These days it seems like everyone is doing yoga. A large yoga scene has developed in Bali in the last few years, attracting more and more foreigners and locals to practice this ancient art on the Island of the Gods. Practitioners rave about its physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. But might there be other benefits to it that are not so often discussed? Yoga’s aim is to re-establish union between the human body, mind and spirit. Could it be, however, that it also enhances the union between humans? In other words – can it improve your sex-life?
Read on… because it can.
A consistent Yoga practice will improve your physical well-being, fitness, and looks. But besides giving you that sexy “Yoga-butt”, it can do a lot more for your sex life than you might at first imagine.
And it’s scientifically proven. A recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that yoga improves women’s sex lives significantly. Moreover, the results were even more pronounced in women aged over 45. For the study, women aged between 22-55 participated in a 12-week yoga course. After the course, all of them reported an improvement in their sex lives, including improvement in desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and pain reduction.
On the masculine side, the results are just as positive. Among men aged 24-60, yoga improved desire, intercourse satisfaction, performance, confidence, partner synchronization, erection, ejaculatory control, and orgasm.
So, how does it work? Exactly how yoga affects your sex life is not always clear, but here are some clues.
It makes you fit, strong and flexible
On the physical side, you will gain greater fitness, muscle tone and endurance from a regular Yoga practice. More energy, strength and better health all contribute to a better and more fulfilling sex life. Feeling good in your body may translate into feeling sexier when you enjoy your body in bed with someone else. Being fit can also make you feel more attractive and confident in your relationships with the opposite sex.
Increased flexibility and longer muscles give you greater freedom of movement, which invites creative experimentation in the realm of bedroom acrobatics. You might even want to try out some of the more adventurous positions transmitted in the ancient Indian art of lovemaking, the Kama-Sutra.
The practice of engaging the sacred energy locks of mula bandha and uddhiyana bandha in Yoga simultaneously toning the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles and increases their strength. A strong pelvic floor means stronger orgasms for both sexes, as these are partly the muscles that contract during orgasm. A strong core will give both sexes strength and endurance in all areas of life, and for women, as an added bonus, it will maintain their sexual fitness even into an advanced age.
Strong pelvic muscles can also help men develop greater self-control and endurance, thus giving them more time to please their partners. This aspect is crucial in love-making, as women usually need a longer time than men to get aroused to the point of orgasm. Therefore, a patient and self-controlled lover can translate into more orgasms for the woman. “Yoga really affected my sex life,” says Sascha, a yoga practitioner from Canada. “I’ve gained greater body awareness, partner awareness, endurance, stamina, and control. The biggest change for me is my awareness and control in engaging the mula bandha (pelvic floor) area, as well as a greater sensitivity to the female energy.”
A study conducted by researchers at All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India, concluded that yoga can help combat premature ejaculation and promote sexual satisfaction, and this even to a greater extend than the usual drugs prescribed for these problems – 100 percent of the yoga group showed improvement in premature ejaculation and sexual satisfaction, compared to 82 percent of the drug group.
More presence, more sensations
The relaxation practices within yoga allow practitioners to access a relaxed state more easily. Deeper relaxation allows for greater blood flow to the sexual organs, increasing sensitivity and responsiveness to stimulation.
With time, Yoga will develop physical self-awareness and sensitivity. “Your whole physiology will be optimized, your nervous system re-conditioned and so you’d be able to feel more sensations in your body. But Yoga will also develop the ability to integrate these enhanced feelings within every aspect of your life”, claims Uma Inder, Ayurveda consultant and yoga teacher of more than 20 years. “Yoga brings you right back into your body.”
Coming back into your body translates into a more focused and present mind. A distracted mind is no use during lovemaking – if you want to make it worthwhile. As researchers from the University of British Columbia found out, yoga meditation and mindfulness can help treat women’s sexual problems. In their study, researchers found that mindfulness practice significantly enhanced women’s sexual arousal and response.
A relaxed mind is more open to enjoy and be present during those intimate moments with your partner.
Beyond the physical
Yoga’s effects, however, transcend the physical. Increased self-confidence and a better knowledge of oneself are natural by-products of Yoga. During the practice of yoga, you learn to stay with the sensations and emotions that come up in various postures instead of ‘running away’ instantly. Learning to stay where you are, in a scary headstand for example, develops self-knowledge and confidence. You learn that fear, for example, is just an emotion, and that you don’t necessarily need to give in to it. So you’ll gradually become more comfortable in vulnerable positions, whether it’s in that headstand during class or while communicating your wishes to your partner.
Your relationships will naturally improve as you become more aware and respectful of yourself and others. According to Uma, “on a basic level, Yoga develops physical freedom and emotional maturity. Conscious acceptance of your own self empowers your capacity to relate truthfully with others.” And who says better relationships, says, well, better sex.
Moreover, Yoga might, over time, help you to undo some of the cultural and social conditioning that demonizes sex, and specifically keeps women from enjoying it. According to Margot Anand, senior Tantra Yoga teacher and founder of Skydancing Tantra, “If we want to be good lovers, on the spiritual level, as well as on the physical level, we have to look at the beliefs we were raised with, and whether we agree with these beliefs. You should realize that a belief is just something that is given to you from the outside – it is not your truth, your experience.” Regarding sex, “the first belief to let go of is that sex is “taboo”. It is not, for it is sacred. The second belief is that women should not be allowed to have as much pleasure, or as many lovers, as men. The third belief is that the Goddess is a stone effigy that resides in temples, but at home, the woman is just a worker and a mother. This is not so. If you can see the divine in your partner and make love to that transcendence – as you pray, so you love – then you experience true bliss because you are beyond the ego.”
From the lower realms… to the highest
By integrating all levels of the human experience – the physical, mental, and spiritual – Yoga may not just improve your orgasms; it could potentially lead you to ‘enlightening’ orgasms, too.
“In the Kundalini Tantra system, the sexual center, the second chakra (swadisthana), can be experienced as the center in which the individual self is established and supported”, says Uma Inder. “Within this tradition, the sexual center may be used as the platform, the basis from where spiritual experience is generated and amplified.”
Kundalini and Tantra yoga will develop more awareness in the lower centers, and open these up. “This is the doorway, the beginning of the spiritual journey, in the basis of existence,” according to Uma Inder. “All spiritual experiences are generated from the lower chakras, and this has been scientifically proven.” The challenge is to develop these lower centers without getting stuck there, as “there is a higher purpose to sexual intercourse, that is, to conceive another human being or higher consciousness. The highest sexuality is the union of energy and consciousness in every aspect of our bodies and our lives.”
At a still more advanced level, yogis can develop the capacity of experiencing a full-fledged orgasmic experience in the body, without having to go through sexual intercourse. As Margot Anand states, “When you enter that bliss, you don’t even think about sex anymore, because it’s so much better than sex!”
…are you still reading, or are you on your yoga mat already?