The Sex of Yoga & the Joy of Everyday Life.

Via on Feb 13, 2011
Warrior 2 Brooks Hall
If I am plugged into the energy of my body—including pelvic energy, is it okay to say that I am "turned on"? If so, then I'm turned on in this Warrior 2 yoga pose.

I don’t want a sexually cleansed life.

When I was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a visiting artist gave a talk, standing strong and eyes shining in her tight black jeans. She said that her sexuality wasn’t just in her art or in her bedroom. She said that what she did in her life turned her on, and that talking to us about her passion in life made her excited—not just happy or generally energized, no. She felt it between her legs. Excited. Turned on while talking to a group of art students in the photography department. This was a totally new idea to me at the time, that life might turn someone on like that.

I remember discovering my nipples hardening in Warrior 2 (I was/am fascinated with how this yoga pose—shown in the above picture—activates the energy of my body!), and another time seeing a guy trying to persuade his boner to go down after a hands-on adjustment from the teacher in a Mysore-style (self-guided) yoga class. Yoga can be exciting on many levels.

Is sex totally removed from yoga and everyday life? Sometimes it seems as if that is what’s supposed to be true.

(I think that this false separation of sexuality from our experience of ourselves makes us more vulnerable to manipulation by sex in advertising. Maybe if we want less sexy ads we need to embrace our sexy selves…)

One time a yoga teacher started class with a question about whether we masturbate or not. After a dramatic pause, he shared that he hoped that we do, just so we are regularly touching (I know it’s a pun.) that joy in life. …especially if we are not regularly enjoying sex with someone else.

Touch your joy, people!

How did we get here, after all (…a sexual union, perhaps?)? And doesn’t sexual energy sustain us long after we are created?

Life apart from sex seems absolutely absurd. Is it not present as we live, breathe, work, do yoga? I think that we trick ourselves into thinking that this or that experience is not sexual. Sexuality is a current that runs through everything. Would I like to have some sex with my coffee? Well, I couldn’t very well have coffee without all of the precious sex that created all of the people and plants that came together (pun?) to make this miracle happen, could I?

And why does framing something apart from a sexual context make it seem more presentable or serious?

It’s okay with me that writing, or yoga practice turns me on. Sex energy is a current that flows as a part of all experiences. I can tune it out and tell myself that sex is not present in this or that, but really… It’s just not true.

Some descriptions of yogic practices have to do with managing sexual energy, for example in Moola Bandha, The Master Key, Swami Buddhananda says, “From both the scientific and spiritual view, moola bandha” … “allows one to direct sexual energy either upward for spiritual development, or downward to enhance marital relations.”

Sex permeates life; we can use sexual energy for sex, or we can use it to fuel other passions like our good work in the world, but this energy is working in the background of all of life’s activities.

Might as well enjoy it.

(Resisting the presence of sex in yoga and life is becoming tiresome to me.)

I like sexual energy in yoga and life. I don’t want a sexually cleansed life—it’s a lie, anyway.

* This article is fueled by sexual energy. *

About Brooks Hall

Brooks Hall is a Yogic Muse from Chicago, Illinois. In this capacity she teaches Yoga, writes about Yoga, and generally enjoys it. You can find her at: brookshall.blogspot.com.

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24 Responses to “The Sex of Yoga & the Joy of Everyday Life.”

  1. Kimberly Johnson kajyoga says:

    I love this Brooks- a lot of insight here. I am curious about "sexually cleansed life" and where that came from.

    I am really dissatisfied with dialogue around "brahmacharya" because people try to tame it down and say it is not
    abstinence but sexual responsibility. But overall yoga classrooms have become "religious" atmospheres when it comes
    to sex- sh! (I think it's awesome your teacher brought up masturbation.) We know all about anatomy, but sexual anatomy isn't included. This is a goldmine and landmine of a topic, that I hope will revoutionize the next decade in yoga and the ongoing dynamic towards feminine leadership.

    Well done!

    • Brooks Hall Brooks_Hall says:

      Thanks, kajyoga! As for the words, "sexually cleansed life," it's just my way of saying that I think that it does violence to ourselves to try to rid ourselves of the sexual aspect of experience.

  2. Great article, Brooks.

    Posting this to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Bob W.
    Yoga Editor

  3. Great piece, Brooks! For me, when I think about wanting representations of diverse bodies in yoga, it doesn't have anything to do with wanting current ads to be less sexy. It's about broadening what that looks like, which is why I love how you challenge us to "embrace our sexy selves." Thanks for this!

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by theyogatrap and Bob Weisenberg, Kimberly Johnson. Kimberly Johnson said: I'm currently reading http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/02/the-sex-of-yoga-and-joy-everyday-life/ so great! [...]

  5. I love my practice! It brings out my sensual self! Glad to read this article!

  6. Joe Sparks says:

    As in every other area of our lives, it does not make sense to base our actions on our feelings, but rather on our best thinking. This is true,even though we have been taught that we are not supposed to think in the areas of love and sex, and have been systematically manipulated by many sources into acting on our feelings. Any time a person experiences sexual arousal without first having decided to, it s almost certainly a restimulation of an old distress experience which contains sexual feelings.

