You often come across articles touting yoga as a path to a better, more satisfying sex life. Then, if you’re like I used to be, you promptly scroll past them, because the correlation you draw between downward facing dog and intercourse reminds you of that one time back in university when you attempted to explore your sexual and physical limitations with that clumsy musician/writer/clothing designer you met at the all-night pizza place by your house, resulting in torn hamstrings and a whack of regret.
I’ve since learned that sex isn’t meant to be a performance, or a challenge, or a work out – although it can be all three if you want it to be. Good sex, in my opinion, is all about connection. Something more than just breathlessly moaning the words “Deeper! Deeper!” for someone else’s benefit.
Because of this, the practice of yoga and the experience of sex merge less in the external asana (poses) and more in the internal movements and constrictions of the body.
Engaging the “mula bandha,” or the root lock, means to contract and lift the muscles and internal tissues from the anus to the naval, raising it in the general direction of the spine.
I think back to my teacher training. Though it wasn’t the first time I had heard the words “mula bandha,” it was the first time I was actually asked to engage it. Sitting in a room full of other yogi-hopefuls, we focused on directing our energy toward our naughty regions, squeezing, and then lifting. Some of us pulsed the contraction in this position; others attempted to hold it firm in antra kumbhaka, which is the retention state after inhalation. No matter how we attempted to lock our mula bandha, the experience rendered one uniform result for all of us: We were all intensely horny.
Ever since then, I’ve become somewhat of a mula bandit. I try to incorporate it, drawing my focus way down there, every time I practice. And every time I have sex, too.
Lots of women do Kegel exercises while sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Sitting in their cars. Sitting at their desks. For all I know, you’re doing Kegels right now as you read this, and if so, I salute you.
Activating your root lock, says Suzie Heumann, founder of Tantra.com, is quite a bit more involved than a Kegel exercise. As a result, activating the mula bandha allows us to explore our own bodies in a much more intimate and organic way from the inside out. “By locking the pelvic muscles, and visualizing the upward movement of energy throughout the inner body, the topography of the interior organs can be felt and explored. This is called proprioception… When we pay attention we can begin to feel our bladders, uteruses, prostate glands, cervixes, many of our organs and other soft tissues. This, in turn, aids visualization and potential healing.”
Further, a firmly engaged MB enhances one’s sense of balance. The trick is to ground down into the pelvic floor while also encouraging the energy from bandha to flow up the spine, toward the crown of the head. It sounds challenging, and almost counterintuitive, directionally speaking, and that’s because it is. However, with practice, patience, and concentration, an activated mula bandha can quickly become your new best friend, both on the mat, and between the sheets.
In the Kama Sutra, there’s a technique called the Vadayaka, which is translated as “The Mare’s Trick.” Although the name isn’t all that sexy, the technique itself is pretty spectacular. With a well-trained mula bandha, a woman can grip a man’s penis so tightly that he cannot withdraw it from her vagina, even if he wanted to.
If the Jaws theme is playing in your head right now, please don’t panic. Vadayaka is not meant to be painful for either person. In fact, with control, a woman can contract and release these muscles skillfully, holding the man in place, which is said to “milk” the phallus in a massage-like fashion, which feels incredible for both parties.
But before you can introduce your new, jacked-up, flex-zone vagina to your partner, you need to practice engaging this bandha. Give it a shot in a seated cross-legged position, standing in Tadasana (mountain pose), Warrior 2, or even in an inversion, like Sirsasana (headstand).
Though being able to twist, stretch, and suspend while in bed are all benefits to the strength and flexibility that yoga affords the body, the real payoff is found in the subtleties of movements, strategies of breath, and conscious control of the sex organs themselves. In fact, no matter how bendy you are, you can still be a cirque-du-so–so-lay.
Good sex comes in all shapes and sizes, whether you fancy yourself a rockstar, or a starfish.
Great sex? In my opinion, that’s always an inside job.