Proprioception. Sounds sexy, right? It’s actually one of the sexiest things going and you can get it on the yoga mat. The age-old meditative practice gives you greater awareness and appreciation of how you move your body, as well as the space it takes up—and this does wonders for your sex life (solo or otherwise).
More than that, the physical practice of yoga lands you in your body where you can better assess what’s going on with your mental and emotional wellbeing—you could even say that yoga returns you to yourself. And this, says Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist Carolyn Cowan, is where intimacy begins.
Sex With the Self
“Intimacy comes with the ability to regulate your emotions, meaning you become less dependent on another person to make you feel good,” she says. “The way we approach relationships has evolved over the last 20 years. The likes of romantic comedies have given us the idea that another person completes us, and our partners are responsible for our emotional wellbeing.”
This puts unnecessary pressure on any relationship and detracts from the sexual experience. Yoga, however, helps you to cultivate responsibility for your own happiness, making you all the more attractive to potential partners.
“The postures give you back to yourself, which means you’re no longer defined by anyone else. Women, especially, have been groomed to believe this. But yoga can help us reset our nervous system, and wake up to the social contracts we hold in our bodies. Once liberated, we can find out who we are without being defined by another.”
It’s All in the Backbone
Carolyn is also a Kundalini Yoga teacher and recommends boat pose. “This activates the dorsal muscles, which run the length of the spine. It’s these muscles that allow you to hold yourself better. It’s also a great pose for the prostate, and boosts blood flow to the genitals.”
- Begin by lying on your stomach.
- Stretch your arms out with your palms together.
- Lift the arms up, draw the thighs together then lift the legs too.
- Keep your naval grounded.
- Imagine someone pulling your hands and toes to make your body longer.
- Inhale and exhale deeply for five breaths before releasing.
Sex for Two
Yoga instructor and sound healer Gemma Hunter believes it’s all about union. “Yoga brings together mind and body,” she says. “You connect with yourself while you’re in the postures, and the more self-awareness you cultivate, the more confidence you have when sharing yourself with someone else.”
With that in mind, Gemma designed a simple six-pose sequence to get you in the mood. “This physical practice frees up space in your mind to be more creative and have fun with your partner, which also reduces pressure to perform.”
- Sit cross-legged, placing pillows beneath your knees for support.
- Think about an intention for your practice, such as how you want to feel.
- Close your eyes if it feels comfortable to do so.
- Inhale, let the belly expand and tilt your pelvis forward.
- Exhale, draw the belly button in and tilt the pelvis backwards.
- Continue for 5-10 breaths.
“The pelvic tilt focuses awareness on your hips and pelvis as it increases blood flow to this area,” says Gemma. “While the breath helps you to find your natural rhythm and a deeper connection to self. Once you’re in tune and comfortable with your own flow of energy, you may find it’s easier to share it with another.”
- Roll over onto your hands and knees, maintaining your breath.
- As you exhale, drop your belly, lift your gaze and push your tailbone up.
- As you inhale, push the shoulder blades up and curl your tailbone under.
- Continue for 5-10 breaths with your eyes closed (if it feels comfortable).
“Let the breath move through your whole body,” says Gemma. “This movement releases any tension and increases flexibility of the neck, shoulders and spine. Contraction and release of the pelvic floor muscles provides gentle toning.”
- Push down into your hands and lift your hips skywards.
- Bend your knees slightly to promote extension of the spine and increase space between vertebrae.
- Really push your butt upwards as you gaze towards your navel.
- Press your chest towards your thighs and enjoy the opening you can feel.
- Take 5-10 breaths here.
“Downward dog helps to decrease tension and anxiety, as well strengthening the upper body and deepening the breath,” says Gemma. “It also increases full body circulation, which promotes blood flow to the pelvis.”
Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold
- Walk your hands back to your feet and gently bring your butt to the floor.
- Once down, stretch your legs out wide and flex your feet.
- If your legs are straight, engage your thigh muscles or bend the knees slightly to relieve strain. You can also sit on a folded blanket to increase comfort.
- Press your thighbones into the floor and make sure your knees are facing up as you fold forward, leading with your heart.
- You can place a bolster or pillow in front of you to rest on, but only go as far as is comfortably uncomfortable. The idea is to stretch, not strain.
- Stay here for 5-10 breaths.
“This posture really gets the blood circulating in the lower body and releases tension in the groin area,” Gemma explains. “It also stimulates the abdominal organs and digestive system, and resets the nervous system, which helps to maintain hormonal balance.”
- Rise up and draw your legs together.
- Gently lie down onto your back and plant your feet on the floor.
- Pull your heels in close to your butt.
- Place your arms alongside you, palms facing down.
- Inhale to lift your hips and chest, pressing them high and away from each other.
- Keep pushing the floor away with your hands.
- Hold for 5-10 breaths, watching your belly rise and fall.
- Exhale to come down, vertebrae by vertebrae.
“Move your feet to hip distance apart, let your knees knock in, and take a few breaths to let your spine reset. Allow the effect of this heart opener to move through you, and feel the strength it promotes on the pelvic floor and glutes.”
Reclining Bound Angle Pose
- Let your knees fall out to the side and bring the soles of your feet together. You can place pillows beneath your knees to help you relax.
- For an extra heart opener, place a bolster along the length of your spine from your sacrum to your shoulder blades.
- Let your arms fall out beside you or place them above your head.
- Lie here for as long as you need…
“Enjoy the opening sensation in your hips and groin,” Gemma adds. “And let yourself be supported by the ground or the bolster. It’s here that you can check-in with your intention, or anything the practice has thrown up.”
Yoga often sheds light on things that have been at the edge of our awareness, and this is precisely why we should hit the mat, Carolyn concludes. “If there are things we don’t know about ourselves, or things we won’t face, we can project them onto our partners. A regular practice can show us what we need to see so we can manage ourselves better, connect better, and enjoy a more orgasmic sexual experience.”