We yoga teachers will talk a lot about the mind-body connection, and how yoga is one of the most profound ways to tap into this incredible source of energy. If you think about it, though, sex can do wonders for your mind-body relationship too. A solid roll in the hay can yank you into the present moment, teach you how to deal with countless different physical sensations at once, and even transcend you to places you never knew existed (if you're really lucky). Yes, if you've ever taken a yoga class and been asked to go into bridge pose, it isn't hard to see how yoga could be applied to your sex life.
In fact, studies show that practicing yoga for 12 weeks improves everything in bed, from orgasm to performance to physical arousal. Mitchel Bleier, owner of Yogapata in Connecticut and instructor for 18 years, told Huffington Post that yoga "increases blood flow to the genital area" and can strengthen pelvic floor muscles (hello, Kegels). To anyone who has ever been to a yoga class, none of this is a surprise. All that stretching and breathing is bound to upgrade intercourse somehow — or else what's the point of it all?!
But this kind of sex-and-yoga research only begins to scratch at the surface of how yoga can be employed during sex. There's a lot you can take away from the core of the practice and use to your sexual advantage. And, of course, let's not underestimate the power of downward facing dog.
Here are six ways to apply yoga to your sex life.
1. Breathe In The Bedroom Like You Would In Yoga
The commands “inhale” and “exhale” are heard in pretty much every sentence during a yoga class. More than anything else, instructors tell you to breathe, and then breathe some more. Because, let’s face it, it’s hard to remember to do when your head is between your legs. Being mindful of your breath is precisely what keeps you connected to your physical body — and this rings true just as much during sex as it does in a Vinyasa Flow class.
Mid-coitus, you could be enjoying yourself so much that you tense up. But reminding yourself to take a deep breath is the ticket to falling into that sweet spot and cleverly navigating each feeling. Breathing consistently will bring you and your partner closer together as well. Listen to their inhalations and exhalations, and try to sync up with their rhythm. You’ll end up moving with each other — and that'll really heat things up. You can also learn what feels good for each other by tuning into how each other's breath.
2. Use Some Yoga Postures As Sex Positions
Yes, this is totally allowed — yoga postures aren’t meant to stay in the studio forever. How boring would that be? Think of the simple stuff, like cat/cow, reverse table top, and downward facing dog. These postures are practically begging to be utilized in the bedroom. Test them out with your partner; get creative, and figure out which angles are best. So what if you lose your balance and fall every now and then? Laugh with each other and move on to the next experiment.
3. Move As Slowly And Deliberately As You Would In Class
The wildly profitable — and surprisingly influential — pornography industry releases videos left and right that all-too-often dehumanize women and focus on fast-paced male gratification. We're not encouraged very often to slow down and explore the many complicated layers of feminine sexuality. Well, yoga can help you with that.
We teachers often instruct our students to move intentionally throughout class, to pay attention to every single movement you're making, even if you're not so fond of the posture you're currently stuck in. Do the same when you're knockin' boots, people! Savor every motion; revel in every caress. There's no fun to be had if you just fly through sex without truly enjoying anything. Besides, the slower you move, the longer you'll both last, and there's nothing wrong with extending your session.
4. Tap Into Your Flexibility
It's no secret that doing yoga on the regular improves flexibility, especially in the hips, shoulders, and hamstrings. While being supple is a fantastic way to keep your body healthy in the long run, don't forget to have some basic fun with your newfound bendiness. Just like those postures you do every day, your pliability doesn't need to be cooped up in yoga class.
Who wouldn't find it sexy if their partner puts their legs behind their head? OK, you don't have to do that exactly, but there ain't nothing wrong with flaunting off the flexibility you've been working so hard to cultivate at your studio. Spread your legs wide, show off your backbending capabilities, do whatever feels right in the moment. Your partner will love the eye candy. If you want more ideas, you can also check out Bustle's guide to the best sex positions for flexible people.
5. Sit With The Discomfort
When you embark on new sexual adventures with your partner, you might run into a moment or two that isn't exactly pleasant. For example, things can get a bit intense if you're trying anal for the first time, or BDSM. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. After all, pleasure and pain sometimes generate from the same circuits in the human brain, so there is bound to be some crossover at some point. So long as you're being super in-touch with what you actually want and your own boundaries, you can learn to enjoy that thin line between pleasure and pain.
There are two important lessons one can learn in yoga that can be applied to sexual exploration: there is a difference between pain and discomfort; and if you put your mind to it, you can sit with the latter and eventually breathe your way through it.
So, next time you're entering a new sexual thrill with your partner, integrate these lessons between the sheets. Feeling uncomfortable and a bit uneasy is OK, but before you run from those sensations, try your best to stick with it — and to check in with yourself about whether it feels good or you're pushing it too far. Think of it as the difference between a pinching (bad) or stretching (maybe good) kind of pain.
6. Try Not To Anticipate The Next Movement (Or Orgasm)
Yogis who have been practicing for a long time can sometimes guess what will come next in a hatha sequence. We know what the destination is, so we can't help but hurry up to get there. The best teachers will encourage against this, though, because as soon as we focus our attention on what's coming next, we lose the whole point of the practice — being totally present.
You're smart enough to figure out where I'm going with this. Don't predict what comes next between you and your partner in bed. Although a quickie every now and then is nice, rushing through sexy time every time isn't the way to live. Encourage your partner to go with the flow, and if needed, take the reins yourself and instruct them to follow you. Try not to anticipate orgasm, or put pressure on yourself to finish quickly. I know that's harder than it sounds in practice, but luckily, Bustle's sex columnist Vanessa Marin has some great tips on how to develop the skill of being present in bed even further.
Oh, and don't forget to take Savasana — or at least cuddle.
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