Yoga: Improve Your Mind, Body and Sex Life

Photo by theformfitness on Pexels.com

I stumbled upon a video from Yoga with Adrienne – a YouTuber known for her feel-good style of yoga – back in 2015. My body needed movement, my mind needed sanity and yoga seemed to be the perfect fit. I quickly began to fall in love with the sense of accomplishment, stillness and the simple joy I felt as I rolled up my mat.

I knew yoga was doing something inside of me – but I wasn’t entirely sure what or how – so I went to work learning more about my new favorite form of exercise.

This was my likely annoying “omg yoga is amazing” stage of my journey. Yoga was (and often still is) my answer for almost everything.


Have a headache? – You should do YOGA!

Cramps? – YOGA

Indigestion? – Definitely, yoga.

I was quickly realizing that yoga is more than just a fantastic way to move your body, it also provides a ton of other health benefits that I was starting to realize in my own life. Here’s just a few of the benefits I started feeling within the first month of starting a consistent practice:

1. I became more mindful and connected to each moment.

Ironically, mindfulness starts with the body – it is the art of paying attention. You are paying attention to your body fluctuations and sensations, all without judgement or the desire to change anything. By focusing on your body and your breath during yoga- all while balancing – you quiet the distractions around you and become more attuned to the present. Concentrating your gaze on a focal point during certain poses also helps to settle your thoughts further and allow for further introspection.

2. It increased my flexibility

Yoga will gradually increase your flexibility. Each pose will make you a bit more flexible, able-bodied and aware of your own abilities and limitations. Regular yoga practice improves your posture too – it’s an added bonus – especially for those of us who regularly sit on a computer.

3. It’s a great tool for stress management

One of the biggest benefits for me was the reduction of the overall stress on my mind and body. Before I started consistently practicing, I had been experiencing a lack of mental focus and stress that was presenting as physical pain. Yoga helped me to calm my mind and body – while strengthening my core – which allowed me to cultivate a physical and mental stillness. Maintaining a daily practice also helps to establish a ritual that offers a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

4. Yoga practice made for more intimacy & sex

Yoga boosted my libido – big time. A regular practice helps to tone, relax and strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor – helping to achieve stronger orgasms – yes please! Sex and yoga are both mind & body experiences – so the mindfulness practiced in yoga translates over to sex. You become present in the moment – bringing consciousness to your breath and body – and making you more aware of your physical sensations. This increased awareness of your own body also helps you to be more aware of your partners breath and body – it’s a win/win.

Photo by Samuel Silitonga on Pexels.com

The flexibility, balance, mindfulness and sensuality of yoga makes it an amazing choice for those looking to improve their mind, body or sex life. My home yoga practice has taught me to accept myself and those around me with openness and light – allowing for a more connected existence. If you’re looking for low-impact but high-reward movement – the yoga mat is certainly a great place to start!


Hi, I’m Rachel (you can call me Rae), Founder of The Pillow Talk Press. I’m a Sociologist. Writer. Sex-Positive Advocate. Master Woodworker. Artist. Yogi. Sports Mom. Cancer Survivor. Ninja Kicking Depression One Day at a Time ❤︎

Self Robbery

Some may call the following words the musings of a mom on the verge of a breakdown, I disagree. These words being openly expressed after years of avoiding pain and struggle offer the tiniest sliver of hope, even in the midst of despair.


Most days I’m afraid of myself…

I’m afraid of the monster inside of me that gets off on sabotaging me from reaching my goals.

I’m afraid of the depression defiantly returning and leaving me with even fewer options than before.

I’m afraid of disappointing everyone around me.

I’m afraid of becoming an embarrassment to my family.

I’m afraid of being alone with my thoughts.

I’m afraid of pushing my boundaries only to discover I’m not capable of much more than survival.

I’m afraid to speak openly, because then people would actually know the kind of person I am.

I afraid of my children growing older because every single day brings them closer to realizing the truth about their mom being a complete failure.

I afraid my husband will replace me with someone less broken.

I’m afraid of my parents blaming themselves for the disappointment I have become.

I’m afraid of dying because my deepest thoughts would be discovered.

I’m afraid of never realizing how much these fears are holding me hostage.

I’m afraid of never learning how to save myself.

Recovering From Self-Sabotage

How I stopped being an asshole and fucking myself over.

I’m a recovering self-sabotager — maybe that’s too generous — it might be safer to just say I’m recovering from myself.

