I do Yoga because it Feels like Sex.

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These days, I do yoga because it feels like sex.

I told this to someone recently who said, “Really? You must not have great sex.”

“Maybe,” I admitted, “but could it be that you haven’t had great yoga?”

When I say yoga feels like sex, I don’t mean the penetrating, chaotic, orgasmic side of sex. I mean the pleasure of waking up into an animal body side of sex. The flow of energy in places and spaces aching for action side of sex. The relief of one’s body parts being met with loving focused attention side of sex.

This new relationship with yoga has had unexpected side effects, specifically, sound effects. The sounds are usually so quiet only my own mat or nearest neighbor can hear them. But they are there, sensual and audible.

Along with them comes an experience of freedom in the body, but also of fear in the mind. What will others think? Will they be annoyed? Distracted? Do they think I’m trying to get attention?

Zola Dubnikova, a dance teacher and movement healer, was the first person to encourage me to express the subtle sounds that often accompany pleasure. Before meeting Zola, I didn’t even realize I had subtle sounds. I had thought audible pleasure was reserved for the bedroom or perhaps an exceptional piece of pie. But she was right! When I stopped self-censoring, tiny murmurs began to accompany the pleasure of certain movements.

I began to wonder if sensual sounds have gone the way of so much of our sexual expression—hidden, denied, even disdained.

The more I open to the “yes” of yoga, the more I give voice to the soft poetry of my pleasure. Since learning to welcome these subtle sounds, I’ve noticed how repressing my natural expression actually takes energy—energy I’d prefer to use for expression rather than suppression.

Even more important to me, however, is realizing that when I repress my pleasure, I’m communicating to myself that pleasure is something to be repressed. How can I honestly ask for more pleasure in my life (which I do! I do!) if I’m going to repress it when it’s here? This realization has given me the courage to start this conversation.

For many, yoga is a meditation. Sometimes we hear music, the teacher’s instruction, and the gentle waves of ujjayi. But beneath it all, yoga classes often achieve a sacred silence. Is there an unspoken agreement that sounding our satisfaction would be a class distraction? I don’t want to cost others’ their focus, but I also don’t want to repress my natural expression due to a hypothetical problem.

So I’m wondering: is there a conflict? Do subtle sounds disrupt the sacred silence, or like the synchronized waves of breath, could they deepen it? Sometimes the sound of another’s exhale reminds my own body to breathe. I wonder if it’s possible that we can support each other by sharing the audible reminders that yoga is a practice of allowing, expansion, and release.

Yoga teachers, in asking these questions, I’ve realized it might be helpful to have clear expectations around sound in class. That could mean welcoming students’ subtle sounds or specifying a silent practice.

As students, what do you think about soft vocal allowing? Yours or others’? Have you tried it? Is sound too distracting? Or too stimulating? Perhaps you don’t know what to think or expect. If this is the case, consider giving it a try and see how it feels.

If you need an incentive, did I happen to mention that my yoga practice has begun to feel like sex?

~

Relephant:

Yoga Doesn’t Care: A Disclaimer that should be Posted in every Studio.

~

Author: Leah Pearlman
Image: Author’s own via Larsenphoto.co 
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

 

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Leah Pearlman

Leah Pearlman is an author, illustrator, and coach living in Boulder Colorado. She’s the creator of Dharma Comics. She also is a co-founder of Leadership.Camp, which hosts events in Boulder supporting women and men to step more fully into authentic living and leadership. Finally, she’s a human being, learning every day how to live her own authentic happy life.

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Cognitive Behavioral Teamwork May 18, 2018 2:44pm

So the article is about spontaneous expression, well-disguised as clickbait. OK. Some noise is spontaneous. Judge not. As far as yoga being like sex, I get it, because to me it's the other way around: good sex is like yoga, fully present and utilizing all that one is. OK, thanks and you're welcome.

Mark LaPorta May 18, 2018 2:41pm

Beauty. Thanks.

