I have a secret advantage on everyone who hasn’t discovered it. If I could send every man I know to Ava I would. She is not only an incredible, trained professional, but also she is someone who is passionate about helping men discover deeper ways to feel sexually alive in their bodies.
Working with Ava has been nothing short of special, powerful and life-changing. I contacted Ava for personal and spiritual reasons. I knew very little about Tantra in general or what Ava offered personally. I just knew it was time for some deep healing, and that is exactly what happened.
I’ve worked with Ava in person and via online meeting and in both cases I was completely satisfied with the support I received.
What is most impressive about working with Ava is her ability to listen carefully to my story in order to put together a supportive healing plan that works best for me. She seems to pull from a large background of knowledge, and each strategy or explanation she gives me is direct and powerful yet supportive and nurturing. She saw the story pattern behind my words and was able to link current issues I was having to deeper long-standing stress patterning. Our conversations were geared toward me as an individual rather than generalizations. It was clear right away that she knew what needed to happen to help me, and she had a plan to do so.
One of the most powerful moments came when she touched three specific areas on my torso, one right after the other, explaining the energetic linkage between these areas and how they must be relaxed and released. The three areas she highlighted were the three most troublesome parts of my body and ones I had not mentioned to her before.
My one-on-one time with her was very valuable. The environment she provides is safe and supportive. By mixing professionalism with spirituality I immediately felt open to share my thoughts and feelings as well as put into action her recommendations for growth. Simply put she cares about helping people and knows how to do so with confidence and love. I highly recommend Ava to anyone looking for spiritual growth. You will be satisfied with your evolution.
I am ever so grateful for the unconditional support Ava Ananda has given me… for pushing me, gently & lovingly and with playfulness, to acknowledge and express the divine feminine within me. I went into the session with her expecting a ‘treat’ and came out of it with a full-on course!! I also went in with some fear and trepidation, and came out feeling softer and more empowered. She created such a safe, comfortable and accepting space, that I really had to laugh at myself for ever feeling any fear about having a session with her. I look forward to continuing on this path with Ava Ananda — my dear friend, teacher, and sister.
I was fortunate enough to receive a Yoni mapping session from Ava Ananda during the germination of my spiritual journey. From the onset of dipping my toes into the lagoon that is Tantra, I soon found myself diving head first into the ocean of my newfound spirituality. This feat could not have been accomplished without my session with Ava and her ability to guide me through the self doubt and religious static that prevented my inner goddess from bursting through. She created a beautiful, sacred and most of all safe space for me to surrender and allow for exploration of uncharted territory in order to grasp further depths of myself. And in that space I felt. I remembered. I answered. I cried. I loved. I let go. I healed. I connected.
With Ava’s healing hands and innate sense of self, I couldn’t have asked for a better guide to take me through one of the most important journeys I have taken in my life thus far. I thank her for the being the catalyst to my own truth and inner peace. Most of all, I thank my Yoni, whose functions I knew were multi-purposed, but never would I have thought in a million years to be a medium for my spiritual growth.
Having had the pleasure of experiencing multiple therapeutic sessions with Ava, I can unabashedly declare that she has enabled me to peel and neutralize layers of unproven assumptions about myself, surroundings and career. In a short time, Ava’s poignant and gentle insight has proven far more valuable than traditional therapy ever has.
She’s one of the most expressive sensualists I know and I know A LOT of them!
Ava Ananda made an amazingly comfortable space and communicated very clearly what the intention and boundaries were. Once they were established, I felt completely safe to explore. Then I felt like Columbus discovering the new world! I give Ava an A+ for impeccable communications as well as for being so sensual and sexy. I highly recommend her whether you are experienced or a newbie.
The work I have received from Ava Ananda has repeatedly been a deeply healing experience. She brought a fearless clarity to her sessions making it a safe space for me to allow for old wounding to be cleared out and through that find the pleasure for being incarnated again. She held impeccable boundaries that gave me permission to truly let go, feel my own sensuality and simultaneously feel nurtured and honored as a man. Her sensual embodied presence is a great gift to receive and continues to be an invitation to dive deeper into my own humanness.
It’s really hard to articulate how much the sessions opened me up and quenched my long unrealized hunger for a fiery, focused and flowing love – an authentic and timeless love – a slow, delicious, warm, wet love. My time with you was so special and made me understand that there are equally passionate, loving and hungry souls who share the same sacred language I keep deep within me and wait to share with in-the-know and fire-filled humans.
Before I met Ava, my knowledge of the tantric approach was limited to what I had read of it. A couple of sessions later, I’m reevaluating my entire concept of the body, sex, and sensuality. My first reaction was that it was like being inebriated without any of the unhealthy calories and without a hangover. But it’s deeper than that, and I regret that I’m not close enough to her to be a regular student. Were that the case, I am certain this Goddess would not just wade with me into the blissful lagoon she plays in, but help me swim even further out to sea.
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.