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It was Guy who had the idea to combine tantra with dating when he noticed a pattern in clients telling him they found it hard to meet people in New York.But, he also realised something else: that many of us don’t have the tools to sustain a relationship.Each ‘couple’ forms a ‘station’ and at each station we do an exercise together that Guy talks us through from his prompt cards, like a gameshow host. For the first one – as I sit opposite a total stranger – we’re asked to list all the things we find beautiful about the person in front of us. Another exercise has us sitting down, mirroring each other’s movements, which ends up feeling like a contemporary dance. With the next gentleman, I must now hug him and apologise on behalf of all my sisters, which he feels sincerely grateful for. Though Guy is pretty chill, approaching life talking about personal energies and meaningful connections, he’s also thankfully a New Yorker and can crack a joke.While I ponder on what they’ve done during the lifetime of this poor chap, his body is heating up like a roaring furnace and I’m glad when I can finally let go before all moisture evaporates from my body. At the end of each rendezvous, lasting anywhere between a minute and three minutes, Guy invites us to pop one of our beads in the man’s pouch, if we are interested in talking more, while they stand with their eyes closed. It allows us to laugh at the awkwardness of it all and, perhaps, cunningly, let down our defensive walls, allowing people in and deepening the connection.Tantra Speed Date is the latest offering from Lauren Harkness and Guy Shahar, relationship and tantra experts and founders of The Tantra Institute.Since the first event took place in New York in May, it has spread to San Francisco and Boston — and it’ll be coming to London later this year.
It looks as if we’re about to kick off a round of country dancing (I wouldn’t have entirely minded; Morris Dancing is not considered a novelty in my native Dorset). For another exercise we simply talk — à la normal speed date — but the deafening volume of the room as excited words bounce off the walls makes it hard for me to hear the young Russian man standing in front of me. It feels like I’m being forced to static dance with my mum’s friend’s (much older) son at a wedding. ‘Thanks very much,’ I think, but I wish they were bloody capable of apologising for themselves.So, he set about creating an event that was about making meaningful connections – where you have the time, space and right environment to give each other your 100% undivided attention and tap into each other’s ‘energy’ during the first encounter instead of it being something fleeting and disposable.That is what Tantra is about and it forms the backbone of the philosophy around Tantric dating too.Before I attend I’m told the dress code is ‘celebratory casual’. The majority of men look like they work in IT and have come from the office.The women look more diverse and like they’ve put more thought into it.