I was recently asked to teach a sex-themed yoga class during an educational “sex week” at the university I graduated from. I instantly started coming with ideas for how I could relate yoga to sex, but sadly I was not available to actually teach the class. However, it inspired me to compile a list of ways that yoga can improve your sex life. Enjoy!
Not all styles of yoga include components that challenge your cardiorespiratory system, but if you practice a style that incorporates flowing sequences (e.g. vinyasa, power, etc.), these benefits may apply to you.
♥ Sun Salutations (and many other flowing sequences) are cardiorespiratory, or endurance, exercise. You may have heard that cardiorespiratory exercise improves risk of heart disease by decreasing build-up of cholesterol in the blood vessels. This makes partial or full blockages less likely. Did you know cardiorespiratory exercise also decreases risk of impotence? Without proper diet and exercise, cholesterol doesn’t only build up in the blood vessels that supply the heart, it also builds up in the blood vessels that supply the penis. Since an erection occurs when the penis becomes engorged with blood, unobstructed blood flow to the penis is vital to, ahem, solid performance. Cardiorespiratory exercise, such as sun salutations, may help decrease cholesterol build-up in these blood vessels, making it easier to “get it up.”
♥ Stamina can be an asset in bed—nobody wants to be too exhausted to continue. The more cardiorespiratory exercise you do, the better your endurance will become. One of the reasons endurance improves is because your heart becomes stronger and more efficient at pumping oxygen around the body. No matter what kind of cardiorespiratory training you do, it will increase your endurance in other aerobic activities, such as sex. Another reason endurance improves is because more blood vessels grow to the muscles to increase the delivery rate of oxygen. The muscle also adapts to be able to use more oxygen towards producing energy. These adaptations don’t happen for all the muscles in the body, only the ones you use during your cardiorespiratory exercise. This means that runners have the best endurance when running, cyclists when cycling, and yogis when doing yoga. The movements in sun salutations are more similar to movements you’d use in the bedroom than, say, running or cycling (think about upward facing dog to downward facing dog; just sayin’). This means that doing Sun Salutations may be a more targeted way of improving your stamina in bed. Of course, the best way to increase sex endurance is to have lots of sex.
Body Awareness Benefits
♥ You’ve probably heard that size isn’t that important, it’s how you use it that matters. Well, in order to make the most of your assets, it is important to have precise control of your pelvis. This doesn’t only apply to the men; ladies, the angle of your pelvis has a huge bearing on which of your hot spots are hit and missed. As a yoga teacher, I know that many people who first come into a yoga class have a hard time with pelvis alignment. Even if you understand what it means to “tilt your sit bones back/up” or “tuck your tail bone under,” it can be hard for the brain to actually track down the combination of muscle contractions that achieves these movements. But, after doing enough cat-cow, you master these motions. In a diverse yoga practice, you learn to align your hips into a variety of positions, in all sorts of different body orientations. This improvement in body control undoubtedly carries over into your sex life, allowing for more directed, controlled gyrations in whichever position you choose to explore.
Strength, Flexibility, and Balance Benefits
♥ Most yoga classes improve core strength. Your core is composed of your abdominal muscles, your low back muscles, and your pelvic floor. Under normal conditions, you keep constant contraction in these muscles to stabilize the rib cage and pelvis and maintain that good posture I know you all have. During sex you contract and relax these muscles to move your hips. If your core is weak, you will tire out quickly. The pelvic floor muscles are not only related to balance and posture, they are intimately linked to the quality of an orgasm, control of ejaculation, and compression of the vagina (which makes it seem tighter). If you’re not sure how to contract your pelvic floor muscles, cough, and they’ll contract automatically (now just think *cough* *hold*). Any balancing postures work the core, since these muscles are responsible for stabilizing the torso. Postures like warrior 3 challenge the low back muscles, and postures like boat challenge the abdominal muscles. Planks and side planks will also challenge the core. Many styles of yoga have also adopted a number of targeted core exercises that really make you “feel the burn.” Make sure you contract the pelvic floor whenever you’re doing core work. This is the finishing touch many people forget.
♥ If your parter suggests sex in the shower, is your response, “Uhm, aren’t you afraid we’ll fall or something?” or “Put one foot on the side of the tub, and give me your other leg.” I’m not saying that shower sex is for everyone, but having strength, flexibility, and balance gives you the option to find out if it’s for you without getting injured. And, it gives you the option to try out any other positions or variations you’re interested in. There are so many possibilities that it would be impossible to assign you a specific “yoga for sex” sequence of poses, but a balanced yoga practice will make you more likely to be prepared for whatever piques your curiosity. Anyone want to borrow my copy of the Kama Sutra?
♥ Insecurities can get in the way of sexual expression. Physical activity programs have been shown to improve self-esteem and promote a positive body image. Maybe it’s because exercise makes you look healthier and more fit, maybe it’s because exercise causes feel-good hormones to be released in your brain. Either way, the better you feel about yourself, the more comfortable you will be to explore!
♥ Unlike many other programs that incorporate physical activity, yoga has a central focus on mindfulness—on being focused on the present moment, here and now. Many of us have busy lifestyles, and we’re used to constantly trying to plan three steps ahead and repeatedly analyzing decisions we’ve already made. Go-go-go mode is important for our daily achievements! But it sure makes it hard to get in the mood. In practicing yoga and meditation, we to learn how to turn all that off, even if just for a little while, and tap into the present moment. Bringing mindfulness into the bedroom improves intimacy in a way that you can only achieved when you have one another’s complete, undivided attention. If you’re interested in fostering a mindful connection with your mate, look for partner yoga classes in your area.
No wonder “I’m a yoga teacher” is such a great pick-up line!