Hate yoga? Well, there’s a pretty good reason why you might want to give it a shot: Yoga can actually improve your sex life, according to health experts.
“Because yoga helps people develop a sense of calmness, strength, stamina, agility, knowledge of their own bodies, and the ability to remain in the present moment, and make small adjustments, it can greatly enhance sexual performance and confidence, regardless of which asana (poses) are practiced,” says sex therapist Gracie Landes, LMFT, CST.
What’s more, research shows that practicing an hour of yoga daily is linked to prolonging ejaculation and enhancing overall sexual performance. That’s because certain yoga poses can work out your Kegel muscles (yes, guys – you have them, too), which can help strengthen your erection and help you last longer in bed.
(There’s also a possibility yoga can increase testosterone, thus enhancing libido, according to the book The Science of Yoga: The Risks and Rewards, but more research needs to be done to determine this.)
Hit up a yoga class with your partner and rush back home for some shower sex. You’d be surprised how much more flexible (and aroused) you’ll both be.
Here are a few poses to get you started.
1. Spinal flexsion/extension
Better known as cat and cow, these movements tone the hip and pelvis, increasing blood flow to those areas and strengthening the muscles that support your genitals, which can lead to better sexual function and performance.
“Set up on hands and knees. In cat, press through the hands and round the back, paying attention to turn the sit bones to the back of the thighs. Move into cow, by tilting the pelvis and dropping the belly towards the floor. Repeat 10 times,” says Megan Kearney, a yoga instructor with Yoga Medicine.
“Cobra is one of the best spine and core-strengthening postures in yoga,” says yoga instructor Dean Pohlman, the founder of Man Flow Yoga. When you have a strong core, you’re able to thrust and have more control over your pelvis, which can make for better performance, says sexologist Lawrence A Siegel, CSE, AASECT.
To do cobra, lie on your stomach, and place your hands under your shoulders with your elbows pointing straight back, close to your sides. "Spread your fingers wide and relax palms under your shoulders. Engage and rotate thighs inward so kneecaps point straight down and all toes are touching the floor. Squeeze your big toes, ankles, knees and inner thighs toward each other,” says Pohlman.
Press your pelvis into the floor and inhale as you use your core to lengthen the spine forward and slightly lift your chest away from the floor. Pull shoulder blades down and toward each other, and use your hands to pull (not push) your body forward and up. Hold the posture for 30-120 seconds, for one to two sets.
3. Boat pose
“This pose is an effective, beginner-friendly yoga posture for developing and improving pelvic floor muscles,” Pohlman says.
Sit on the floor, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, with heels 1.5 to 2 feet (45.7 to 61cm) away from the hips. Lightly grip your knees with your hands, sit as upright as possible, and lean back slightly, says Pohlman.
“Keeping your chest lifted and your torso still, squeeze your hip flexors and abdominal muscles toward each other to engage core. Let go of knees, and reach arms forward and up, palms up,” he says.
Continue to firmly engage your abdominal muscles and hip flexors, and slowly lift your feet off the floor and straighten your legs. Pull the sternum toward the ceiling, while keeping the spine neutral. Hold the posture, inhaling as you lengthen the spine, and exhaling as you tighten the core. Hold for 30 to 90 seconds, for one to two sets.
4. Bridge pose
Bridge pose “opens the chest and upper back, increasing circulation and respiration,” says Landes. It also opens and stretches the pelvic region and tones the legs, as "squeezing your glutes together helps to improve ejaculation and blood flow in the genital area,” Pohlman says.
Lie on your back and rest your arms at your sides, palms facing up. Bend your knees and plant your feet hip-width apart, no more than a few inches away from glutes. Tighten your abs and engage the core as you prepare to lift your hips.
“On an exhale, lift your hips slowly but firmly away from the floor. Squeeze the hips, glutes and core to form a straight line from shoulders to knees. Reach your tailbone toward your knees to lengthen the spine,” Pohlman says. Hold the posture, inhaling as you lift your hips higher, and exhaling as you tighten your core. Hold for 30 to 120 seconds, for one to two sets.
5. Standing bow
“This is a great balancing exercise to increase hip mobility, stretch your chest and shoulders, and strengthen the spine. The combination of stretching and strengthening the core is great for endurance and engaging the pelvic floor,” says Pohlman.
Stand in mountain pose, with your big toes touching and your heels about 1 inch (2.5cm) apart. Face your palms forward to open the chest. Lift your left foot, bend the leg behind you and squeeze the leg to pull heel towards glutes, he says.
“Reach back with your left hand and grasp the inside of your left foot. Extend your right arm straight up. Press into the floor with your right foot. Inhale as you lengthen your body and reach fingertips higher. Exhale as you press your left foot firmly into your left hand, using this force to stretch the left hip flexors,” he says.
Hold the posture, inhaling as you lengthen the torso and exhaling as you press deeper. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds, for one to two sets. Repeat on the other side.
Read more: The 10 best yoga poses for men
6. Locust pose
This move “tones the back and limbs, increases respiration and stamina, and opens and stretches the pelvic region,” says Landes. Plus, it stimulates pressure on the genitals while demanding a high level of abdominal engagement from your core.
Lie on your stomach. Rest your arms at your sides, palms facing down, and straighten the legs. Engage your core and thighs and rotate your thighs inward so your toes touch the floor.
“Inhale as you lift your legs, arms, and chest away from the floor, and exhale to lengthen your body, pressing toes further back and head further up. Completely engage core and hips. Squeeze thighs to lock knees, and press the toes back as far as you can, making legs as long as possible. Squeeze arms toward each other to engage the mid-back and open the chest,” Pohlman says.
Hold the posture, inhaling to lift higher and increase arch, and exhaling to create more length from toes to head. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds for one to two sets.
This article was originally published on www.mh.co.za
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