When an erection is difficult to produce and sustain what are the treatment options, Viagra or yoga?
Erectile dysfunction’s major causes are stress, lack of exercise and unhealthy diet. Yoga, the ancient practice of healing and awareness, is most commonly known to decrease stress and to encourage a healthy lifestyle. Based on recent studies, yoga is also capable of decreasing the risk of erectile dysfunction.
The nervous and cardiovascular systems are involved in creating and sustaining an erection. Both systems do not function properly when stressed or under pressure. Therefore, deep relaxation allows the nerve impulses to relax the muscle tissues around the penis’ arteries so the arteries open and blood can flow into the organ, causing an erection.
Viagra debuted in 1998 and Bob Dole made erectile dysfunction a topic of conversation for the first time. Thirty percent of men suffer from it but rarely discuss it.
Viagra, medically known as Sildenafil, is a pill prescribed to treat erectile dysfunction by increasing blood flow to the penis during sexual stimulation. The increase in blood flow allows men to sustain an erection. It also aids men suffering from pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), which causes the right side of the heart to work harder than left.
Most recently, Viagra has been prescribed to decrease the effects of altitude sickness, mostly in rock climbers or individuals descending from high altitudes without the appropriate amount of time to adapt. Side effects include headache, heartburn, diarrhea, feeling flushed, nosebleeds, difficulty sleeping, numbness or burning in the hands, muscle aches, changes in vision and sensitivity to light.
Anxiety and stress interfere with the ability of blood to flow naturally into the penis, but practicing yoga can be a deeply relaxing experience, which lowers stress levels and anxiety. In 1999, a study in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology measured anxiety levels in 50 medical students. Consequently, the students began to practice yoga, which significantly decreased their levels of anxiety.
In a study published in 2000 in the Journal of the Association of Physicians of India, researchers had 42 men with angina (a heart disease causing chest pain) eat a heart-healthy diet, participate in moderate aerobic exercise and practice yoga. After one year, the group who practiced yoga experienced fewer angina attacks, lowered their cholesterol and lost more weight in comparison to the control group.
Yoga poses that develop focus and cardiovascular strength are best to heal and prevent erectile dysfunction.
Postures such as standing forward bend (Uttanasana), bound angle pose (Baddha Konasana), head-to-knee pose (Janu Sirsasana), seated forward fold (Paschimottanasana) and floor bow pose (Dhanurasana) increase blood flow to the pelvic area, discipline the mind and enhance focus, giving men the tools they need to perform in bed.
“Eagle pose (Garudasana) has constriction and retraction of the pelvis area, but I believe in the holistic approach, the whole package of yoga is good,” said Keegan Begley, yoga instructor at CorePower Yoga in Boulder.
Lara Barber, Principle Based Partner Yoga™ instructor and practitioner, teaches a style of partner yoga which integrates the body, heart, mind, spirit connection amongst individuals through the use of 11 principals: union, trust, compassion, creativity, touch, balance, intimacy, silence, grounding, surrender and community.
“Any restorative and relaxing breath postures would be a huge benefit for people suffering from erectile dysfunction. Some specific practices that we incorporate in Principe Based Partner Yoga are: back to back seated meditation, forward fold massage, shared final relaxation pose (Savasana), simple back to back supportive back bend and forward fold, and yin-yang forward fold,” said Barber.
“Practicing yoga is intimate but not romantic, so it’s a good addition to a relationship; however most guys are not into it,” said Begley.
Yoga supports a healthy lifestyle by decreasing the desire to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes and eat junk food.
Overall, yoga promotes mindful eating and living, which boosts the health of men’s nervous and cardiovascular systems, enhances men’s ability to relax and heightens cardiovascular fitness.
“Having a body based practice also flushes stagnant energy out of the body and invites fresh prana and life force into our being. I believe that by sharing this with your partner you unavoidably meet on the same page and can build a relationship with a common shared interest,” said Barber.
Hope Nartonis grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but now studies journalism at CU-Boulder. She adores yoga, the outdoors, lululemon athletica and the Boulder community. She loves to educate her community by writing about yogic philosophy and discoveries.
Editor: Maja Despot
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