Yoga and sex: What's the connection?
You may know the benefits of exercise for your health and the correlation that it has with an improved sex life, but how about yoga? Does yoga improve your sex life? Our experts weigh in!
According to Kelly Larson, an internationally acclaimed yoga and meditation teacher, speaker and scholar, yoga can definitely improve your sex life. Here's how:
One is the mindfulness factor. As you become calmer in your mind, you become more receptive to the sensations and the flood of endorphins that arise with sexual experiences. The stories, fears, to-do lists and other stressors fall away more easily and you become more present with your body and heart. The effects on your sex life as well as the rest of your life can be exceptional.
Another big factor is the way you develop bodily awareness with yoga. Not only do you feel more strong and flexible (translation: more confident), but also you learn to feel your body and all of its subtleties more accurately. In a great yoga practice, you spend a lot of time discovering how different parts of your body feel in different postures. This awareness has many positive implications in a sexual context.
The third major factor that yoga brings to the table is the strengthening of sexual muscles. As you learn to use traditional "bandhas" or locks, especially the abdominal lock and the "root" lock that engages the pelvic floor, not only does that cultivate more awareness in sensitive regions, but it actually strengthens muscles that can give both you and your partner more pleasure.
In addition to the bandhas or locks referenced above, the best postures I would recommend to improve your sex life would be those that target the deep abdominal regions and the base of the body (like the pelvic floor), paired with those that promote relaxation of your nervous system. Bow pose is a good one for the deep abdominals, or locust pose. Shoulderstand is great, but this one especially needs professional guidance at first. For people that carry a lot of tension in their pelvic region, things like forward bend, any reclining twist and butterfly or cobbler's pose are nice to begin relaxing. For everyone, deep breathing and long breath holds are good, as is "Breath of Fire." Any pose will have much deeper and faster benefits if practiced with slow deep breathing.
Althea Lawton-Thompson is a mind-body instructor who uses yoga and Pilates to assist women with gaining more enjoyment during sexual activity, as well as improving their ability to give more pleasure. I asked her for more information about particular sexual positions and how they relate to yoga. The response was nothing short of amazing. Read on!
Mula Bandha, also known as "root lock," is a pelvic floor contraction during exhalation in yoga to control the flow of energy while moving from one pose to the next. The concept is similar to internally stopping the flow of urine once it has started. By regularly training these muscles in yoga asana practice, it will be second nature to utilize them during intercourse — contracting the walls of the vagina around the erect shaft of a male will increase pleasure for both partners.
Yoga hip openers are great for increasing flexibility throughout the groin area for both men and women. This is particularly helpful for women when engaging in sexual intercourse in military style, as well as when straddling a partner from above. Specific asanas (poses) to increase flexibility in the adductors (inner thigh muscles) are:
- Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle) - Seated or supine
- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (One Leg Pigeon)
- Malasana (Goddess Squat, Frog, Seated Squat) - This one may be challenging for anyone with knee problems. Avoid this pose if so.
- Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby)
- Upavistha Konasana (Seated wide angle forward fold) - I recommend supporting the upper body with the hands between the thighs on the floor instead of on the ankles or feet for beginners to yoga or the less flexible.
Many times women are not comfortable in the doggy style position. This may be due to lower back tension, tight inner thighs or a combination of both. Discomfort may also be due to a lack of understanding of how the pelvis tilts in certain kneeling positions. The following poses can be replicated during sexual intercourse in this position because of the posterior tilt of the pelvis and the enhanced natural curve of the lower back/spine in these positions:
- Bitilasana (Cow Pose)
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
- A combination of Bitilasana (Cow) & Balasana (Child's Pose) - Hips are over the knees, tailbone is up and back is curved, but the forehead is resting on the floor and the arms are stretched forward by the ears and resting on the floor. This is a great alternative for doggy style intercourse instead of hands and knees for those with lower back issues.