The Vagina Dialogues, coming up at The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen St W) on March 8th, is an evening about connectivity, celebration, and important conversation in support of Sistering. We’re highlighting some of the panelists that will be speaking at this incredible event. 

Viktoria Kalenteris is a Self-Empowerment & Intimacy Coach whose own experiences with trauma and healing led to her diverse training in the fields of Tibetan tantra, sex therapy and various approaches to counselling. She empowers women to be mindfully aware and always within their boundaries of safety, consent and comfort levels, and to give respect, honour and trust to themselves and then to others.

SDTC: Can you talk about your healing journey? How did you eventually come upon tantra and sex therapy as a means of dealing with trauma?

VK: My healing journey entailed talk therapy where I found that it was lacking. Great to unload and check-in my luggage of limiting beliefs based on past negative experiences (sexual abuse, molestation and rape by masculine people whom I regarded as safe and trusting) from my adolescence. [But there were] many times I allowed and tolerated or disconnected myself during intimacy with people I sought comfort from because I did not have my voice or a mutual understanding from my intimate partners.

Fast forward to my early thirties. I decided to continue my healing journey through a variety of activities such as dance, creative art, belly dance, adventurous play, yoga and holistic chi kung massage targeting sexual reflexology points to de-armour my body in conjunction with tantra.

Now my philosophy clearly states, “I am mindfully aware and always within my boundaries of consent, safety and comfort levels with respect, honour and trust with myself first and then with others in my life.”

How can we build mindful awareness as a means of coping with our own traumas? Are there any resources in particular you recommend?

Mindful awareness as a coping mechanism is found in a variety of flavours and pathways. I recommend that you seek out the ones that resonate with you and speak to you. Try different styles to learn your style of mindful awareness.

For example, people who are kinesthetic (sensing and feeling) are more drawn to my style of practices as mentioned; people who are auditory (thinking and cycling information) are more drawn to mindful awareness practices that engage the mind; people who are visual (seeing and observing) are more drawn to visual aspects of mindful awareness. Keep in mind that you may be a combo of the above.

Know thyself first, and in doing so, you will feel confident and have fun with your mindful awareness practices.

Mindful awareness practices range from doing the dishes, having a tea ceremony, connecting to your breath and body, to meditating with soundscapes/music or no sound, to focusing your eyes on something to moving your body with yoga or walking, dance or a sport that appeals to you. The key in all of the above is to engage without judgement or attachment, and with a relaxed focus of curiosity, wonder, love and compassion.

What are the most pressing issues that are affecting the clients you see? How do you help empower them?

The most pressing issues that affect my clients are their limiting beliefs around themselves. Limiting beliefs around self-acceptance, self-confidence, body disconnection, body image concerns, safety and what that sounds like, looks like and feels like, and loveless connection to themselves and/or partners.

I help my clients by empowering them with guided practices, counselling and supportive coaching. I walk with them to those dark places and give them support towards a remembering of their true essence on their terms. A limitless reservoir of love, light, pleasure, happiness and joy!

Why did you want to be a part of The Vagina Dialogues?

As a feminine formed being and a survivor of physical, emotional, psychological and energetic abuse, I can say with clarity that no one was there for me when I went to those dark places. It is my duty to help those that have similar experiences and to cultivate pro-active awareness.

Get your ticket to The Vagina Dialogues here