Can Yoga Help Your Sex Drive?

Photo: Lena Bell.
Guys. It needs to be said. Sometimes, you just can’t be arsed to have sex.
And that’s fine.
But what about when that one time becomes two times, then three times and eventually you’re like, wait, hang on, why don’t I want to have sex anymore? A low libido is a common thing. And if recent research is anything to go by, it's becoming more and more common among young people.
Did you know, for instance, that 20-24-year-olds in the US are having less sex than their predecessors in the '60s and '70s? Essentially, our parents are doing it more than we are. How depressing is that?
Between stressful jobs, money worries, higher levels of anxiety and depression and being constantly connected (who can think about a 69 when you’ve got 6,900 Instagram followers to maintain?), it’s understandable why we might be suffering from low libidos.
But what to do about it?
Some people reckon yoga can make a difference. And it makes sense – yoga does slow the heart rate, increase mindfulness and reduce stress. But can it have any effect on your libido? We asked Sarah Drai, founder of Yogi2me, all about it.
Sarah, what are some of the things that contribute to a flagging libido?
To answer simply, imbalance. Everything is connected, and everything we do affects us on a whole; physically and psychologically. Regular exercise, a healthy balanced diet and meditation and mindfulness are key ingredients to feeling more desirable and increasing personal self-esteem.
I hear that increased blood flow can have an effect – does yoga help this?
Asanas aligned with the breath facilitate the flow of blood to and from each part of the body and contributes immensely in the betterment of overall health. When you break it down, everything in the body, including sex, is dependent on a good blood flow; muscles when exercising, intestines while digesting, the brain when studying or learning. Sex is no exception. So get that head above the heart and breathe into stillness.
The "combatting stress levels" element of yoga: how can that help the libido?
Yoga is a mind-body practice. Guided by the understanding that many of life's problems are self-imposed limitations; poor habits, frivolous living, and unfounded beliefs. Stripping these leads us to being more in tune with the essence of who we are. Stress contributes to a negative body image. Bad body image = bad sex. It increases cortisol which suppresses our sex hormones, and makes us question our relationships and our partners. Breathe it away, hop in the sheets and go and play.
I’ve read that hatha yoga originated in tantra. Does that contribute anything?
The oldest living tradition of eastern philosophy or science known is the tantric tradition of Sri Vidya, which is described as “the science of living the experience of sublime beauty”. Any type of yoga that includes bodily postures and breathing techniques is a style of hatha yoga. While most of us think of sex when we think of tantra yoga, the ancient practice is actually a powerful combination of yogic tools; asana, mantra, mudra, bandha, pranayama, and meditation, which intelligently build strength, clarity, and bliss in everyday life.
How much practice should people be doing – is even one yoga class a week enough?
The more you practise, the more balanced you’ll be. To see lasting improvements and change, physically and mentally, never missing a day on the mat is the way forward. Physically, your once-creaky weak joints, tight muscles, bad posture and dreadful coordination will all improve significantly. You’ll learn your anatomy; you’ll know your limits. As daunting as it may sound at first, over time, a daily practice becomes as habitual as brushing your teeth. The popular trending hashtag isn’t there for nothing (#yogaeverydamday). Yoga is a way of life, not a mere hobby – that’s golf.
Are there any other poses you can recommend which could help our sorry libidos?
Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana): Strengthens the kegel muscles, locking onto that mula bandha. Those wonderful muscles that contract during orgasm. As you control your pelvic rotation, lifting the tailbone from cat to cow, the kegels grow stronger, which produce better, LONGER and more controlled orgasms.
Bound Angel Pose (Baddha Konasana): Great for a low libido, stretching the inner thighs and opening the hips for a wider range of motion. In this pose, people often shed layers of anxiety and tend to feel a natural openness and sense of intimacy.
Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana): Releasing deep tension in the hips and calming the mind by bringing your attention to your breath, elongating the breath deep into the pelvis. This asana increases your ability to create a sense of sexual intimacy with your partner.
Eagle Pose (Garudasana): This sexy pose is even in the Kama Sutra. By releasing the legs all of the blood comes flooding through the cervix, preparing the whole area for some sweet, sweet, loving!
Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana): Intense hip flexor strength, also tones the vagina and improves orgasms. Squeezing onto that mula bandha.
Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): Calming the mind and invigorating the body, both highly important ingredients in the recipe for good sex! This asana boosts confidence and muscle tone, while setting the tone immediately by waving that toned, strong yogi butt up in the air.
Wide-Legged Straddle (Upavistha Konasana): Improves the blood flow to the pelvic area and increases energy and vitality.

More from Sex & Relationships

R29 Original Series