ARTICLE: Yoga and Sex
YOGA AND SEX
By Margaret (Saraswati) Kruszewska
Yoga is sometimes erroneously associated with secret practices that can enhance your sexual well being. In some ways, this is a misuse and misunderstanding of yogic techniques but then again, depending on how you view any activity or commitment that renews your energy and restores your hope and joy for life, it may also be true.
Yoga is not about improving your sex life. But, what happens when you regularly devote your body, mind and spirit to reconnecting with the vital energies around you and within you, may also affect your sexual vitality.
There is much misinformation, appropriation and projection onto yoga because it offers such complex systems with many levels of understanding life energy. Some of the systems encourage a withdrawing from the physical world (ascetic) and other ways encourage an immersion in all pleasures and aversions of the physical body (tantric). Ultimately both paths reveal a deep union of the material and spiritual worlds.
Yoga encompasses many different approaches, philosophies and insights into the dynamics of the universe and our bodies as a part of that universe. So let’s start there: our bodies as part of the universe.
In certain schools of yoga, the body is a microcosm (smaller model) of the universe. Therefore, everything experienced in the universe including creation, is similarly experienced within our own bodies. Our desires reflect this knowledge of being profoundly connected.
Tantric schools of philosophy include practices in yoga that encourage enjoyment of sex, food and intoxicants. A glimmer of this ultimate blissful state can sometimes be experienced during these heightened altered states such as during sexual intimacy. This aspect has been predictably exploited because it is often easier for us to understand huge metaphysical concepts primarily on a physical level. Easier than, for example, trying to understand what happens in deep meditation or while creating art or when a new idea is gestating. In yoga, all these activities are manifestations of sakti energy, sometimes experienced as a rush of overwhelming feelings moving through our inner body, wanting to create something!
When we embark on a steady yoga practice, we are also preparing the body for holding and carrying this powerful and active sakti energy. The asanas work to cleanse, strengthen and align our physical body so that we can comfortably and pleasurably experience sakti within us.
Sex can frequently be experienced more intensely if you are practicing yoga also. Not only are your muscles becoming toned and strong from the postures but the blood flow, hormones and oxygen are nourishing your body on a cellular level. You have a heightened sense of the breath, of sensations on your skin and the powerful rhythmic movements of complementary energies, described as the dance of siva/sakti, within each of us and all around us.
We begin to realize all the connections within our bodies, how the organs are bound to nerves and the impulses surging to our brain. And when we are also experiencing our beloved’s energy toward us, we begin to fully participate and reciprocate in the wonders of each other’s sakti.
Sex is also more pleasurable when we are relaxed and able to fully experience all the sensual signals of allure, attraction, being embraced and giving and receiving pleasure. Any time that you spend on preparing yourself for a sexual partner creates a special space in your busy life to enjoy their presence.
Preparing your body so that you experience health and self-love adds to the pleasures of sex. In this sense, a regular yoga practice helps to create precious time for you to focus on yourself and how you perceive the power of your own body, your thoughts, and the way you interact with the daily sensual pleasures around you, which may be experienced in nature, art and relating with other living beings.
Loving kindness toward yourself is essential in establishing any relationship, and feeling a connection with the divine is foremost. You may then choose to experience this divine love with another person through acts of love or channel this energy into non-sexual devotional acts. This is why the topic of yoga and sex must include a discussion of both the ascetic and the tantric paths. Furthermore, at different phases in your life, you may experience one path more strongly than the other as you decide how to use your vital energies.
Many of the yogic techniques create an awareness of how energy manifests and moves around us; through the elements of air, water, earth and fire, through plants and animals around us and through intuitive flashes of the beauty around us. We become aware of emotions that prevent us from experiencing this profound connection, such as resentment, denial and confusion and then begin to notice how these states can also be transformed. This deep inner work creates a re-experiencing of our lives, including our sexuality, as ever-changing and life-giving.