Yoga is a great way to tone your abs and increase agility. It’s also an ancient spiritual practice, similar to Buddhism, that has been developed and nurtured for over 5,000 years. Roughly translating as “union”, yoga encourages the merging of breath, mind and body. It revolves around the conscious decision of a person to “stay in the moment”. No doubt there are endless benefits of doing so, especially in the age of social media and mobile phones, but today we are concentrating on what yogic practises can do for your sex life.
Breathe into it
Our team at Sh! love LOVE talking about orgasms. It’s a conversation that is seemingly endless – with so many versions, experiences and preferences to explore. But, what unifies these all together into the actual experience of an orgasm is someone’s ability to fully let themself go. Without being able to do so, an orgasm just isn’t going to happen, love. Multiple factors can contribute to this – the room you’re in, the scent of it, if anyone else is in, if you’re stressed, if you’re tired, if you’re too hot, if you’re too cold…the list goes on.
You need to be able to find a way to unify your mind and body to stay in the present…sound familiar yet? One of the best ways to clear your mind and bring your focus inward is to start with your breath. Pranayama (or essentially breathing exercises) is a big thing in yoga and proves that the majority of people actually breathe inefficiently in their day-to-day lives (though this is a whole other kettle of fish).
To see the difference yourself, close and soften your eyes when laid down or in a comfortable seated position. Ensure your spine is elongated – so if you’re laid down lift your head bringing your chin towards your neck and lower the back of your head back to the floor. If sat, lift up from your sit bones and work those lovely back muscles, shoulders back and chin parallel to the floor. By doing this, you create a clear path for the breath to travel through your body. Now, keeping those eyes gently shut, begin to take note of your breath. Is it shallow? Short? Long? Through your nose or mouth?
When you’re ready, start to deepen your breath on a long inhale through your nose. On your exhale, open your mouth and let out a big sigh (this feels amazing, trust). Do this as many times as you would like before closing your mouth and breathing solely through your nose.
On your inhale, imagine your breath starting from your pelvic floor and filling up your stomach until it reaches your lower ribs, up to your chest, up to your neck- until you exhale and watch it leave your body from your neck, chest, ribs until it empties out your stomach. Ensure your inhales are as long as your exhales by counting or watching the breath move through the body. As you continue this, there are various methods you can take to focus this breath or energy you feel yourself building toward your orgasmic potentials.
One instance, is to start to bring your attention to your southerly hot spot. Feel the breath originate from there and build a heat. Imagine this heat (you could also envisage a light) rising up through your body as you inhale and releasing on your exhale. Continue to do this whilst focusing on various parts of your vulva/vagina/penis/whatever and you should feel your hand slowly wandering down…which brings us on to our next point.
A common belief is that yoga has eight different limbs. Three of these focuses around the act of meditation. It works by shutting off your senses to bring your concentration inside. Yoga and Aryuvedic medicine believe that your body is overflowing with chakras (aka energy centres). There are seven main ones within your body, which happen to be inline with your central nervous system. Your sacral chakra (Svadhistana) is located at your lower abdomen, is assigned the colour orange and governs your sexuality, creativity and self-esteem.
An unbalanced, blocked or “off” sacral chakra is traditionally believed to manifest as issues with sexual performance such as erectile dysfunction or bladder infections like UTI’s. There are many ways to unblock chakras such as crystal healing, conscious breathing or reiki. One (free) way to do so is via regular meditative practice – similar to the breathing exercise we have outlined above. Decide what time of the day is most convenient for you to practice meditation and do it everyday in the same spot. Just like an orgasm, the context of which you do this is so important. It needs to be regulated to train your mind to shut out all of the distractions. In yoga or aryuvedic practises, they call the interior versions of these your “monkey mind” – i.e. the voice in your head deciding what to have for dinner, whether you are going to walk or get the bus later or if you need to call your mum etc. By regularly practising meditation you learn to ignore this voice, to let these busy thoughts simply pass you by, which is super helpful for when you want to get down and dirty.
You can also stimulate and balance these energy points through various physical exercises, known in yoga as asana.