Procrastination — check

Over-complicating Life — check

Starting more projects than I capable of finishing — check

I’m pretty sure I have a black belt in self-sabotage. It wasn’t until after I had alienated myself from almost everyone who loved me and spent a few years wallowing in self-pity (and a whole lot of Ben & Jerry’s) that I recognized my self-deprecating patterns. My life had become entirely reactive and I was not only failing at achieving any of the goals I had set for myself — I had entirely stopped setting goals. I was no longer invested in taking action because I was too busy trapped in my tangled thoughts. These thought patterns would just take over and I hadn’t even realized it.

Intellectually I understood self-sabotage — but that did nothing to help overcome my subconscious desire to fuck myself over.

The good news was that my self-sabotaging could be corrected —yay! The bad news is that I already knew it would take a whole lot of work to untangle the two (or five) competing voices in my monkey brain — those assholes were loud and they enunciated E-V-E-R-Y W-O-R-D.

The first thought pattern I knew I needed to tackle was my massively destructive fear of dreaming. It had been a long time since I had allowed myself to even have goals and dreams — somewhere along the way I became convinced that floating through life aimlessly was less painful than failure. I was afraid to even consider the endless possibilities out there — why would the universe have anything good in store for me.

Worse yet — I had convinced my husband that being a “dreamer” was frivolous, irresponsible and immature. I had been projecting my sabotagey-ness all over him and trying to avoid pain on his behalf too — or maybe I’m slightly narcissistic and him not achieving his dreams would have been a blow to my ego too?

Either way — I’m an asshole.

A somewhat self-aware asshole — but still an asshole — and I really didn’t want to be an asshole anymore.

Just Decide That Enough is Enough

I slowly began making different choices — first in my brain and then eventually with my actions. Instead of limiting myself with the belief that dreaming is reckless and a complete waste of time, I re-positioned it as an opportunity to see how different choices would unfold. Now, I’ve realized my dreams have the ability to be my path — as long as I listen and follow through.

So, after years of telling myself and my husband that all dreams were frivolous — I’ve made dreaming part of my daily routine. Every morning I sit down with a blank page and no distractions.

Now that dreaming has become a part of my life again — the thought of tackling my other self-sabotaging patterns and behaviors is much less terrifying.

…now I’m off to dream…

 

Depression, Sex and Shame

Making pleasure part of your recovery.

For eight years we had worked really hard to disprove the myth that marriage ruins sex. Before depression followed me into our bedroom like a cartoonish rain cloud, we had a sex life that I couldn’t have imagined my younger self having.

Somehow my depression and the accompanying shame convinced me that I wasn’t only the worst human in history, but also unworthy of pleasure. My husband remembers a time when I asked him “are we sex addicts” after realizing it had been a particularly long stretch without a night off. These doubts and questions I’d never even considered were gnawing at me and I didn’t have the awareness to stop and ask where that voice came from. Depression is a dirty liar and this was just the beginning of the damage it would do.

When depression comes to stay, sex goes away.

Over the next two years those whispers of depression turned my once healthy sexual desires into a sinister trigger for shame. The shame I felt seemed almost inexplicable — how could I go from being proud of my healthy sex life to hyper-critical and ashamed in a matter of months? EVERYTHING became overwhelming, emotionally draining and spirit sucking.

It took years to realize that my depression had not only been a great liar, but it found my weaknesses and soft spots and expertly exposed them. Sex was one of my weak spots and served as a perfect way for depression to gain entry. It manipulated my current views on sex and sexuality and brought back all of the feelings I had when I saw the scribbled Sharpie message “Rachel is a SLUT” in the bathroom in high school.

Depression made it so that I no longer knew how to make pleasure a part of my life. I had simply stopped enjoying everything — and there was nothing sexy about that.

If sex and the shame surrounding it was the way depression made it’s debut — could it also be the key to setting my mind free? As it turns out, yes — partially. By placing an emphasis on finding and enjoying pleasure again, my renewed interest in sex was the first sign of my recovery.

As part of my recovery I vowed to focus on the following things to improve my relationship with sex:

  • Mindfulness: Spend time loving yourself — meditation, masturbation, mindfulness. Just do it.
  • Exercise: a fit body (or in my case one that’s on the way to being fit) exudes confidence.
  • Cuddle/Snuggle: If you aren’t in the mood for sex, try to keep physical touch available for yourself and your partner.
  • Don’t force it: Sex is always a choice, never a chore and if you’re lucky it should always end in climax…if it doesn’t — don’t allow the doubt and shame to creep in. You’ll do better next time.
  • Talk: Don’t let sex become an off-limits topic — even when you aren’t having any.

Your brain may be your biggest enemy right now, but it is also your biggest sex organ. Take the time to include intimacy and touch in your recovery efforts — it might just help to undo some of the destructive effects of this devastating disease.

