The best moves to put your mind and body in the mood
Heat up your love life
Great sex is one of the ultimate mind-body experiences. So is great yoga. “Not only is yoga an amazing stress reliever, but certain postures improve flexibility, increase blood flow, and open your heart—all of which are necessary for a hot sex life,” says Ellen Barrett, author of the book Sexy Yoga.
Perhaps most importantly, she says, yoga teaches true mindfulness—living only in the present moment. In a Journal of Sexual Medicine study, researchers say that most women feel they have a problem remaining focused, one reason why sex may be boring or unemotional for them. “The mindfulness you learn during yoga can translate to other parts of your life, so you can enjoy lovemaking entirely for what it is, and not think or worry about anything else,” says Barrett. Sounds good to us!
We asked Barrett to share her top yoga moves for a closer sexual connection. Do them solo or, even better, with your partner (sweating, breathing, and moving together is fantastic foreplay). You can do these as a workout routine, or just try your favorites whenever you want to get in the mood.
1. Begin on hands and knees, with shoulders directly over wrists and hips directly over knees.
2. Inhale, and slowly arch back (cow), lifting chest up and away from belly and extending tailbone toward ceiling.
3. Release feet so tops are resting on floor. Exhale and round lower back up (cat), gently contracting belly. Repeat six times and increase range of motion with each repetition.
Why it works: You strengthen your Kegel muscles—the same ones that contract during orgasm—to control your tailbone as you curl from cat to cow, says Barrett.
1. Lie on belly with forehead touching floor. Place palms face-down by middle ribs.
2. Draw legs together and stretch them out, pressing tops of feet into floor.
3. Press hands down evenly as you draw elbows close to sides of body.
4. Using the strength of your back (not the force of your hands), slowly lift chest off floor, rolling shoulders down back. Use arms for support, while muscles of back and legs are responsible for backbend. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, breathing evenly, and then gently release to floor.
Why it works: "This is a heart opener pose," says Barrett. "Love, energy, and breath come from your heart chakra, and this pose indirectly connects to sexual intimacy." It's also very energizing; ideal for couples who sometimes feel too wiped out to be sexy.
1. Start on all fours with wrists 6 to 12 inches in front of shoulders. Separate knees hip-width apart and curl toes under.
2. Pushing evenly into palms, lift knees off floor. Lift your tailbone toward ceiling and push top of thighs back so body looks like an inverted V.
3. At first, keep knees bent and heels lifted off floor. Slowly start to straighten knees, but don't lock them.
4. Gently move chest back toward thighs until ears are even with upper arms; don't let head dangle. Keep hips lifting and push strongly into hands.
Why it works: "In this posture, your gaze goes nowhere; you should be looking inward, as though you're closing your eyes, but not," says Barrett. Downward dog is a restful pose; doing it well is all about finding peace so it doesn’t feel like hard work. "This is a great presex pose," Barrett says. "It slowly warms up your body and helps you tune into the moment."