3 Yoga Poses for Bedroom Bliss
A certified instructor and meditation coach shares gentle exercises that can help with relaxation, body confidence, comfort, arousal and, she says, “yummy sex and self-love.”
Yoga enthusiasts have attributed to the practice a host of emotional, mental and physical benefits. But sex? Can yoga really improve your sex life?
Studies show a link between yoga’s positive effects on emotional health, well-being and physical health might be associated with improvements in sexual health. It has been proven that yoga can decrease anxiety and stress, induce a state of relaxation and help with body confidence and awareness, all factors that can contribute to improvements in sexual response, assertiveness and possibly sexual desire. Unfortunately, as I continue my own yoga practice while sheltering in place alone, I can’t provide you with thorough evidence from my own recent experience. (Still, back in the day, someone with a big smile on his face did ask me if I’d ever trained as a gymnast). However, Barbara* 55, who has been married for 18 years and started practicing yoga as the pandemic set in, gives a thumbs-up to yoga’s benefits for mutually satisfying sex.
“I started doing planks, and it’s helped my endurance with certain female superior moves that my partner likes to take his sweet time enjoying,” she says. “Intimacy is more comfortable overall since I started my practice in the spring.” The movement has also made her more flexible, she says, and because her body is more fit through conditioning, she experiences less cramping and tiredness, plus “heightened responsiveness and sensitivity, which I think is due to breathing changes or improved circulation.”
Certain poses increase circulation and blood flow to the body, which has been linked to increasing levels of arousal and helping to increase a low libido (such as Bound Angle Pose, which strengthens the pelvic area and increases flexibility by stretching the inner thighs and opening the hips). Yoga’s ability to relieve anxiety, as well as help one relax and connect with the body, can improve body image, paving the way to higher levels of sensations and arousal.
“When I do Wide Leg Stance, arms raised, I feel pelvic muscles I didn’t know I had,” my friend Barbara reveals. “So something is happening down there. I think there’s a mindfulness aspect to it, too, that is good practice for being present and relaxed in the moment.”
“Yoga is the connection of mind, body and soul. When done lovingly and kind, yoga can increase confidence, reduce stress, tap into trauma areas like the womb space and encourage healing, loving and fantastic sex, focusing on self-love and soul care,” says certified yoga instructor and meditation coach Karen Taylor Bass. “Since yoga allows you to breathe, be still and release, there can be targeted asanas (postures) to encourage a healthy body image and, through self-love, increase self-esteem. Yoga is not a magic pill, and it requires consistency and patience. If practiced with consistency, women will see the benefits of flexibility, the release of tension and mind chatter, more profound spiritual connection, appreciation of the moment and increase circulation, which will directly stimulate the libido.”
Bass shares her three favorite poses you can try for yummy sex and self-love: Bound Angle Pose, Bridge Pose and Happy Baby.
If you have any medical concerns or injuries (such as groin, knee, lower back, shoulder, neck or hip injuries) discuss doing these poses with your doctor. If you are inflexible, ease into movements. Do not force it. Flexibility will come with practice. If you experience pain, stop.
Bound Angle Pose
How it helps: Bound Angle, says Bass, stretches the inner thigh, opening hips and helping you let go of anxiety, and improves circulation of blood flow to increase arousal.
Sit on a mat with legs straight out in front of you. Exhale and bend your knees, drawing your heels toward your pelvis. Bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to gently and comfortably drop toward the floor. Hold onto your toes with both hands. Inhale and lengthen the torso. Exhale, hinge forward from your hips. Hold the pose for 5-10 breaths, then release. This pose can also be done lying flat on your back in a reclined position.
How it helps: Bridge Pose “provides an intense hip flexor stretch, tones the vagina and improves orgasms. Holding Bridge is similar to doing a Kegel,” says Bass.
Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor, hip-width apart, with your heels close to your sitting bones. (You should be able to touch your heels with your fingertips.) Inhale, pressing your feet and arms against the floor and lift your hips and buttocks toward the ceiling. Interlace your fingers beneath your hips, drawing your shoulder blades together and keeping both on the mat. Hold for 5-10 breaths, taking deep inhalations and exhalations. Slowly roll your spine back down to the mat.
Happy Baby Pose
How it helps: Happy Baby is a hip-opener. It also releases the lower back, sacrum (the bone connecting the spine and pelvis) and glutes while stretching the hamstrings and spine. Happy Baby “is the ultimate youthful homage by channeling joy, smiles and love,” says Bass. “I love this pose because it immediately calms the nervous system. [It eases] fatigue and [provides] anxiety release, translating into passion, fun and loving.”
Lie on your back. Grip the outsides of your feet with your hands. Exhale and draw your knees toward your armpits while bending your elbows. Stack the ankles directly over your knees, and remember to flex your feet. Lengthen the spine and continue pressing your back into the mat. Gently breathe in and out for two minutes. Inhale slowly and deeply and exhale slowly and purposefully. Release the pose.
*Not her real name