Message To Moms: Stop Suffering In Silence

Don’t let the shame of depression convince you that you aren’t worthy of greatness.

Depression does not discriminate — it doesn’t care if you are young or old, wealthy or poor, a suburban mom with carpool duties or a superstar playing to sold out crowds at Madison Square Garden. It is estimated that 15% of the adult population in the United States will experience depression at some point in their lifetime. That’s a lot of our friends, family & co-workers — living with depression and likely trying to conceal it with the tireless efforts equal to an old pair of overstretched Spanx.

Our current culture of filter-assisted perfection and the pressure to keep up with the Joneses has made opening up about our individual and collective challenges nearly impossible. Is this why moms are much more likely to suffer in silence — battling the stigma mental illness provokes all on their own?

With Mother’s Day coming up, I’ve been reflecting on what being a mom really means. It seems we’ve managed to convince ourselves being a good mom means we fit the mold of a fresh-faced & well-rested iteration of suburban perfection— but it’s about time we call bullshit. The truth is that the best mom’s I know are the ones that allow others to see their faults, keep moving forward and support this collective sisterhood of struggle. When we decide to get honest, we have an opportunity to share our stories of imperfection without being judged. Through sharing we can rewrite the narrative of motherhood on our own terms.

My story is not unique, nor is it thrilling, and it is very much imperfect— which is exactly why it needs to be shared. The carefully curated social media images of my perfect life are phoney-bologna.

Statistically speaking, I know most of you are lying too. Your husband isn’t perfect, you wish your kids came with an off switch, your house isn’t clean and you barely dragged yourself out of bed this morning.

The burden of facing this seemingly overwhelming shame and finally admitting that I suffer from severe depression had been gnawing at me for months. This darkness that slowly closed in on my entire reality took two years of my life — eventually challenging me to wake the eff up and embrace all of my imperfections — but not before forcing me to confront all of the lies I had been telling myself.

“You Go Girl”

When I became a mom I started doing this silly thing — every time I saw another woman out running or walking I would say “you go girl!” It was my way of sending some love out into the world and teaching my kids to acknowledge the efforts of others. Perhaps that little cheer stuck because I was always one of those girls who hid in the bushes during the running portion of soccer practice — sorry coach. To me, these running women were goddesses filled with determination and strength.

Image: MabelAmber via pixabay

I recently realized that many of those running versions of my childhood hero Xena: Warrior Princess are facing the same battles I had been struggling with. But wait— how can these superwomen who don’t just wear athletic clothing — but actually use it for it’s purpose — face the same struggle as me? The answer was simple — because they are human. The increased connectivity we have through social media has created a society afraid of being imperfect, lacking real connection and fearful they just don’t stack up to the images others share on social media. It is all bullshit, but I fell for it. I was convinced these girls on the run had super powers, giving them perfect ponytails and immunity to life’s struggles. Learning I was wrong was one more step to admitting my own truth.

Admitting this illness wasn’t reserved for my suffering alone was exactly what I needed to remove the gag-order depression was using to thrive. I slowly accepted the reality that it wasn’t only me who felt like I was losing the fight with my mind and living with the shame and burden of the façade.

Depression turned me into a selfish asshole.

In my mind, it was a disease reserved for me and no one else could possibly understand. It was easy enough to believe since the shame of admitting imperfection kept my secret hidden away. What a sneaky mother f’er. Little by little, after recognizing my struggle was not unique, the cloud began to lift. Spring was coming, I started working out and expressing myself creatively again — depression started losing its grip. There was a sense of relief and a bit of self-love, more yoga and playing with my kids and a whole lot more communication between me and my husband. Things felt like they were getting lighter.

I had allowed depression to take over my life for roughly 700 days. It gripped my mind, affected my family and my business and allowed me to live a life of apathy for almost two years. Life will never be the same as it was two years ago, my family is exhausted and forever changed from helping me fight a battle they struggled to understand and I live with the constant threat of depression lurking around the corner. Through all of this I’ve realized those “you go girl” moments mean nothing if I don’t roll down the damn window. Recognizing the efforts of others is great, but doing so while shamefully peering out our own rolled up windows is about as helpful as when our kids “clean” their rooms by shoving everything under their beds and shutting the door.

Image: FlashBuddy via pixabay

It’s about time to put an end to celebrating perfection and instead risk peeing our pants jumping up and down (thanks to my almost 10 lb first child) cheering on those women who are putting in real work to be better versions of themselves. If we were all to share in a few more “you go girl” moments we could build up our collective confidence. Can you imagine if we went from mom-shaming to mom-cheering? Perhaps if we acknowledged that we’re all just making our best effort none of us would be allowing depression to convince us that we aren’t worthy of greatness.