Testimonial from client

    Thank you for all you do for me and for your grace and feminine presence. I've learned so much from you about life and finding ones purpose. I am grateful to have you in my life. Have a beautiful weekend.

    Testimonial for Holistic psychotherapist Katya Salkinder

    Two years ago my life was being crippled by the reality of depression and my self-concept and perception of life was bleak. As time went on I began to sink further into my debilitating state when suddenly my life changed and recognition of beauty slowly began shining through the darkness. In the midst of my sadness and repetitive meetings with doctors, who despite effort never seemed to help, I found one woman Holistic psychotherapist Katya Salkinder , who opened my eyes and my heart to the beauty of life within my self-professed, dim existence. She exposed me to many Eastern practices and I began meditating and expanding my knowledge on Tantric meditation and chakra energy. Slowly but surely my quality of life began to rise and I became immensely grateful and appreciative of many aspects of my life and people I had taken for granted for too long. Through this self-exploration I was able to forgive others and myself for the past and began embracing life and finding myself in the present. This journey will never end and throughout life I will have to explore and face the hardships that life puts forth. I will always have to bestow self-awareness through the difficulties stimulated both internally and externally but I have such motivation and passion to accomplish all I thought was unreachable.

    I hope to expand people's minds and touch others hearts as this selfless woman, Katya ,touched mine. I am in the process of publishing a book of poetry that explored this journey through struggle and the soothing reality of change. I have future aspirations of publishing a novel and I hope both books touch someone.

    I also hope to travel. I want to enrich my life and my legacy by exploring the world and exploring the countries that those practices that Katya introduced me to , that helped me reshape my life ,come from.

    Anita Mercado , author of poetry book "The lost Child"


    The train's slight, rocking lullaby
    Scribbled on her loose-leaf was a name and address
    One more doctor
    Expected to push pills
    Listen to those scripted forty-minute recalls of what brought her into the cold office
    Offices with no theme or life
    Framed descriptions of their authority
    Reminders that she was the lesser

    A ding brought her back to reality
    Hastily collecting her belongings
    She hurried to the opening doors
    Looking back once more at the orange paired seats
    To ensure her treasures were intact

    The empty seat confirming this routine thought
    As she stepped out, a quiet voice whispered that this experience would be different
    No elaboration on such a claim
    Just a strong-willed implication of variance
    She quickly rejected the alleged
    Confirming with her jotted note as she journeyed up the stairs

    She found her destination as she stepped out into the sunlight
    Sitting quietly in the middle of a busy city street
    She rang the bell
    A buzz allowing her entry, and she walked inside

    Looking around for the office as she heard a door squeak open
    A small woman appeared
    Instantly, that quiet voice returned
    As she peered at the woman's gentle face, she abruptly blurted
    "You aren't a psychiatrist, are you?"

    The woman let out a small chuckle as she gestured her inside
    Her humbling eyes uttering back to the voice that kept murmuring inside the girl
    Surprised with the woman's demeanor, the girl sat down
    Began talking instantly how some voice tried to express difference to her on the train

    No frames hung on these walls
    Only one
    A woman
    Tanned skin
    Mild expression
    A perfectly circular dot residing between her brows
    Below her on a delicate table were the traces of incense
    Their gray, powdered remnants lay in long but broken trails It smelled welcoming
    The smoky smell of calm circled in the air

    And plants, all danced around the room
    She never conveyed her story
    Her script never being repeated
    Improv escaped her mouth

    The woman communicated how no medicine would be distributed
    The insipid woman whom the girl had been meeting with weekly
    Who had instructed her firmly to seek such support
    She expected pills and diagnosis

    Instead, the discussion focused on the body and mind
    Meditation and spirituality
    It was erotic and tangible
    The artist within the girl, who shared insight and spoke from within
    Was frolicking with the woman's free expression

    Slowly, she transformed, her concern dissipating as tranquility began easing her into the new experience
    Slowly altering the idea of healing
    The girl eventually closed her eyes as the woman spoke to her
    Slowly helping her drift into a soothing state

    With each inhale, she brought an imagined light from her toes
    Pulling it from the firm earth that grounded her like trees in soil
    Pulling it up her body
    Up past her being to the stars

    As she exhaled, she pushed out a long breath of pain
    Sending the thoughts and images to a forest far away
    They continued this for an unknown amount of time
    When she finally told the girl to relax her eyes
    And when ready, to open them

    The girl was surprisingly at ease
    What had happened?
    As if she had never noticed she was breathing her entire existence
    She remained stunned
    The time spent was a miraculous uncovering
    No pills or egos

    Tender compassion filled the room
    Embraced her entity for the entire period
    Understanding words not spoken
    No sense of time
    The woman never glanced at the clock

    The girl left smiling
    Rejuvenated with a fire and passion for life
    The change she so desperately needed was fiercely flowing through her

    Her smile never faded that day
    Even through the evening hours
    Her slumbering sleep
    She knew this was the dose she needed
    The empathy
    The love she always craved

