[This article originally appeared on The Alternative Daily here.]
Yoga does some amazing things for your mind and body, including your reproductive organs. According to research, yoga can increase circulation, enhance libido and engage the kegel muscles for better sex. So, what are you waiting for? If you’re feeling stressed out and need a little help in the bedroom, head on down to your nearest yoga studio and give these yoga poses a try!
How yoga can improve your sex life
Researchers have confirmed that yoga can help you get in the mood. In one study in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers looked at 41 women who were diagnosed with metabolic syndrome (including diabetes and heart disease). At the end of a 12-week yoga program, researchers found that the women had increased blood flow to all parts of the body, including that region down below. “Yoga appears to be an effective method of improving all domains of sexual functions in women,” wrote the authors. This included desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction and pain.
Other research looks promising as well. In one study, researchers found that a mindfulness practice cultivated in yoga class helped women to improve sexual arousal, get a better response, reduce pain and even manage symptoms of chronic pain in the vulva, called vestibulodynia.
And there’s great news for men too. In another study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, researchers found that could treat premature ejaculation and promote sexual satisfaction. So you’ve been avoiding getting in on for
Other benefits of yoga in the bedroom
Regularly practicing asanas (yoga postures) and pranayama (deep, mindful breathing) can enhance your mind-body connection, which will definitely come in handy between the sheets. Here are some of the mental and physical benefits of yoga that you can take home to the bedroom:
Increased blood flow
Healthier body image
Relaxed mind and body
Awareness in the present moment
Not bad for a little downward dog action! If this all sounds good to you, give this yoga sequence a try for better libido — your body (and your partner!) will thank you.
1. Child’s pose
Take a moment to begin in child’s pose, centering your breath. Close your eyes, rest your forehead on the mat and stretch out your arms in front of you. Breathe deeply and relax. Try to focus on sending energy to your pelvic region to wake up your reproductive organs. See if you can feel any tension down there, perhaps physically or emotionally.
2. Cat and cow
When you feel balanced, come forward onto your hands and knees, keeping knees hip-distance apart. Plant the four corners of your hands into the earth, grounding through the palms. On an exhale, round your spine towards the ceiling into cat pose. Imagine a string pulling you up from the middle of your spine. On an inhale, lift your head and chest forward and arch your back into cow pose. Try this cat and cow flow for 10 rounds; it will increase mobility in your spine while strengthening the mula bandha (muscles of the pelvic floor).
3. Downward-facing dog
After your cat and cow flow, you’re ready to press back into a downward-facing dog. Push your palms away from the floor and send your bottom up towards the ceiling. While here in this resting pose, you will elongate your spine, relieve lower back pain, strengthen your wrists and calves, and release all the tension in your body. Focus on your breath and stay here for a minute.
4. Pelvic floor poses
Once you’re warmed up, it’s always a good idea to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which support a woman’s uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. For a man, strong pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and urethra, helping to combat incontinence and other problems with age.
Studies have shown that performing kegel exercises on a daily basis can significantly strengthen pelvic floor muscles, which helps to address many of the biggest problems associated with urinary issues and low sex drive. Some of the best asanas for your pelvic floor are:
Warrior II pose
5. Pigeon pose
Now that we’ve stretched and strengthened our pelvic floor muscles, let’s start to wind down back to the mat. Pigeon pose is a relaxing way to do just that, while opening up the hips. This is vital for better sex because it’s said that we store a lot of emotional stress in our hip flexors, and — let’s be honest — nothing kills a sex drive faster than stress. So, the sooner we can relieve the tension, the better.
As a bonus, open hips means you’re less likely to get muscle cramps during sex. Relax into pigeon pose on both sides and hold it for a minute each, using a block or blanket underneath the raised hip as needed. Notice where you feel any tension and send energy to that spot. If you feel emotions cropping up in this pose, don’t worry, that’s totally normal — just breathe.
6. Happy baby pose
You may feel a bit vulnerable here, but this gentle pose is wonderful for your spine, especially if you slowly rock back and forth from the left side to the right. Plus, this pose is featured in the “Kama Sutra,” an ancient Hindu text on sexual positioning and behavior.
It may seem awkward at first, but happy baby pose can increase circulation to the pelvis and release the lower back and sacrum while opening up the hips, thighs and groin — all of which you’ll need in the sack. You can also try reclined bound ankle pose for similar effects.
The benefits of yoga are seemingly endless, and better sex is high up on that list. Give these yoga poses a whirl and take that calm and confidence into the bedroom. Perhaps you can even show your partner some of your new moves — enjoy!
— Hilary Lebow