Trish Ireland May 17, 2018 5:48pm

Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodaha. Yoga is the calming of the modifications of the mind. In yoga we are working towards being unmoved by people, situations and things. Noise of anykind should not affect an expereinced practitioner. He or she could meditate and practice asana in the middle of a crowded street and it would not affect him/her one bit, so your sighs of pleasure are mearly energy in the room. However, most people are coming to yoga as beginers in this sense, (even those who can hold advanced postures) I suppose as theachers we have to examine the most effective way to teach stillness of mind in an unstill world. Does that mean giving them a sancuatry free from distractions in which to practice the feeling of silence and stillness? Or does it mean pushing them into a place of chaos and challenging them to remain still within it? I think BOTH. As a teacher I feel it is my job to provide a safe and quiet space for things to happen... and if things get weird, than by god lets explore the weird! When I hear audible sounds in my classes, it cues me to remind my students to return to their breath and abyasa viagrya- don't get attached to this particular feeling, because it will pass. Pleasure and Pain are one in the same in this sense, meerly feelings that will change with the situation you find yourself in. All that being said: I've totally cried, laughed out loud, made wimpers and moans, said "oof" and all kinds of things aloud in class, it's all natural and ways of these things moving through you I don't feel bad aout it one bit - becuase THAT would be attachment =).

Charles Gordon May 17, 2018 10:35am

★I­'­v­e m­a­d­e $­70,000 s­o f­a­r t­h­i­s y­e­a­r w­or­k­i­n­g 0­n­l­i­n­e a­n­d ­­I a­­m a f­­u­­l­­l t­­i­­m­­e c­­o­­l­­l­­e­­g­­e s­­t­­u­­d­­e­­n­­t a­­n­­d j­­u­­s­­t w­­o­­r­­k­­i­­n­­g f­­o­­r 2 t­­o 3 hou­­r­­s a d­­a­­y I­'­v­e m­a­d­e s­u­c­h g­r­e­a­t m­0­n­e­y­.I am genuinely thankful to and my administrator, I­t­'s' r­e­a­l­l­y u­s­e­r f­r­i­e­n­d­l­y a­n­d I­'­m j­u­s­t s­o h­a­p­p­y t­h­a­t I f­o­u­n­d o­u­t a­b­o­u­t i­t­. So Just Open This Website.... ........ ►► ►►► www.dailycash­­.u­­s­­ᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵ

Sonya Ebers May 16, 2018 7:06am

🍀yes, when your so chilled an in the moment it naturally does happen......to me it shows that people are in the zone an enjoying🍀an it’s contagious for others to just relax an breathe🍀of course if it was someone really loud an over the top it would be kind of awkward!!.....an interesting article....Thankyou Leah

Katharine Pizzuti Bell May 15, 2018 4:54pm

I loved this article, and as someone who has heard and expressed these subtle verbal releases during classes, I realize their health/mind/emotion/spirit benefit. YES!!

Hillel Gazit May 15, 2018 4:45pm

"Do subtle sounds disrupt the sacred silence," The nosies that other people do is a part of a group Yoga practice. The music in the background is a part of US Yoga. I prefer the more traditional, music-free, Yoga. Good luck finding that in the US.

Sammy James May 14, 2018 7:51pm

★I­'­v­e m­a­d­e $­70,000 s­o f­a­r t­h­i­s y­e­a­r w­or­k­i­n­g 0­n­l­i­n­e a­n­d ­­I a­­m a f­­u­­l­­l t­­i­­m­­e c­­o­­l­­l­­e­­g­­e s­­t­­u­­d­­e­­n­­t a­­n­­d j­­u­­s­­t w­­o­­r­­k­­i­­n­­g f­­o­­r 2 t­­o 3 hou­­r­­s a d­­a­­y I­'­v­e m­a­d­e s­u­c­h g­r­e­a­t m­0­n­e­y­.I am genuinely thankful to and my administrator, I­t­'s' r­e­a­l­l­y u­s­e­r f­r­i­e­n­d­l­y a­n­d I­'­m j­u­s­t s­o h­a­p­p­y t­h­a­t I f­o­u­n­d o­u­t a­b­o­u­t i­t­. So Just Open This Website.... ........ ►► ►►► www.dailycash­­.u­­s­­ᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵᴵ

Chrissie Keillor May 13, 2018 9:08pm

I’m a yoga teacher and agree, letting the natural sounds go quietly in a home practice is rewarding but I’m not sure I’d encourage the behavior in a vinyasa flow class, especially since that hasn’t been part of my instruction previously. When I’m at home on my own mat or even sighing out an exhale an audible whimper or hum will escape and it’s freeing and resembles a letting go/fleeing of whatever was plaguing me. I just don’t know how you’d reign in the energies of multiples in a 75 minute practice to not get carried away or distracted like you said. Great thought and article! Inspiring too!