    This woman looked at her as a mother
    And self
    Equal and unintimidating

    They journeyed together
    The girl's life opening a new chapter
    Showing her the God that had always been
    He felt she was ready now
    Nodding at the girl's awakened spirit
    Slowly appearing to her through these silent travels

    The girl was forever changed

    Anita Mercado from the book "The lost Child"
    To my psychotherapist Katya Salkinder

    Garie's testimonial

    "A further learning experience that helped shape my approach and
    subsequently this book, was the years I spend in therapy. Not
    conventional therapy, but rather "body centered therapy". It was this
    work with a very talented therapist "Katya Salkinder" who helped me to
    learn about emotions, fears and how to release them in myself and as
    the result of this wark,other's Katya's approach was perfect for
    me because it was opposite of whom I was. At the time, I was very
    much into the left brain activity and preferred to see the world from the
    intellectual perspective. Her techniques focused on the emotions and
    how the body held those emotions. She taught me through a
    combination of Inner Child Therapy.Tantric techniques and Yoga. How to
    connect with and heal those old experiences that kept me from knowing
    my power and the true self. It was this training that gave me the tools I
    needed to be able to do the type of healingwork I do with my clients. It
    was a great blessing for me indeed and I'm grateful for the experience."

    Gary Speransky, from the book "Power is you"

    Testimonial: Andrew Root

    When I first went to Katya Salkinder, it was out of desperation. After spending months in misery, fear, and pain, a therapist was my final attempt to rekindle the joy I had lost in my life. Having studied a number of eastern religions and new age spiritual thought leaders, I thought Katya might be a good choice. Little did I know how perfect a choice she actually would turn out to be...

    In a shockingly small number of sessions, maybe just eight, Katya completely changed my life. She "fixed" me, or rather, helped me understand how I was unconsciously breaking myself. During one of my last sessions, right when I walked in the door, Katya said, "You're like a different person now." She was totally right. With her help, I got my demons largely in check and overcame issues that had been plaguing me since childhood. Instead of spending each day in fear and misery, I was intelligently working through my painful thoughts as they arose, and finding more joy in the world than I had in months.

    What makes Katya's method so incredibly effective is her combination of Eastern/New Age methods and more traditional Western pyschotherapy. Generally when I walked through her door, my brain would be so busy it was almost impossible for me to look at my troubles rationally. Katya would take me through a brief guided meditation to settle me down. At that point, I would realize much of what I was worrying about was actually just a figment of my imagination. For the tougher issues, Katya and I would then have a free flowing conversation where she helped me understand the true sources of my problems and how to address them. After that, we would end with more guided meditations and other spiritual work.

    Except for a few occasions where we explored particularly dark areas of my being, I left Katya's office feeling free, at peace, and filled with joy. In the days following the sessions, that ecstasy would slowly fade, but that's when the real work began. When I inevitably settled into my old thought patterns, I had new ideas and methods from Katya to deal with them. In applying her techniques and tackling my problems head on, I developed the ability to stay sustainably happy, even when things weren't going right.

    Village Voice December 17 -23, 2003

    Mind Body Spirit
    by Anya Kamenetz
    So Many Arms, So Little Time
    Tantra Tantalizes New Yorkers
    December 17 - 23, 2003

    Connecting erotic and spiritual bliss: the way of Tantra
    (photo: Shulamit)

    "The moment of orgasm is one place where people experience dissolving of ego and a sense of oneness, timelessness. It's kind of a pathway for the common man or woman," says Patricia Johnson. She and her husband, Mark Michaels—a/k/a Swami Umeshanand Saraswati—are among a handful of tantric teachers in the New York area offering people a chance to connect erotic and spiritual bliss. Tantra, a Sanskrit word often translated as weaving, is their common rubric, but the thread that stretches from 10th-century sacred texts to the workshops and massage tables of today can be slender indeed. Seeker beware.

    Tantra came to the West with the New Age caravansary in the late '60s. Even on the Indian subcontinent, the name was applied to a vast array of practices and schools: some Hindu, some Buddhist, some highly ritualized and focused on kundalini energy yoga or visualizations of deities like Shiva and Shakti, some involving physical sex rites. In the U.S., beginning in the '70s, an Indian guru known as Bhagwan Rajneesh and later as Osho promulgated a highly influential brand of so-called neo-tantra, which introduced the idea of tantric healing by the withholding of ejaculation, and advocated the directness of tantric practices as useful for the shallow, easily distracted Western mind. Westerners, especially in California, agreed, and the legend of Sting's seven-hour sex sessions was born.

    Katya Salkinder, a licensed psychotherapist, yoga teacher, and Reiki healer, is a follower of Osho. She uses breath work and meditation in her Soho sessions, helping people work through "emotional blockages" to promote the free flow of sexual energy through the chakras. A sexologist, she treats people with dysfunctions such as premature ejaculation, and offers techniques for the attainment of extended full-body orgasms. She has taught all over the country and the world, and finds that students in New York present unique difficulties. "The most common view of tantra is connected with uninhibited sex, the Kama Sutra, free love," she says. "People, especially New Yorkers, often don't have the patience to go deeply and reach the level where they can take their clothes off. They want to take their clothes off immediately—instant gratification."

