Have you ever been getting it on but you couldn’t stop thinking thought about your to-do list? Or how irritating it is when your partner leaves their socks on the floor? Have you ever just gone numb and gotten it over with because you couldn’t flip the switch from laundry and email you, to Sex Superstar you? These are all common experiences for people living in the digital age and trying to get it all done. Work, family, social life, fitness, housekeeping, errands, and sleep all vie for their slice of our day. Is it any wonder that sex sometimes has trouble pulling our focus?
It’s hard to have out of this world sex when you’re anxious, overwhelmed, and tired. If your daily obligations are sapping your sexual energy, you may benefit from a tantric breathing practice. Tantra, like many Eastern spiritual practices emphasizes conscious belly breathing. According to Harvard Medical School, deep breathing “can slow the heartbeat and lower or stabilize blood pressure.” You’re more likely to have fun in bed when you’re not frazzled.
Tantra has been practiced in the East for millennia but only recently embraced by the West, and not without some deviation from its original intent. Most Westerners associate it with marathon sex sessions where either nobody gets to come or everyone has a four hour orgasm. The truth is that Tantra is a collection of ancient texts, some of which deal with sexuality as a spiritual pursuit. But everyone, regardless of their spiritual orientation, can benefit from tantric breathing practices. And by benefit, I mean have better sex more often.
How Does Tantric Breathing Make Sex Better?
Tantric breathing techniques can help us in 3 ways:
- Bringing us into the present
By returning our focus to breathing, we return our mind to the present moment. This allows us to fully experience the sex we’re having right now, without distracting thoughts about what we didn’t get done today and what we need to get done tomorrow.
- Integrating our mind, body and spirit
When we treat sex as a purely physical act, we have to be in just the right mood to enjoy it. When we recognize it as a physical expression of our mental and spiritual truth, we can work with whatever our whole self is giving us.
Tired from a long day? We need restorative, pampering sex. Dealing with pain somewhere in the body? We need healing touch and loving energy directed at our trouble spot. Feeling anxious about work stuff? We may crave the release of active, sweaty lovemaking or rough bedroom play. Whatever we’re experiencing, tantric breathing helps us acknowledge and honor it, rather than disconnect and go through the motions.
- Allowing us to fully appreciate our lover
Tantra emphasizes unity, both of the individual with themselves and with their lover. It is, in essence, a way to worship the divine in our partner. The mindfulness of breathing helps us dwell on what we like about the person we’re naked with and what feels good. Minor annoyances can be allowed to fade into the background.
If you’re ready to bring a mindfulness practice into your bedroom, read on for some basic exercises.
Tantric Breathing 101
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you’re familiar with the instruction to bring your awareness to your breath. This simple shift of consciousness can return you from yesterday’s unpaid credit card bill and tomorrow’s vet appointment to the present moment. So let’s do it now. Get quiet and take a comfortable seated position. Cross-legged works well.
Exercise 1 – Bellows Breath:
Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Take a moment to feel the natural rhythm of your breath. Then move into Bellows Breath: inhale and exhale through your nose 27 times. These breaths should be vigorous and energetic. The belly will move out as you breathe in. As you breathe out, feel the muscles in your pelvic floor (known in yogic practice by its Sanskrit name Mula Bandha) rising up, bringing blood flow to your sexual organs.
Lots of people begin to feel aroused when they breathe like this. (Some are even able to achieve orgasm!) After 27 breaths, inhale to your full capacity and hold the breath while you engage your lower abdominal muscles.
Relax your belly and rest your palms face up on your thighs. On an exhale, bring your right thumb and forefinger together (this is called a mudra) and bring the point they make to the center of your chest. Visualize light and love emanating from your heart out through your entire body and all around you. Allow it to envelop you and anyone with you. You are now practicing Tantra.
Make this exercise part of your regular routine and you will likely begin feeling calmer and more sensual.
Exercise 2 – Ocean Breath:
Here’s another exercise to do when you’re trying to transition from the workday to the bedroom:
Relax your jaw and allow it to naturally drop open. Breathe in and out through your open mouth. (This alone can cause you to feel super sexy.) As you breathe, allow your chest to expand with your inhalations and contract with your exhalations, in a similar fashion to the Cat Cow Pose in yoga. Picture your breath traveling down the front of your body on the way in and up your back on the way out, forming a cyclical wave of energy. Continue allowing your chest to open and close with your breath. Ride that wave.
If you’re really want to awaken your sexual desire, do this kneeling with knees apart and a pillow under your pelvis. Begin gently contracting the pelvic floor muscles on the exhale. This will again direct blood flow to your sex organs. Enjoy and explore the sensations. As you ride the wave and undulate your body, grind the pillow. Keep breathing through your open mouth. If you want to take this even further, read our article on Solo Spiritual Sex.
Done regularly, these exercises can calm you, improve focus, lower blood pressure, and put you in better touch with your sexual energy. Enjoy your practice.
If you want to explore more about tantric sex, read our Beginner’s Guide to Tantric Sex!