The tight clothing, the compromising postures with your legs in the air and the cute instructor with the strong biceps walking around the class making sure you’re doing it right — being asked to get into downward dog has never sounded so naughty.
Other than being a great way to exercise and socialise at the same time, yoga keeps us grounded, helps increase body awareness and, who’s kidding, it’s a great way to become stretchy and flexible. But can yoga improve our love life, increase our sex drive and promote healthy and loving relationships in and out of the bedroom?
Absolutely, says Brisbane yoga instructor and naturopath, Phoebe Bennett. “Yoga practice of any kind tends to have the bonus side effect of increasing sex drive — through improving blood flow, stamina, energy levels and prana flow,” Phoebe says.
And of course, being able to wrap your legs around your neck must count for something in the bedroom too, right? But Phoebe says increasing sex drive and promoting healthy relationships comes down to self-acceptance, yoga poses, meditation and nutrition. Here are Phoebe’s tips.
Love for another always begins with true love for oneself. For some of us this is a difficult concept but simply the fact that you are committing time and energy to your own self is a path to self-acceptance and love. Every day, treat yourself as you deserve — eat healthy foods, take a leisurely bath and massage your body with scented oils, breathe deeply and open yourself to possibility.
Any yoga practice is going to begin to improve the connection to your own body, through the breath and awareness, and in turn builds a healthy sense of self-love and acceptance. This acceptance is the very foundation of a healthy relationship. Poses that help promote opening the heart include Supta Baddha Konasana, Matsyasana, supported backbend and Chakrasana. Great partner poses include seated twist with backs touching and assisted forward seated bends.
On a more subtle level, meditation techniques can be used to expand the heart. Focusing your meditation on the sacral chakra can begin to stimulate the energies in this area, which is the centre for sex, creativity and reproduction.
Nutritionally speaking, anything that improves cardiac function, nerve function and circulation can help increase libido. Sex drive is a natural function of the body as well as the emotional self, so a healthy body is more likely to have a healthy sex drive. Ensure you get plenty of antioxidants — colourful fruits and vegetables as well as good fats — such as those derived from olives, coconut, avocado or oily fish — and watch your intake of trans fats to keep your heart and circulation healthy. Also try to reduce caffeine and sugar intake as these deplete energy and can exhaust your adrenal glands and nervous system.
Sex is not only a physical act, it’s also an expression of love, love for your partner and love for the people around you but, most of all, that love starts with the self.
Image courtesy of Claire Johnston