Yoga for sex part 1: Three asanas to improve your sex life
Regular yoga practises — of any type — will have immense benefits for your sex life. Scientific studies have now demonstrated this.
Regular yoga practises will have immense benefits for your sex life
There are a few asanas that will make you feel like a new person in the bedroom
Setu bandhasana is particularly good for strengthening your pelvic floor or pubococcygeal (PC) muscles
Yoga is great. It helps reduce stress, improves balance and focus, makes you stronger and more flexible, and increases your stamina. Heck, it even makes you popular. While all of these things have intrinsic value, they also have an unintended benefit - they make sex amazing. Really, really amazing.
Regular yoga practises — of any type — will have immense benefits for your sex life. Scientific studies have now demonstrated this. But there are a few asanas that will make you feel like a new person in the bedroom. So without further ado…
Surya namaskar or sun salutations
If you’re going to do one thing for your health, and your sex life, it should be this. Do lots and lots of surya namaskars, every day. This will increase your stamina, and make you last longer. You want sex to leave you out of breath because it was that good, not because you didn’t have the energy for it. Also, it is good prep for the many variations of doggy-style. The goal is to get to 100 surya namaskars - no mean task. It’s best to start with a few surya namaskars and build up your capacity slowly over time.
- Stand on one end of your yoga mat, facing the other. Breathe. Relax. Keep your eyes open. This is tadasana or samstithi.
- Inhale and raise your arms, keeping them straight and stretched, until they’re completely overhead. Tilt your head back and look at the top of your fingers. This is vrikshasana.
- Exhale, bend from the waist and try touching your fingers to the floor, right next to your toes. Bend as far as you can. This is uttanasana. Over time you will be able to touch your head to your knees and put your palms flat on the mat.
- Breathe in and take your legs back one-by-one, keeping your arms straight, until you’re in kumbhakasana (the plank pose). Over time, you’ll develop the strength to take both feet back together.
- Breathe out, bend your elbows and lower your chest until your upper arms and back are in one plane. Your body should be straight, legs and upper body not touching the mat and elbows tucked in, close to your torso. This is called the chaturanga dandasana.
- Breath in, start lifting your chest up and slowly tilt your head back until your upper back is parallel - or as close to parallel as possible - to the wall, your arms are straight, chest is out, and you’re looking at the ceiling. Your legs can touch the mat. This is the upward-facing dog pose or urdhva mukha svanasana.
- Breathe out, lower your chest and head, and raise your hips to form an inverted “V” with your body. Try to touch your heels to the floor - you can take a tiny step forward to help with this. You’re now in downward-facing dog pose or adho mukha svanasana.
- Breathe in as you take your right leg forward, and place the right foot beside your right hand. Then left leg forward, place your left foot next to your left hand. Your torso will be at a right angle to your legs. Tilt your head up and look at the wall in front of you.
- Breathe out, and bend forward to come back into uttanasana.
- Breathe in and rise to go back into vrikshasana.
- Breathe out and lower your hands to come back into tadasana.
Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
Strong pelvic muscles are definitely a plus when it comes to good sex. Setu bandhasana is particularly good for strengthening your pelvic floor or pubococcygeal (PC) muscles. Strong PC muscles also have many other benefits, such as preventing urinary incontinence in your later years.
- Lie flat on your back, place your arms by your side. Breathe. Keep your eyes open. Relax.
- Breathe out and bend your knees to bring your heels as close to your hips as possible. Keep your feet firmly on the mat, and palms facing down.
- If possible, grab your heels. Do not lift your head or arch your back when trying to do so.
- Breathe in, and raise your hips and back off the mat. Expand your chest as you breathe in and lift your torso off the mat. Your head and shoulders should stay on the mat.
- Stay in this position for 5 to 10 breaths.
- During this time, if you need to support your back, place your hands on your lower back to do so.
- If you feel pressure on your neck, or discomfort in your lower back, come back down - slowly.
- When you’re done, gently lower your back and hips until they touch the mat. Let go of your heels or your lower back, whichever you were holding. Place your arms by your side again and spread out your legs to return to the starting position.
- Rest for a few seconds.
- Repeat up to five times if it does not cause you any pain. It’s best to do it only once in the beginning and then build up to five repetitions over time.
Mula bandha (root lock)
Since strong PC muscles are so important, here is another must-do "asana": learn and practice the mula bandha. In addition to strengthening your PC muscles, this will also give you good control over them, which will allow you to relax them during the act. Being able to relax your pelvic floor muscles during sex will aid a great deal in reducing Dyspareunia (pain during sex) - a problem that many women face.
In Sanskrit, mula means root, and bandha means to lock or bind. Bandhas are not asanas. They are "locks" that you do while you do an asana. There are three other bandhas that yogis practice - Uddiyana, Jalandhara, Maha - but this is, perhaps, the most important, and the toughest.
If you ever go to an ashtanga yoga class, you might hear the teacher say “contract your anus”. It’s not obvious what that means, let alone how to do it. S/he is referring to the mula bandha. Mula bandha refers to contracting and holding your pelvic floor muscles. The key here is to find or know what your PC muscles are.
This is similar to what modern-day kegel exercises are aimed at. Yogis have known the importance of strong PC muscles and have been practising the mula bandha for millennia.
To teach a student how to find their PC muscles, the often-used heuristic is this: think of how you hold back your pee in an emergency. You clench some muscles deep inside your body, close to your anus. These are your PC muscles.
Note that your core is not activated when you do this. Focus is on the PC muscles only. In the beginning, close your eyes and visualise your PC muscles. This will help you isolate them. Remember to keep breathing while you’re "contracting your anus".
When should you do it? Whenever you can - during your daily yoga practice, when you’re watching a movie, when you’re sitting in your car, or when you’re standing in line for your coffee.
How long should you do it for? For as long as you can. But it’s best to build it up.
Remember to end your yoga practice with savasana (the corpse pose), and to practice yoga under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Done incorrectly, any physical practice or exercise can have detrimental effects.
This is the first of three stories on this subject. The second part will talk about asanas specifically for women, and the third will be on asanas for men.
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