Yoga in all its forms has been a trusted practice for centuries when it comes to strengthening the body, mind, and spirit. But have you ever considered yoga's many benefits can translate into the bedroom? Not only can yoga help you improve your physical form, but it can also help you get in touch with your sexuality. Here’s how the two work together, plus seven poses that can improve your sex life.
The relationship between yoga and sex.
In case you didn't know, yogic sexuality is a thing. By learning how to tap into your body and nervous system through yogic practices, we have the capacity for powerful, intentional, and connected sex. Yoga allows us to relax and open up our bodies and hearts, and it can potentially help unlock trauma stored in the body that inhibits our sex lives. It also can help you feel strong, sexy, and confident, to name a few.
These traditions can be traced through all different lineages, including Taoist teachings, Kundalini teachings, tantra, and more. Each is a little different, but they're all related to using breath, movement, and energy. The body-mind connection is emphasized in yogic sexuality. When you can gain some control over your physical body, whether that's working with poses or your breath, your mind is open to greater expansion. And when your mind is clear and intentional, it allows for a more powerful experience.
We also know yoga has been found to reduce stress levels, which can have a huge impact on sexual desire and functioning. It can also get your blood flowing throughout your body, which can support sexual arousal, and boost serotonin.
One small study even found a link between practicing yoga and better sexual functioning in women, particular those over 45 years old. They asked 40 women about their sex lives before and after a 12-week yoga program, and 75% of them showed improvement in levels of desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and sexual satisfaction, plus a reduction of sexual pain. Another similar study found similar yoga seemed to improve men's sexual functioning as well, including desire, erection quality, ejaculatory control, orgasm, confidence, and feelings of being in sync with their partners.
Here are a few yoga poses specifically geared toward opening your body and mind to help you get in the mood.
1. Forward Fold
A forward fold will definitely get your blood flowing. While you're doing it, try to calm your mind and let go of all the day's stresses. The increased oxygen and blood flow will give you a youthful and energized glow so that you can confidently take on a bedroom session.
How to: Stand in mountain pose with both feet planted firmly on the ground, hands on your hips. Exhale and slowly fold forward from your hip joints, lengthening the front of your torso. Bend your elbows and hold onto each elbow with your opposite hand. Lightly sway from side-to-side if it feels good. Hold for 1 minute.
2. Low Lunge
This pose will help you to activate your sacral chakra—the energy center that guides sex and intimate love. It will also open and deeply stretch the front thighs and pelvis.
How to: Starting in downward-facing dog, step your right foot between your hands with your knee aligned over your ankle at a 90-degree angle. Rest your back knee down onto the mat. Your hips should be square; make sure to tuck your tailbone. Inhale, lengthen your torso, and sweep your arms up to the sky or rest them on the front thigh.
3. Low Lunge With Twist
Adding a twist to this pose will lengthen and strengthen the muscles along the spine. It will also help you to remove energy blockages, which in turn will leave you feeling revitalized and ready for a steamy session between the sheets.
How to: Starting in low lunge, place your hands in prayer position at heart center and gently twist your torso open toward the right leg. Hook your left elbow over your right knee and use it as a lever to open your torso. Hold here for 5 breaths. Repeat on both sides.
4. Reclined Big Toe Stretch
Not only can this stretch improve your flexibility over time, but it also can release tension, stress, and emotional baggage. This will allow you to walk into the bedroom with fresh energy.
How to: Start by lying on your back. Lift your right leg up to the ceiling and grasp onto your big toe. If you can't reach your toes, it's totally fine to use a strap. Flex the foot of your extended leg on the floor. Press your thigh down and make sure not to let the hips lift. On your elevated leg, press up through your heel and draw your toes back.
Pigeon pose provides a deep stretch for your hips by opening your lower body. We hold a lot of tension and emotion in our hips, so this can help release that.
How to: Starting in downward-facing dog, bring your right knee forward to the ground and place it in line with your right hand. Your shin should be parallel to the front of your mat. Extend your left leg back, and rest your knee and top on the foot on the ground. Square your hips and fold forward, resting your forehead on your hands. If your hip doesn't touch the floor, you can prop yourself up using a block. Hold the pose for 2 to 5 minutes on each side.
6. Downward-Facing Dog
Downward-facing dog is a total-body energizing pose that will start to increase your flexibility, open your hips, and get the blood flowing to your pelvic region.
How to: From a forward fold, place your hands on the ground shoulder-distance apart. Walk your feet back so that your body is in the shape of a "V." Activate your arms and draw your site bones up and back. Press your heels firmly toward the ground. Relax your head and neck while gazing back toward your feet.
7. Upward-Facing Dog
Upward-facing dog is a beautiful heart opener that will lift your energy and your self-confidence. It also opens up the energy of the heart chakra—the energy center that rules love and happiness.
How to: Stand in mountain pose with both feet planted firmly on the ground, hands on your hips. Exhale and slowly fold forward from your hip joints, lengthening the front of your torso. Bend your elbows and hold on to each elbow with your opposite hand. Lightly sway from side to side if it feels good. Hold for 1 minute.
*This story was originally published on mindbodygreen.com by Claire Grieve and can be found here.