18 Feb How The Practice of Yoga Can Be Used to Increase Pleasure
If you were hoping for this article to be all about tantric practices, pleasure and how certain yoga practices can get you there – I am very excited to be able to disappoint you.
Tantric ritual practices are quite possibly one of the most appropriated and co-opted forms of the yoga practice. As a practice Tantra began in about 600 CE – involving ritual practices, deity worship and secret knowledge one could only gain access to after being initiated into a lineage of the tantric practice. It has become grossly misunderstood – mostly due to its inclusion in the yoga industrial complex.
But like I said, this piece is not about that. This piece is about the practice of yoga for better pleasure – not the misappropriated tantric practices you may have seen floating about the interwebs in modern times. Yoga has many definitions – and for me – that’s part of the magic of this practice. However, the most common understanding and perhaps the most relevant is to interpret yoga as “union” or “to yolk”. In practical terms, we practice yoga to unify our body, mind and soul, in order to experience what it truly feels like to be present in our human experience.
As human beings we are pleasure seeking – by our very nature. We like the things that “feel good” and move away from the things that “feel bad”. Our brains (bless them) are hardwired to keep us safe – and anything that deviates from the norm or from what we know to be safe (aka our comfort zone) can produce the same neurological response as if we were being chased by a lion and literally had to fight or flee for our lives. So our experience of what “feels good” is sometimes more strongly dictated by what feels “comfortable” or what we know.
Where am I going with this and how does all of this tie into yoga for better pleasure? In order to change our relationship to experiencing pleasure, we have to ensure, first, that all of our bodies (mental, physical and emotional or subtle) are ready to receive the experience. Our experience of pleasure is directly impacted by the quality and the nature of our present moment awareness. If we are not fully present in the moment when pleasure presents itself, we may either miss it completely or not be able to experience it fully. Yoga and the practices that help us unify our experience and ‘drop into our bodies’ directly impact the way in which we perceive and receive our experiences.
When it comes to actual physical, sexual pleasure – specifically the experience in female bodies which truly isn’t spoken about enough – one of the main areas of the physical body that experiences resistance is the hips and the pelvic floor. There are some asana practices (those are the physical shapes within the yoga practice) that will really help you connect to that area of the body:
1. Connect with your pelvis and develop strength and mobility by pulsing between a forward lunge and a half split
2. Flowing between squats and wide-legged forward folds expands our range of motion
3. Happy baby offers an element of surrender whilst continuing to connect and mobilize
4. By far the most important, your depth of breath and quality of your presence and awareness is what will actually allow yoga to contribute to better pleasure. There’s no use in moving through shapes if your attention is not attuned and present.
We’ve all been there, at one time or another, living in an experience that we “should” be enjoying or finding pleasure in, but totally unable to fully drop into and allow that sensation. It doesn’t really matter what area of your life you are looking to experience more pleasure in – the premise remains the same. Whether you are sitting in a patch of sunshine, allowing the warmth to spread over your skin, or sipping your morning cup of tea or coffee – your presence or lack thereof determines the pleasure you find in that moment. Whether you are engaging in safe, consensual sex with a partner, flying solo or just hoping to feel more pleasure in your life – we encourage you to engage in a regular practice of connection to yourself, your physical, mental and emotional self. Breathe deeply, fully and give yourself permission to experience the pleasure you are seeking.