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How yoga makes sex better

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Is "om" the new "O?"

Yoga practitioners boast rocking bodies and great health benefits. All that stretching, strengthening and focusing can really pay off in the bedroom, too.

Woman doing yoga

Walk into any health club, and you'll likely see a number of yoga classes for both beginners and advanced practitioners. Yoga has taken off as an exercise of choice, and it's easy to see why. The practice can benefit any practitioner's body, mind and sex life.

Benefit #1: Flexibility and freakiness

Let's face it: Joint pain and inflexibility is bound to hinder your experience in the bedroom. According to WebMD, yoga is a fabulous exercise for both improving flexibility and reducing pain in the muscles and joints. In the very least, flexibility is great for your health. But if your body can move and contort with ease, you'll be more likely to enjoy wild and interesting poses during sex. We bet your partner will love it if you can feel at ease holding plow pose for the duration.

Benefit #2: Relaxation and desire

Tension and stress can kill the mood of even the friskiest men and women. Our bodies are flooded by the stress hormone cortisol when tense for long periods of time, and cortisol suppresses sex hormones. If you can find a way to reduce your stress, you'll reduce the stress hormones that put a limit on your libido. Yoga is a well-known stress reliever because it encourages deep breathing, stretching and focus on the present. Release your tension through yoga and watch how quickly your desire returns.

Benefit #3: Body confidence

On her blog MindBodyGreen, yoga instructor Ally Hamilton says that men and women are taught to hate their bodies, which is in conflict with the foundation of sexual enjoyment: "When you get into bed with your partner and you're hating your body, that's going to affect your ability to relax and to give yourself over to explore sensation. Yoga, practiced consistently, makes you comfortable in your own skin." If you're able to feel at home in your body and abandon your shame, you'll likely feel less inhibited and more courageous between the sheets.

Benefit #4: Physiological improvements

Although each of the preceding benefits is challenging to measure, a 2009 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that yoga makes women's physical responses to sex better. The study measured desire, arousal, orgasm and overall satisfaction before and after a yoga program. And guess what? A full 75 percent of the participants experienced improvements in arousal, lubrication and sexual pain, and felt that their sex lives were better following the program.

More from libido & sexuality

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The practice of orgasmic meditation for couples
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