    Salkinder has led a monthly tantra group for the past two years, where students find emotional release and generate energy through dance and breathing exercises involving the "PC pump," contractions of the pelvic floor muscle. "There are many more men in my group in New York," she says. "It's a very male city. It's tough to open up here, and it's especially difficult for women. Men have more interest in sexuality, but then as they go deeper they understand this is not about sex per se, it's about hearts. But the majority of people in New York don't have time for that."

    Johnson and Michaels have found the same characteristics in New York tantra students, although their teaching in workshops, at conferences, and through an online course is very different in its emphasis. They use little movement in their classes and de-emphasize massage—"There is no such thing as tantric massage," Michaels says—and instead focus on a rigorous course of breath work, meditation, chanting, and puja, a type of Hindu devotional ritual. Their "initiated Kriya yoga" practices aim to lay a spiritual foundation for bringing the heightened awareness and pleasure of sex into everyday life.

    "Something that's happened in the last 30 years or so, as tantra's become popular in the West, is the idea of it as a healing modality—psychotherapy," Michaels says. "We have the idea that if you're going to practice tantra, you should have gotten to a place of emotional health. That's not to say that the practices can't be therapeutic, but we really like to encourage people not to do the whole psychology trip, and to learn how to meditate, to do the practices, and allow change to happen. Rather than—"

    "Searching out old problems and trying to unblock a chakra or something," Johnson finishes. The two, married since 2000, effortlessly model the tantric tradition that invokes the beloved as an incarnation of the divine. As they're explaining a basic technique, tratak or "eyegaze," they hold eye contact with the rapt expression of newlyweds. However, they and other teachers make clear that tantra can be practiced by single people with equally satisfying results. In fact, in January they'll be leading an event for singles in New York—tantric speed dating, as unlikely as that sounds. It will be tailored, of course, to the special needs of their audience.

    "New York students are surprisingly conservative," says Michaels. "And there's a somewhat greater desire for really quick results." "If they can learn it in a two-hour class, they're happy," adds Johnson. "But if you send them home and say, here are the tools, go use them, it's like, 'Uhh, I don't have time for that.' "

    Body Electric, a California spiritual and erotic massage school celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2004, generally asks for a bit more of people's time. Their four-day-long New Year's event for men at Easton Mountain Retreat, three hours north of New York, requires the completion of their introductory course, "Celebrating the Body Erotic." Body Electric runs single-sex (largely gay) and coed retreats that use breath, visualization, meditation, and massage, including erotic massage in groups. "There's a lot of erotic wounding going on in our culture. It's not OK to have genitals," says Collin Brown, the school's director. Like Salkinder, Brown believes in the healing power of the sexuality-spirituality connection; unlike Salkinder, Michaels, and Johnson, he doesn't apply the term tantra to Body Electric's practice.

    "One of the ideas we hold strongly is that people don't have to have a lot of esoteric knowledge to have big energy experiences in their bodies," says Brown. "We don't tell people it's 'tantra.' We use ritual to connect to the sacred, however one thinks of that connection."

    Some of the people in New York who do use the term tantra do so in questionable ways. "Certainly the concept of sacred prostitution is not antithetical to the tantric approach," says Michaels, careful to make the point that no one has the authority to sanction a legitimate use of the term. "But the problem in this society is that a lot of people say they're doing tantra as a way of marketing prostitution." In Manhattan, an establishment known as White Lotus East offers the services of three different "Goddesses," pictured nude in various poses on its website, for rose-petal baths and genital massage, described in well-lubricated detail with plenty of references to chakras, lingams, and yonis (the last two are terms for penis and vagina from the Kama Sutra).

    Tantra also translates as "tool for expansion." Those who choose, by whatever means, to bind together their searches for sensual delight, true love, and spiritual truth may fall prey to disappointment in all three areas. But, those who share in the practice agree, their circle of possibilities is certain to widen.


    PATRICIA JOHNSON AND MARK MICHAELS 914-962-7328, tantrapm2@aol.com, tantrapm.com "Introduction to Tantra for Couples" will be held January 6 from 7:30 to 9. "Tantra and Dating," an event for spiritually minded singles, will be held January 7 in New York City, sponsored by Metro Event Planners. For more information or to register, call 1.888.89.EVENT

    KATYA SALKINDER 212-431-5853, katyas@mindspring.com, sohohealing.com

    ONGOING TANTRA INTERACTIVE GROUP the third Wednesday of every month in Soho.

    BODY ELECTRIC bodyelectric.org

    TANTRA.COM a good introductory site

    SHIVASHAKTI.COM a comprehensive site with information on the basic tantra traditions

    TANTRA MAGAZINE tantramagazine.com