Yoga is a holistic practice that treats the mind, body and spirit as one. And as sexuality is evident in the body and mind, it is also governed by yogic principles. The primary principle that deals with sexuality in yogic philosophy and practice is “Brahmacharya”. The definition of this yogic concept roughly corresponds with “preservation of vital force through abstinence from sexual activity”. Some take this to mean that one should abstain as much as possible from all sexual activity, while others may interpret this to mean to abstain from sexual misconduct such as infidelity or homosexuality or other forms of deviation from “normal” sexuality.
Yet another interpretation may be observed in tantric yoga, which approves of all forms of sexual behavior, with the purpose of using the energy released during intercourse as a means to reach enlightenment. The Kundalini energy dormant at the base of the spine, once awakened, travels upwards to the crown of the head and the yogi experiences ultimate bliss, Samadhi, or unity with the divine.
All yogic exercises are aimed at releasing this dormant energy and directing it toward the crown of the head. Asanas (yogic postures), Pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation all help the yogi achieve this union of Shakti (earth/female) energy with Shiva (heaven/male) principle.
Similarly, Tantric yoga advises the use of certain poses after orgasm to bring the energy upward and retain it within the yogi’s organism for the purpose of enlightenment. As soon as the yogi feels the first wave of orgasm, immediately the yogi retains the energy, up the spine towards the crown of the head. The yogic poses that best help to achieve this result are the backbends: Camel, bow, fish, cobra, and full wheel.
After the backbend it is appropriate to counterbalance with a forward bend. This spinal flexing and rounding resembles the moves taught in Kundalini yoga, which aims to profoundly awaken the dormant energy at the base of the spine.
A yogi above all guards their vital life force and does not allow this precious energy to be wasted. Therefore anyone unaware of or unable to retain the energy released during sexual intercourse should practice abstinence, unless the intention is for reproduction.
Noha Sayed Alahl is a certified Hatha Yoga teacher and has been practicing Yoga since 2002.