    • Brooks Hall Brooks Hall says:

      Joe, I enjoyed pondering the possibility of someone intending an arousal. I think I held an unexamined belief about being at the mercy of the forces of love and arousal, and I like the concept that someone might intend something for me rather than it just being the result of an automatic chemical/hormonal firing. It makes it seem more possible for humans to connect.

  7. Kimberly Johnson kajyoga says:

    @Joe- I totally disagree.
    "Any time a person experiences sexual arousal without first having decided to, it s almost certainly a restimulation of an old distress experience which contains sexual feelings."
    There is nothing mental/ rational about arousal. It is a physiological response. Do you remember the first time you got turned on? I do, it was in the movie Breakin'- I was 9. I didn't know that was what was happening then, but looking back I do.
    That had nothing to do with old stress, it was a physiological/hormonal repsonse.
    Conscious action is based on feelings and thoughts- and hopefully a deeper level of gut knowing. If you only act based on rational thought, you will not be happy. If you only act of feeling, you will feel scattered, confused and neurotic. There is a deeper place of knowing beyond the mind.

  8. Joe Sparks says:

    All humans need physical contact with other human beings in a regular and continuing way. This has been confused by our culture with sexual or erotic activity and feelings. Certainly the two can occur together, but they are completely separate phenomena.

  9. LanceC says:

    I really appreciate your authentic voice. For me, a tantric yoga practice made whole the embrace of the human body, To diminish the power of sexual energy is blasfamy of the human body. Celebrate it!

  10. Kathryn says:

    I enjoyed this post as well as the comments, this is an important issue in yoga and life and one that I am constantly grappling with. To me it makes sense that there is a blurry line between sexual energy and spiritual energy since nothing in our system is really separate. We have such weird cultural notions of sex in the West, but in essence sex is union, linking with divine energy through another person. It's not dirty or sinful as seems to be the mindset in so many religions. Maybe religion has traditionally been so scared of sex because it puts the power of co-creative union into the bodies and hearts of the people and out of the hands of priests, rabbis, gurus, etc. I think problems can happen when sexual pleasure is pursued purely for physical satisfaction with no regard for emotions or human connection, but if sex happens mindfully it can be a powerful vehicle for love. As Brooke points out, every living thing is here because of reproduction- it's obviously a natural function of the universe and I like to think of it as a gift given to creation by the creator.

    • Joe Sparks says:

      Human beings are sexual creatures. Sexual reproduction was an important evolutionary step, and it was passed to us along our branch of evolution. Sex is part of being human, and like every other part it is good. Sex is an instinctual part of being human, and like other instincts it is under the command of intelligence, which evolved much later. Sex could be and will be a good, interesting, and enjoyable part of being human and being with other humans, if we can heal the distresses that interfere with this happening. Unless we heal these distresses and get them out of our way, they will continually interfere with our being close to each other and with our being able to be sexual with each other awarely. Often when we are sexually close, even with the individual we are closest and most committed to, our minds do not stay present with the person we are with.Rather we get triggered to the point that we are pulled into some frozen images from our distresses. When this happens, we are denied the real sexual closeness we are seeking.

  11. candicegarrett says:

    oh dear, I'll never hear "joy" the same way, LOL

  12. [...] Report, Confessions of a Yogic Prude) that included a response to my article at Elephant Journal (The Sex of Yoga and Joy of Everyday Life). A wonderful conversation also ensued on his [...]

  13. [...] week, I wrote to you from a turned on, life lovin’ place. (I invite you to see The Sex of Yoga and Joy of Everyday Life, if that sort of message would better suit you, today.) Today I write to you from a necrophilic, [...]

  14. [...] The Sex of Yoga & the Joy of Everyday Life. [...]

  15. Lynsey Sipla says:

    Its hard to find good website on this topic. And you really looks you know what you are writing about. I have bookmarked your blog, will be coming back again. Just don’t let the quality of your website fell down.

  16. [...] that go beyond, yet still include me and my experiences with yoga. I’ve written about the sex of yoga, suicide, sexy yoga, vaginas, mulabandha, slutwalking, pain, feeling like doo-doo, and everything [...]

  17. Sarah Louisignau says:

    Thank you Thank you Thank you Brooks for this article!

  18. Joe Sparks says:

    There are a lot of distresses that get attached to being physically close–sexual distress, among other things–and so we become scared and yet fascinated. Are you fascinated with sex? This frozen fascination makes us unable to think well about sex, or closeness, and some of us get very confused in the area and are not safe to be with. Being close to people can be dangerous. You know how awkward you can feel about being close to someone. Who do you get to lean against without their wondering about you or thinking you have some odd expectations? People simply need the contact with each other. We learn about each other from simply leaning against each other.We learn things that can't easliy be communicated in words.

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