by Polly Campbell
Yoga tones your body, reduces stress, and ramps up physical energy, but did you know that yoga can also help fire up your sex life?
Sure can. Many poses increase circulation to the pelvic region, says Kate Hanley, a yoga teacher, author and founder of MsMindbody.com. That makes the whole region more “alive,” which can lead to a more satisfying time in the sack. Yoga also helps you relax and be more open, both physically and emotionally, says Amy Weintraub, founder of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute and author of Yoga for Depression.
“Yoga releases the emotional and physical constrictions we have around life’s challenges,” Weintraub says. “And it takes you to a place where you are more receptive to all things, which also helps you become more open and receptive to intimacy.”
So, which yoga poses can help heat things up in the bedroom? Here are five that Weintraub and Hanley say can fire up your sex life.
Sit with your heels against your buttocks. Chin facing out, hands interlaced and raised over your head and elbows near your ears, focus on lifting and lowering your pelvic floor. Repeat the mantra “Sat Nam.” When you chant “Sat,” pull your navel in and visualize energy entering your body. When you say “Nam,” imagine the energy releasing.
What it does: Balances and distributes the body’s energy. Increases vitality. Strengthens perineum and other core muscles. Generates heat. Jump-starts sexual energy.
2. Sphinx Pose
In this back-bending pose, you lie face-down with your legs, pelvis, belly and forearms against the mat. Your chest is elevated and you’re gazing straight ahead. Allow the weight of your pelvis to sink into the floor while repeating the mantra “Vam” — sounds like “vvvmmm” — with emphasis on the V, which creates a deeply felt vibration in the core of the pelvis region.
What it does: Stretches back muscles and strengthens core. Boosts libido and mood. Increases feelings of vitality.
3. Reclining Bound Angle Pose
Sit with knees bent and the soles of the feet touching. Use rolled-up blankets or towels under each thigh for support and lie back until your upper back and head are also resting on neatly folded towels or blankets. Hands can lie flat on the belly with the thumbs and index fingers touching to form a triangle, or you can let your arms lie on the floor alongside your torso, with palms facing up. Stay in this pose for two or three minutes, allowing your body to relax and sink into the floor.
What it does: Stretches inner thigh and groin muscles. Gently increases circulation in the pelvis, opens the hips and the heart. Promotes deep relaxation. Relieves stress. In this pose, people often shed layers of anxiety and tend to feel a natural openness and sense of intimacy, Weintraub says.
4. Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend
Sit on the floor, legs straight and opened into a wide angle. Toes are pointing up toward the ceiling. Keep your back straight and fingers or palms pressed on floor. Or, you can rotate your pelvis to fold forward at the hips, walking your fingers forward until your hands are on the floor in front of you as far as you can comfortably reach.
What it does: Improves flexibility and blood flow to the lower half of the body.
5. Downward-Facing Dog
Begin on your hands and knees. Work to straighten your legs by lifting your hips toward the ceiling. Keep your arms straight, hands flat on the mat. Your buttocks should be pointed toward the ceiling, legs straight, and heels reaching down toward the floor (they may not reach the floor, and that’s fine). Your body looks like an inverted V.
What it does: Boosts confidence and muscle tone. “It’s also kind of sexy in and of itself, as your butt is in the air and you’re feeling strong, long, and relaxed,” Hanley says. Downward-Facing Dog will also ease muscle tension in your back and improve overall flexibility, which can only enhance your sexual creativity.
Ignite your intimacy
For both beginners and experienced practitioners, any of these poses, with regular practice, will improve flexibility and heighten body awareness, which makes for a steamy, sensual time between the sheets. And, because yoga also helps you become more comfortable in your own skin, you’re likely to feel more relaxed and confident in a sexual relationship.
“When it comes to a yoga practice, do what’s comfortable and use these poses as a portal into a deeper experience of intimacy and relaxation,” Weintraub says.
Weintraub also suggests practicing yoga with your spouse or partner. That kind of shared physical experience is a great way to build intimacy and can be a sensual turn-on for some.
“If your feel-good hormones are raging after a yoga class and the first person you see is your beloved, you’re raising the intimacy level right there,” she explains.