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More and more people are discovering the benefits of practising yoga, from building strength to relieving stress. There's another reason to join the yoga movement: It can improve your sex life. Here's how:
1. Yoga can target your sexual zones. Many forms of yoga refer to the root lock "Mula Bandha," which is the root of the spine, the pelvic floor, the perineum. Bringing awareness to these areas in a yoga class will help you be more in touch with them overall and can help you enjoy having sex more. In the challenging physical postures such as downward dog, chatarunga, supta konasana and plow pose, engaging Mula Bandha actually helps lift the pelvic-floor muscles, which increases core strength, which then functions to support and protect the spine. Engaging Mula Bandha can help with balance in postures such as warrior 3 and crow pose.
Illustrations by Trish McAlaster/The Globe and Mail
2. Yoga can improve sexual function. Using and engaging Mula Bandha can actually help you have better orgasms. The perineum is the muscular body between the anus and genitals. In yoga, it is believed that by slightly contracting the pubococcygeal muscles, we create an energetic seal that locks breath into the body so it doesn’t escape. This contraction brings circulation and awareness to the pelvic region and can be used during sex to increase arousal.
3. You’ll feel better in your skin. Yoga is a series of physical exercises and postures that are geared toward improving one’s flexibility, strength and balance. A regular practice helps to strengthen, lengthen and tone your body, and all of these will make you feel better about your self. Improved self-thoughts about your appearance will boost your body confidence and self-esteem. All of these will help you feel more sexy and comfortable with another body beside you.
4. And you’ll be more, ahem, flexible. Increased flexibility that comes with a regular yoga practice can come in handy when you are getting creative in the bedroom and are coming up with different sexual positions.
5. Yoga helps decrease anxiety. By transferring focus and attention to breathing and the body, doing yoga can help to lower anxiety and release physical tension. This effect can be felt for hours after a class. Lower stress levels at the end of the day can lead to feeling better about being with your partner. If you are not worried about other things and feel mentally balanced, you are more likely to want and be able to give to your significant other.
6. You will feel more sensual. Yoga helps develop an awareness of your sensations of your total body and how your body feels. It helps you learn to stay in tune with your body and out of your head. Applying this ability will help you with sensuality during sex.
7. You will have more energy. According to a recent study by the National Sleep Foundation, about one in every four married or co-habiting Americans claim they’re so sleep-deprived that they’re often too tired to have sex. A regular yoga practice can help you learn to relax and have better sleep. A vigorous practice can make you feel like you have had a great workout and sleep soundly, just like after hard exercise session.
8. You may meet a partner. On top of all the physical and emotional benefits, yoga classes are also a social environment. If you are single, it could be a great way of meeting other people.
Lori Kirwan is a Toronto fitness instructor and trainer with a PhD in Exercise Physiology from University of Toronto. In her current work at the Madonna-owned Hardcandyfitness.com in Toronto, Kirwan has developed her own signature classes including high-intensity training (Tornado), athletic reformer training (Transformer) and a fun, challenging power yoga to the heavy beats of electronic music (Electric Yoga). Follow her on Twitter at @lorihardcandy