I've spoken to her at some length about the Taoist and Tantric teachings that she draws from and have a good understanding of the energetic work that she does in line with these traditions but apart from the promise of some raw chocolate treats there wasn't much indication what would be taking place in the Skylight centre.
Walking past a packed Italian restaurant on the way I saw couples huddled together, celebrating a day that has become a byword for romance, but which always seems a little forced to me.
In Tantric terms, "Love" has a totally different connotation, being an energetic connection that becomes greater than the sum of its parts through certain practices and that fundamentally comes from within, rather than being dependent on one particular other.
Romantic wooing is part of Tantra though. It's the path of the body and senses after all so in this workshop we were taken into our bodies and away from the mind through a series of exercises.
First of all we were played several different pieces of music and in what was a meditation in movement simply allowed our bodies to react in the most intuitive way.
The raw chocolate came out, not just as a sweet treat but as a way of practising full presence. We smelt, tasted and became fully at one with the chocolate allowing the aroma, flavour and texture to be fully embraced by our senses. It was harder than it sounds to keep the concentration fully on the chocolate and the action of eating but it is this process of awareness that is crucial to Tantra - as Elena pointed out, if you can bring this presence into your sex life, then you are practicing Tantric sex.
It was a small group, and a wonderfully nurturing atmosphere as we bonded, sheltered from the howling wind and rain outside. I went with no real expectations but left feeling energised, contented and happy that I hadn't spent an evening eating an overpriced meal with a million others.
Check out Elena's website here for more information on upcoming workshops or individual therapies that she offers.