Contrary to what we have been taught, love is not something that happens to us when we are face to face with the right person or find ourselves in the right place at the right time. The energy of love in its many forms—from ecstasy and devotion to the play of dominance and submission—is actually a force of energy that flows through the body in a moment of deep intentionality.
If we pay attention during our greatest, most intimate moments, we will notice there is a breath, a posture, and an internal softening that occurs through the center of our bodies. This often leads to what we know as "hot sex." The common myth is that this kind of sensitivity and connection materializes when we have real "sexual chemistry" with another person. But the truth is we can create this state of profound openness, depth of connection, and electric charge virtually at will.
The capacity for powerful and incredibly connected sex can absolutely be learned through our bodies and our nervous systems as an intentional physio-emotional practice, aka, a yoga. Let's take a deeper dive into the mystery that is yogic sexuality.
Yogic sexuality: the original hot yoga.
As in other yogic traditions, in yogic sex there are mudras, movements, ways of breathing, drishti, and kriyas. There are ways to relax and breathe open our bodies and hearts at the edges of our intimate capacities. When we want to turn away or close, we can open deeper. We can learn to amplify the polarities of love and consciousness, as well as our innate masculine and feminine essences, in ways that create massive amounts of sexual energy.
Through our physical, emotional, and energetic bodies, we can radiate emptiness or fullness, penetration or surrender, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. These various states foster beautiful connection. We can choose to gift our partners at any moment with the exact flavor or nutrient they need to feel most alive and turned on. We can also use these ancient yogic and meditative technologies to unwind years of body-mind trauma, closure, and tension that have inhibited our sex lives. In short, we can learn to conduct massive amounts of love and sexual energy through our nervous systems and bodies. And more often than not, at amounts much greater than we ever thought possible.
This is the practice of sexual yoga. And it is one of the best-kept health and wellness secrets on the planet. Similar to traditional yogas, there are multiple lineages dating back thousands of years, including Taoist, Kundalini, Tibetan, tantric, and even Sufi teachings. Each practice may bring slightly varying techniques, but all are interested in using breath, movement, and energy to free massive amounts of untapped energy from the heart and genitals.
Taoist traditions tend to stress the relationship between physical health and longevity, while Vajrayana and Kundalini approaches focus on magnifying the masculine and feminine polarities to spark heart openness and a powerful arc of sexual energy. Many of the Hindu tantric sutras focus on magnifying devotion of the divine masculine (Shiva) and diving feminine (Shakti) through the practices of embodied love.
Part yogic science, part performance art.
I practice and teach various aspects of all of these, depending on what a person’s nervous system or body-mind might need and what the moment is requiring. We all have different biological, epigenetic, physical, and emotional histories. One man might spend most of the day in his head and need to practice bringing breath and awareness to his lower body as a way to ground himself and be a more embodied presence during sex. Perhaps a woman may not feel safe in expressing herself emotionally or sexually as a child and, therefore, will need to practice amplifying pleasure and feeling through her body as a way to communicate what turns her on. In both cases, each can use breath, body-mind awareness, and movement to create a deeper experience for themselves and their lover.
Sexual yoga is part science, part mindfulness practice, part performance art. What would create the greatest opening, the deepest connection, or as my teacher would say, "the greatest art"? Whatever practice you choose, there is one very important objective: to make you more available—more available to another human being, more available to your own heart, more available to the moment, more available to the world, more available to the divine (whatever you want to call the divine). Yogic sexuality isn’t just about sex. It is about our relationship to everything. Sex is just the most natural and powerful entry point.
What does the world crave from you?
Not surprisingly, what we find as we become more available to a richer sexual intimacy is that the same qualities our lover(s) are craving from us in bed and in our relationships are the very same traits the world is wanting from us. The flavors or energies we are withholding in our sexual intimacy would actually make us more trustworthy, magnetic, alive, and attractive if we brought them into our lives fully. Our lack of boldness, our inhibitions, or the full expression of our desires will absolutely show up in the way we relate to our work, our families, and the world.
Something I have seen repeatedly, working with thousands of men, women, and couples of every orientation, is that we all want a deeper sex. We want to love freely, fiercely, and with complete abandon. We want our relating to be a source of profound healing and joy. We want, I believe, even if we don’t quite know it yet, to feel sex as a doorway to the divine.
The problem is not our desires for these things but the fact that our bodies and nervous systems most likely haven’t been trained to give and receive them. I will often hear after workshops, "Why didn’t someone teach me this years ago?" It’s true. Waking up to all the places we could love more fully can be shocking. In our swipe-right/swipe-left-obsessed culture, we're in deep need of this life-changing intimacy. This intimacy starts with a deeper breath, a clearer awareness, a more relaxed nervous system, and an activated heart. From here, the world takes on a new color and range of possibilities. Our bodies become more open and available, and our experience of what love truly is, and can be, changes forever.
Fascinated by yogic sexuality? Here's how to combine tantra, yoga, and meditation for sexual empowerment.
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For the better part of a decade, John Wineland, an LA–based men's group facilitator, speaker, and teacher, has been guiding both men and women in the realms of life purpose, relational communication, sexual intimacy, and embodiment. Known for his groundbreaking work with men, John travels worldwide teaching his vision of embodied men's work and deep relational practice. In 2014, he founded the New Men’s Work Project, which has attracted men from around the world looking to develop as leaders in their relationships and communities. The project is committed to the staggering goal of creating 1,000 men's groups worldwide in the next 10 years and has already supported trainings and groups throughout Europe and the United States. John's clients include entrepreneurs, leading thinkers in the world of personal development and entertainment, Ted speakers, and creative leaders in Hollywood.
John brings a multifaceted approach, which is both energetic and highly practical, to his workshops and experiential coaching sessions. John's embodiment-driven teaching draws from not only over 30 years of experience of his own Buddhist meditative practice but from the deep lineages of Vajrayana, tantra, and Kundalini yoga, as well as the Taoist traditions of Iron Shirt Qigong, to create a profound experience for men and women longing to express their deepest desires with open, fierce, and loving hearts.