Deep, guttural groans, and an atmosphere of orgasmic energy is not quite what I usually experience at a yin yoga class. Which is why the sound of Sensual Yoga piqued my interest.
Described as a fusion of yoga mixed with freestyle, sexy, feminine energy, Sensual Yin Yoga is a yoga class like no other. And no, you don’t have to take off your clothes. The idea is to provide access to a judgment free zone for women to explore their sexy selves, reconnect with their lower chakras, and feel empowered by their sexual energy, all through the transformative practice of yoga.
But this isn’t naked yoga. Nor is it like any traditional yin class I have ever attended. This class is primal, intimate, and yes, very sensual. Cue thigh rubbing, breast caressing and hip thrusting.
So how is this Sensual Yoga related to sex? I have to ask Vanessa the teacher myself.
“I’ve been connecting with friends about sexuality and trauma for a while,” explains Vanessa, “and I thought, how are we not able to express our sexuality?’ Women hold on to a lot of shame, and there isn’t a space for us to talk comfortably. So I’ve started with sex toy parties as a good way to begin the conversation in a light, fun way.”
“I have already started practicing yoga, and the connection to me is quite obvious. Yoga helps you to be present in your body and to shift energy from the genitals, right through the body and into the heart, the emotional release of yoga. There’s such an obvious link to use energy to shift trauma and to rediscover the body. So I combine all that – yoga, visualization – and then create a shakti flow.”
Throughout Vanessa’s class, moving through a very energetic series of cat-cowing, we are encouraged to arch and stretch our backs and heaving out warm sighs of expressive breath freely. We are then invited to lunge forward with our hips, let out an enthusiastic ‘yes!’ if we are so inclined, and listen to our bodies.
What do we need right in that moment? What are our pelvis saying? What do your hips want you to do? While my body tells me to stretch in silence; the girl next to me lets out a vigour cry in confidence. This is our practice, I’ve learned, and there is no incorrect way of getting in touch with our feminine power.
Which is essentially what yoga is all about, right? It takes a while to warm up in a yoga class, and this class was no different. Is my groan as powerful as the girl’s next to me? Am I moving fast enough? Is the teacher going to think I’m a bad yogi if I just move into downward dog instead? These are all the thoughts going through my head, and to be honest, it is no difference than a regular Vinyasa class.
“If you’re completely new to this sort of space, then of course, nerves will be there. But that’s why we provide this space: to get you out of your comfort zone,” explains Vanessa.
After class, I’ve felt less rigid and more relaxed. I can’t say I experienced a drastic shift in energy, but that’s probably why the class is divided as a 5-part series. As with any yoga practice, Sensual Yin Yoga requires persistence and commitment.
“Start with your intuition and listen to yourself on a feeling, sensing level, instead of encouraging the mind to make all of the decisions,” Vanessa comments on how to cultivate more sexual energy in our daily yoga practice.
“Work your intuition like it’s a muscle. Breathe before you make a decision and place your hands on your womb – or your gut if you don’t have a womb – and breath into that and ask the questions you need to. See how that feels in your body.’ says Vanessa.
“Look to enjoying sensual experiences like a bath, taking your time to eat dinner, and practicing presence and gratitude and sensuality as much as you can.”
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