You spend an hour testing your strength and flexibility in pretzel-like positions. Your skin is slicked with sweat and your heart is pumping. Resting afterward, you feel elated, inspired, and energized. Is it yoga or sex? How about both?
While it's easy to associate yoga with striking contortions—think scorpion and wheel—the practice can also enhance your intimate encounters (and we're not just talking flexibility here). That's because sex and yoga are a divine pairing. At once physical and emotional, uplifting and challenging, they both use the body to calm the mind and stimulate the spirit. And just as a fulfilling yoga practice is based on physical agility, mental clarity, and spiritual openness, every successful sexual union relies on a similar set of artfully orchestrated characteristics. "When you start thinking of sexual energy as sacred, things begin to shift," says Kevin Courtney, a yoga teacher based in New York City. In other words, bringing increased awareness and sensitivity into each sexual experience will enhance your pleasure.
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"Yoga focuses people on how they feel, which is something they don't do enough during sex," says Dr. Marty Klein, a sex therapist and author of Beyond Orgasm: Dare to be Honest about the Sex You Really Want. "During sex, people tend to think more about what they imagine the other person is looking at or thinking about. Yoga brings the mind away from judgments, thoughts, speculations, assumptions, anxieties—things that interfere with physical response and emotional satisfaction."
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Whether you choose Hatha, Vinyasa, or Ashtanga, a consistent yoga practice will cultivate greater awareness of your body and any other body you choose to get close to. "The more receptive you are to yourself, the more receptive you'll be to another person," Courtney explains.
In the bedroom, this increased attentiveness helps you recognize subtle shifts in your partner—a level of focus that will put you on the fast track to becoming a world-class lover. "You will be tuned in to what feels good and what doesn't—for yourself and for someone else," Courtney adds. Even with awareness and receptivity, communication is still crucial for a supersatisfying sex life.