April 4, 2014

Kama Flight Massage. ~ Jessica Burdon


Like most, I was tantalized by Christian Grey’s Red Room of Pain; its exploration of domination and submission.

Then I stumbled upon a real-life Shades of Grey experience.

It was supposed to be just a dinner party at the Upper East Side apartment of Roland Peralta, a tanned, well-dressed man in his 40s.

The guests were eclectic, the snapper succulent, and several bottles of French wine in, the topic of Roland’s Karma Flight Massage came up. It was a scramble of practices as well as yoga, he said; the physical parity of contact improvisation, a form of modern dance, the deep tissue release of Thai massage, the exhilaration of aerial yoga and the relaxation of Watsu (a combination of hydrotherapy and shiatsu). Lastly, like the Kama Sutra, its essence was intimacy and sensuality.

Roland was convinced that his Karma Flight Massage could connect men with their divine masculine by teaching them to provide a safe and sacred place for women to surrender and connect to their divine feminine. Sometimes, he said, it unlocked obscure trauma carried in the body or unconscious fears around sexuality.

Roland set up a massage table next to the dining table for a late night demonstration and decided I was to be the “voyager.”

“Lost in a Moment” vocals sung out over the Matthew Dekay & Lee Burridge track as I sat dutifully on the edge of the massage table, eyes closed, in borrowed yoga clothes.

Roland linked his arms in mine and put his feet under my back, lifting my body smoothly into the air. I was briefly suspended as a plank, then his knees were on my back and his feet splayed my legs wide.

I worried about the guests looking on, but within moments Roland had maneuvered me back onto the table and pulled my upper body into a cobra-like stretch deeper than any yoga instructor could, directing me to breathe through my sacrum, and out.

I would be in agony the next day, I thought, as Roland kept on with a constant flow of pivoting, stretching and maneuvering my limbs in all directions.

When he opened my hips, I felt a release deep inside, and a tingle of excitement; the somatic strain was further disabling my inhibitions.

“Would you let your girlfriend do that?” I heard one of the men asking another guest.

Roland was improvising. I couldn’t anticipate where he would take my body next, which boundaries he would push. But I trusted him not to go too far or lose his grip. It was like being part of an asymmetrical tango, where the woman wasn’t just led, she was carried by the strongest of partners.

Soon the voices of the guests had faded and all I heard was a gentle house beat and Roland reminding me to breathe.

I was surrendering, my limbs as flaccid as those of an infant being bathed or changed.

At one point my body was lifted up in a paternal game of airplanes, then rocked to sleep. When Roland pulled my hair to support my head, I felt as safe as a kitten being carried by its scruff.

Hanging backwards and limp off one side of the table, I felt a strong spinal decompression. Then suspended sideways, I lost track of which way was up. I let Roland glide my body across the table as if I was floating in a pool, or perhaps a womb. I was slipping into a meditative state when I suddenly panicked and pulled away. Had Roland found buried fear?

He dared me to dig deeper, regress further. He took me to his custom built bed, with its reinforced frame, curtains and straps for longer movements.

After, I was in a daze of gratitude for Roland’s patience and strength.

An animated discussion had ensued among the male guests. One wanted to learn to administer the Karma Flight Massage, and Roland promised him a formal lesson with a female practitioner.

Another thought the practice was ‘new age,’ but Roland held his ground, “You get to be Charles Atlas, to make a woman feel protected.”

It was an attitude Roland said he had inherited from his father, who emigrated from Columbia to New York. “He impressed upon me the importance of cherishing women,” Roland explained. “If a woman says she is cold, don’t wait for her to tell you to close a window. You proactively look how you can serve her so she knows she’s safe.”

When Roland said he also teaches couples the Karma Flight Massage, I realized it was the ultimate activity date.

It is, after all, written in the Kama Sutra text of 1883 that, “those things which increase passion should be done first, and those which are only for amusement or variety should be done afterwards.”

“I’m convinced it can become mainstream,” Roland mused, and I’m sure E. L. James would agree.

Miraculously, I felt no pain in the days that followed. But I did feel more sensual sauntering the streets of Manhattan. High on oxytocin, I contemplated trusting and submitting to the men in my life, and the endless possibilities of Roland’s practice in the context of love.


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Apprentice Editor: Lauren Savory / Editor: Travis May

Photo: Courtesy of the author

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Jessica Burdon