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5 Yoga Poses That Can Help You Tap Into Your Sensual Side & Connect With Your Partner

Sarah Regan
July 24, 2023
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
By Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, and a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.
Woman in Childs Pose with Hands Together
Image by Addictive Creatives / Stocksy
July 24, 2023
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Yoga is great for stretching your body, cultivating more mindfulness, and yes, even increasing your capacity for sensuality. With sensual yoga, you're encouraged to move slowly, drop into the body and breath, and get familiar with the feelings and sensations that arise to help you tap into your sensuality in a way that feels safe and authentic.

Here's an expert-approved yoga sequence you can do to cultivate your sensuality, with two poses you can do with your partner.

How yoga can help you feel more sensual

According to certified trauma-informed sensual yoga teacher and clinical psychologist Joy Berkheimer, Ph.D., sensual yoga allows us to come back to our bodies and experience pleasure, especially if we've experienced anything that makes it difficult to feel safe during intimacy.

As she tells mindbodygreen, whether you had a religious upbringing that discouraged sensuality, you're not experienced with eroticism, or you've experienced any sexual trauma, there are a ton of reasons you might feel disconnected from your body and sensuality—but yoga can help.

"Having these pleasurable things, it's a natural state for us," Berkheimer tells mindbodygreen, adding that with sensual yoga, we're able to slow down and come back to the body and breath in a way that "gives us an opportunity to feel again."

"And when we're talking about our sensuality, it's really our senses, right? It's our touch, our sound, what we're smelling, what we're seeing—all those things," she explains.

A slow, sensual yoga sequence to tap into your senses

Before you begin this yoga sequence, Berkheimer advises making sure your space feels safe for you. If your partner is joining in for the last two poses, make sure you both feel comfortable.

This will, of course, look different for everybody, but think about things like lighting, music, essential oils—anything you can use to elevate the space to allow for greater comfort.

Start in child's pose

As Berkheimer explains, child's pose is an excellent place to start because it allows you to open your hips while still feeling protected and grounded. Here's how to do it.

Childs Pose
Image by Richard Sheppard
  • Starting on your hands and knees in tabletop, open the knees toward the sides of the mat, and sink your hips down toward your heels.
  • Let your forehead relax down, keeping no weight in the head or neck.
  • Stretch your arms out in front of you with the palms facing down. To stretch your back more, press through the hands to lift the elbows off the mat.
  • Hold this pose for as long as you like, breathing deeply into the sensations that arise.
  • Notice what emotions come up, or where the breath feels tight versus flowing, as you breathe deeper into the posture.

Move into pigeon pose

Next, Berkheimer recommends pigeon pose, one of the best options for deep hip opening while still feeling close to the ground and safe. "When you do positions like this, where you're literally stretched out from every angle and open, it's a new experience that so many people have never even felt," she adds.

Illustration by Jenny Chang-Rodriguez
  • From your hands and knees in tabletop, bring your right foot forward, and extend your left leg straight back.
  • Drop your right knee down so the shin meets the mat, and square off your hips a bit (right hip back, left hip forward).
  • Apply gentle pressure to the top of the left foot to keep left leg stable.
  • Take a backbend here, either with hands supporting you on the mat (as pictured above), or with arms lifted up toward the sky.
  • Hold and breathe into this backbend, opening up your heart center.
  • From there, relax your upper body down until your forehead rests on the mat (you can use a yoga block under your forehead as well).
  • Hold here as long as you like, breathing into the sensations you're feeling and noticing what arises within you physically and emotionally.

Incorporate sensual rope tying

Berkheimer is a big fan of shibari, or sensual rope tying, particularly for tying the chest and upper body to foster a sense of being held and safe. "The point for me with the sensual rope tying and the chest harness is for you to have the feeling of being held because everything is about a sensation," she explains.

In this way, you're reclaiming the power the rope could have on you in other scenarios, imbuing it with the energy that you want and giving it permission to be on your journey the way you want it. "It's like taking away the power it had and making it our agent for change," she adds.

You can incorporate sensual rope tying into either of the poses above or any of your favorite poses. You may find it to be particularly helpful in heart openers, to allow you to open your heart while still feeling safe.

(Here's our guide on shibari if you're new to rope tying.)

Sit in front of your partner in an easy seated position

Moving on to the partner poses, you and your partner can practice this pose for deeper connection and intimacy. It involves simply sitting in front of each other with one hand giving love and the other receiving it—here's how to do it:

  • Start sitting in an easy cross-legged sitting position, with your partner in front of you sitting the same way. Sit close enough that your knees are touching.
  • From there, reach your hands toward each other, with one palm facing up and one palm facing down. Your partner will have their hands the opposite way, so if your left hand was up and the right was down, their left would be down and their right would be up.
  • Have your palms touching each other's and sit there, either with eyes closed or practicing eye-gazing with each other.
  • Allow each other to breathe, eventually syncing your breath.
  • Stay here as long as you like.

Come into yab yum

For your final pose, you'll come into yab yum with your partner, which is a great pose for connecting to intimacy and even cultivating Kundalini energy.

Image by mbg Creative / mbg Creative
  • Start with one partner sitting on the ground and the other sitting on their lap facing each other. If you like, you can sit cross-legged or have your legs more straight—whatever is comfortable.
  • Embrace each other and look into each other's eyes, beginning to sync your breathing.
  • If you like, you can incorporate your hips with gentle grinding or circular motions.
  • Notice the sensations that arise in this intimate position, and feel your partner breathing with you.
  • Focus on drawing your breath and energy upward through the spine toward the crown of your head.
  • Hold for as long as you like.

The takeaway

There are a number of ways to tap into your sense and sensuality, and yoga is definitely one of them. With a sensual yoga practice, you're less concerned with the form of the poses and focusing more on sensations and feelings. The more you drop in to your body and breath on the mat, the more you're able to connect to it off the mat as well.

Sarah Regan author page.
Sarah Regan
mbg Spirituality & Relationships Editor

Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.