Lock and load
To achieve the correct posture in asana there are certain “locks” you imagine engaging on your body. We are focusing on the foundation of these, which just so happens to strengthen your pelvic floor. The root lock (mula bandha) involves a kind of “tighten and lift” motion that starts at your genitals and perineum and lifts up to reach your stomach. In other words, re-enact the sensation of holding a wee in. It’s a movement you can do at literally anytime, anywhere. You can do it in a meeting with your boss, at tea with your granny or sat on the bus. No one will know. Plus, a strong pelvic floor is key to unlocking the secret of a great orgasm. It grants you, better control of your earth-shattering orgasms, a stronger sensation and takes care of any pesky leakage. Cue you inner sexual goddess on the prowl.
To take this a step further, one posture in asana designed to specifically target your pelvic floor is known as bridge pose.
Start lying down on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor a hips-width apart and arms by your sides with palms on the floor (or pressing them together with fingers interlaced). Inhale and lift your pelvis into the air. Imagine there is a rope tied around it and someone is pulling it up in the air like a puppet. Imagine your calves are pulling back towards you whilst your thighs are pushing them further away. Meanwhile, try to hold the bend of your knees directly above your ankles (rather than leaning into each other, which believe me, they will try to). Hold for 5 long breaths and on your last exhale, lower your pelvis back down to the floor.
Bridge pose is also known as an inversion, meaning you’re raising your heart higher than your head. This reverses blood flow and aids circulation throughout your body whilst calming your nervous system. This particular posture is also a back bend, aka a heart opener. Through contracting your back muscles and opening your chest, you work to unblock you heart chakra theoretically opening you up to more receptivity of love and intimacy. Inversions and heart openers are paramount to a balanced practice, i.e. one that stimulates all the chakras in your body and forges a stronger connection between mind and body.
If you are new to yoga or you are experiencing some type of injury, go to your local beginner’s yoga class or speak to a certified teacher before attempting these postures to avoid injury.
Another type of asana posture directly linked to your sacral chakra are hip openers. It is believed that you store a lot of emotion and tenseness in your hips –so after the stimulation of this region of your body, you can be left feeling over-emotional. This is again why your practice must be balanced with the more positive-feeling heart openers and twists (though we will get to these).
Prasarita padattonasana is a great hip opener to practice. Stand on your mat in a wide stance with feet facing inwards (so they are parallel to the edges of your mat). Allow a slight bend in your knees or pull them up and straighten your legs. Place your hands on your hips, turn on your mula bandha and elongate the spine from the crown of your head. Inhale and straighten up, then exhale and bend forward from your hips (it’s a nice idea to place your thumbs at your hip crease to feel yourself hinge forward from here). Ensure your chest stays open as you bend forward by leading with your heart rather than your chin. Stay here for 5 long breaths and on your next inhale, return to a standing position.
This posture works like an inversion regarding the encouragement of bloodflow whilst stimulating your sacral chakra and your root chakra (found at your genitals – encourages the grounding/soothing of your mind). I.e. not only are you increasing your strength and flexibility for when you get jiggy, but you’re also prepping your mind to free itself of any outside worries to totally let go.
If you have any lower back issues or pain please do not bend forward in this position.
Twists are brilliant for strengthening your lower abdomen (oh hello sacral chakra). For a more relaxing, passive version, sit in a comfortable cross-legged position. You can put cushions under your knees for extra support if you like or sit on one to elevate your hips at an equal height to your knees. As always, tighten your root lock/mula bandha and inhale to lengthen your spine and open up your breathing passages from the crown of your head. Upon your exhale, place the left hand on your right knee and circle your right arm out towards to right placing it on the floor. As you do this open your chest out to the right, twisting your spine and leading with your chest. This twist happens only from the lower ribs and upwards. I.e., your hips and everything below your lower ribs stay put. You are a Russian doll.
Keep your head in line with your top torso rather than reaching your eyes further around (this will cause your head to turn further and strain your neck). Close your eyes softly if you wish and stay for 5 long breaths. To exit the pose, inhale and twist back to the center. Then to decompress your spine (extremely important after more active twists), turn to your left and gently fold forward for a couple of breaths before returning to center. Repeat on the other side.
Some of the major benefits of twists are that they detoxify your system upon the release of your twist (when a rush of fresh blood floods your digestive organs after being cut off during the twist). They keep your spine mobile and calm the mind, which when practiced regularly with the poses we’ve previously mentioned, will have you in the best mental and physical position to start getting things saucy.
Please do not practice a twist like this if you have any slipped discs or lower back problems. Instead, speak to your local certified yoga to find an alternative.