Use these yoga-inspired moves to pleasure-boost you next sex session—whether you are a dedicated yogi or have never done a single downward dog.
Pay attention to your breath.
This oft-repeated yoga-class instruction is worth remembering when you’re in bed, too. During foreplay, practice what yogis call “circular breathing” by trying not to pause between inhaling and exhaling. “The key is to not push out on the exhale,” says Joseph Kramer, Ph.D., director of the Orgasmic Yoga Institute. “Totally relax and just slowly let the air slip out.” (This is easier to do if you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose.)
Paying this much attention to your breath helps you shut out distracting thoughts (like the fact that you’re overdue for an eyebrow wax or you need to unload the dishwasher)—and focus on feelings of arousal.
Another breathing trick is what Ava Cadell, Ph.D., a Los Angeles sex counselor, calls “alternate nostril breathing.” This exercise involves breathing through one nostril at a time and helps you take deeper breaths, which is relaxing and also oxygenates the blood—a process that increases sexual energy and desire. Since syncing your breathing with your partner’s can make you feel more connected, Cadell suggests doing nostril breathing together (she has her patients do this during couples counseling). Here’s how: Each of you should block one nostril and draw in air all the way to your pubic bone while looking directly at each other. Repeat this anywhere from five to 10 times.
Warning: If you and your guy are in the early stages of your relationship, you might not be quite ready to get this, um, Zen together yet.
Try a slooow massage.
You might give each other quick shoulder or foot rubs regularly, but the key here is to take your time–and address the full body (including the parts reserved for so-called happy endings). This kind of slow-burn erotic massage can awaken the body’s chakras, or energy centers, and help release physical or mental tension–the same way yoga sequences do. Start with his back, and then move on to his arms, legs, inner thighs, and butt (use oil or lotion to make the hand-love feel even more amazing). Don’t touch his penis (or if he’s massaging you, don’t let him touch your private parts) until you are at need-you-now levels of arousal. When you do turn him over and focus your attention on his penis, stroke it slowly and gently, and when he touches you, have him rub your clitoris in a circular motion, moving clockwise. “Many of my clients say it feels very good if he lingers in the two o’clock position,” says Kramer.
Have him give you love taps.
Certain yoga poses, like warrior II, engage the muscles in the pelvic floor. You can get a similar sensation by having him use the palm of his hand to “tap” the external part of your genitals. With his fingers pointing toward your toes, he should gently press on your vagina in a steady rhythm, which Kramer says helps “wake up” the area. As you feel more turned on, he can gradually increase the pressure and, if you want him to, slide his finger inside you while continuing to pulse. “The key here is to give him feedback,” says Kramer. “If you like the pressure lighter, say so, or if you want more pressure, ask for that.”
Stare at each other.
If you’ve ever tried a tree pose with your eyes closed, you’d probably agree that yoga is better with your eyes open. Same with sex: Research shows that staring into a partner’s eyes has a big impact on attraction. So spend a few minutes looking at each other (remind him to stay focused if his gaze starts wandering down to your boobs!). This can be done before or during sex, but be sure to keep your face muscles relaxed (as you’re encouraged to do during yoga). Unknit your brows, unclench your jaw, and try as best you can to just absorb what you see. “This will ensure that you are 100 percent present,” says Cadell.
Finally, actually do some yoga.
Get into a pose or two before or during sex—or both! Before sex: Try a plow pose. Lie on your back and lift your legs up and over your head until your toes touch the floor (if they don’t reach—and for most people, they won’t–just get them as close to the floor as you can). Place your hands on your lower back to support it. This position stretches your back and brings blood to your brain and pelvic area, which helps spark desire. More Gumby-like ladies could also try a backbend or bridge pose, which strengthens the pelvic muscles the same way Kegels do. Taking a few deep breaths while you’re upside down will also help you feel aroused, because you’re increasing the oxygen in the blood, which helps fuel desire.
During sex: What’s known as the bound angle or reclining goddess pose is also an ideal sex position. Lie on your back and put a rolled-up towel or small blanket under the base of your spine. Then place your arms out to the side, put your feet together so your soles are touching (your legs should form a diamond shape), and have him get on top of you. This position increases blood flow to the pelvis and genitals, while at the same time opening up the hips and relaxing the spine.
*This story was originally published on WomensHealth.com.