Off the Mat and Into the Bedroom – 5 Ways Yoga Helps Your Sex Life
Whether you’re a dedicated yogini or a yoga virgin, practicing this ancient mind-body-spirit discipline can benefit anyone in countless ways. Translated as “union” in Sanskrit, yoga is a means to connect with the Divine through the vessel of the body and stillness of the mind.
Although in the West the focus of yoga doesn’t tend to be as mystical, this time-honoured technique nonetheless bestows many gifts to its practitioners, and these gifts can find their way into your bedroom. If you haven’t already been seduced by this sacred practice, here are five ways yoga can profoundly deepen, strengthen and enhance your sex life:
1. The Power of Intention: A simple but greatly effective way to heighten your pleasure plateau in the bedroom is to set an intention before your lovemaking begins. Often in yoga classes, instructors suggest setting an intention when you begin, which keeps you anchored and helps you feel gratitude at the end of your practice. Similarly, having a clear intention of how you are going to approach your lovemaking can do wonders for enriching your experience.
As a San Francisco-based yoga, tantra, and sacred-sexuality teacher and sensuality and intimacy coach who has helped hundreds of clients across North America heal and enhance their sex lives, Dee Dussault shares some expert insight: “Intention is an inner-idea, much like a promise to oneself. You can have the intention to be present with your partner, or the intention to bring your awareness back to your breath while you’re on the yoga mat. You can set an intention to make tonight special, and let go of concerns and stress. You can set an intention to shower your lover with affection and care, without expecting a return.”
Yoga tips: Before you begin making love, bring your palms together in front of your chest, and say your intention silently or out loud. Do this together with your partner to make your connection sweeter and more sacred.
2. The Gift of Presence: A key tenet of yoga that sets it apart from other forms of “exercise” is the constant mind-body connection made through breath awareness. No matter how relaxing or challenging a pose, conscious breathing is the means by which you still that “voice in the head” that keeps you from being fully present in the moment. The ability to become totally immersed in what’s happening right now can greatly deepen the experience you have with your partner and help you awaken to new levels of joy and passion.
Dee suggests becoming present with your lover by noticing how they look and act: “What details can you notice about them? Can you be present with the feelings inside your body? While you kiss your partner, what does that feel like? Slow down and notice.”
Yoga tips: According to Dee, different yogic breathing techniques can be used to enhance the quality of your lovemaking. “If you feel plateau or boredom, or on the brink of orgasm but can’t get over the hump, try a few quick inhales to send more energy to your body.” If, like most people, you have the opposite problem (stressed breathing that’s quick and shallow), Dee recommends consciously breathing in slowly and deeply, which will calm your nervous system and make presence and connection much easier.
3. A Union of Mind-Body-Spirit: In yoga, the body is treated as a temple that houses the Divine. Through asanas (yoga postures) and mindful breathing, yoga helps open and elevate both the physical and etheric bodies. Dee clarifies that “it doesn’t matter the size, appearance, ability or experience that your body has had – yoga welcomes you to love and respect your body for being the vehicle for your inner divine spirit.” This sense of reverence helps you enjoy and share your body in ways that feel right, good and authentic to you, as well as respect your partner’s body. “When you make love, you can honour your own and your partner’s bodies as sacred vessels, kissing and massaging and adoring each other and the spirit that is within your both,” suggests Dee.
Since yoga also heals your chakras (energy centers), it can help you overcome past pain, trauma and blocks related to emotional and sexual intimacy. As you heal and harmonize your physical and energetic bodies, you position yourself to experience a connection with your partner that extends beyond the physical and into the sacred.
Yoga tips: To release old hurts and open your heart, try simple back bends that expand the chest with poses like camel, sphinx and upward dog. Balance your sacral/sex chakra with hip and groin opening postures such as pigeon, bound angle and open angle poses. To feel totally connected with your lover, Dee suggests trying the classic Yab Yum pose, where you “sit on top of your lover and gaze into each other’s eyes, breathing together for a few moments. Hug and press your hearts together to align through this chakra, or do gentle pelvic rocking in sync with your breathing to cultivate heat in your genitals while synchronizing your energies.”
4. Strength, Flexibility and Sexiness: Perhaps one of the main reasons yoga has become so popular in the West is that in addition to a calm mind, you end up with a strong, flexible and sexy physique. Lily Eslahjou, a Toronto- based yoga instructor with over 10 years’ experience teaching students from all walks of life, says that “on a physical level, yoga tones and strengthens you inside and out, gives you greater flexibility and endurance, and boosts your self-confidence – a perfect recipe for a happy sex life!”
Yoga tips: Lily advises that the easiest way to look and feel toned, strong, flexible and sexy with yoga is doing sun salutations while engaging and lifting the pelvic floor, moving through 15 to 20 reps per day – about 30 min. Other helpful poses she suggests are cat/cow, camel and plow, which can be done after the sun salutations once the body is warmed up.
5. Luscious Libido: With a succulent array of postures designed specifically to stretch, strengthen and energize the pelvic area, yoga can take your libido from ho-hum to “oh” and “aaahm”. Lily adds, “We have all heard of Kegel being an important exercise after labour to tone the muscles that form the pelvic floor. In yoga, theses muscles are contracted throughout the entire practice.” This results in greater blood, attention and energy flowing to your sexual organs, giving you increased libido and more powerful orgasms.
Yoga tips: Dee suggests that before sex, lie on the floor with knees bent, feet flat on the floor and start to gently rock your pelvis front and back with your breath to guide your movements. If your mind wanders, come back to the rocking and the breath. Allow yourself to feel sensations in your body or enjoy some juicy fantasizing. After ten minutes, you may find yourself in an altered state of consciousness, with a sense of being aroused but relaxed, and very happy. Dee explains that this simple and sweet exercise is called “ocean breathing”, which puts you in touch with your sexual nature and helps you get out of your head and into your sensational, sensual self.
While there are many wonderful reasons to start and maintain a regular yoga practice, you now have five sexy incentives to take yoga home tonight. So roll out that mat and get started!
Article originally posted in The Lioness Women’s Club on May 9, 2013