The Yoga of Life: Practicing Pleasure

June 18, 2018 | By More

By Tracy Montgomery

 

Experiencing pleasure floods our systems with endorphins and hormones that alter our blood chemistry to enhance our brain power, elevate our mood, encourage bonding and connection, and boost our immune system. Pleasure is how humans thrive.

And yet so many of us limit our pleasure. Our genetic predisposition towards concern for safety has been emphasized by a culture that labels pleasure as frivolous, unnecessary or ‘bad’  and teaches us that that to be ‘good’, we must work hard and suppress our desires.

I invite you to remember that you were born a pleasure-seeker. You were born wanting – nourishment, warmth, connection. As an infant you instinctively moved towards that which would help you flourish, and you had no shame in asking for it.

Reclaiming pleasure through mindful practice invites us to flourish. Choosing pleasure can remap the brain for positive bias, integrating a sense of wellness, aliveness and safety in the body, and counteracting the chronic stress epidemic in our culture today.

It starts with deciding that pleasure is important, and then it’s about expanding our awareness through sensory development and mindfulness. As we expand our sense of embodiment – that first person awareness of ourselves from the inside out, we learn to trust our own inner voice. When we know what we want, we can yes to it. When we feel worthy, we can say no to what we don’t want. When we can trust our pleasure, we can be open to new experiences and expand relationships with our lovers, our children, our coworkers, our mothers.

As with any mindfulness practice, as we reclaim pleasure we become more nonjudgmental and develop equanimity. We learn to embrace what’s actually happening in the moment, rather than being focused on what we think should happen. We come to know and love ourselves and to understand our connection to All That Is.

Mindful Pleasure Yoga Practice can be as simple as 1-2-3. Set an intention to look for pleasure, use all your senses to fully experience it, and then take a few moments to notice where and how you feel the pleasure in your body, savouring and installing the experience.

Take a few moments to consider what is pleasurable for you and then mindfulness in; really take in the experience, noticing what is happening in the moment, letting go of what you thought it might be, or any need for it to be different. Give yourself permission to take the pleasure life is offering you.

Here are two different Pleasure Yoga Practices you can try:

A Cup of Tea Pleasure Yoga: Place your whole attention on the preparation and drinking of cup of your favourite tea. Hear the hum of the kettle as it heats up; anticipate the taste as you choose the flavour; inhale the crisp scent of the tea leaves as you open the container; pay attention to your body as you wait for the kettle to whistle; notice how the water pours into your cup; watch as the tea steeps into the hot water; feel the warmth as you cradle the cup in your hands; taste and savour the first sip; swirl the flavour on your tongue; feel the warm liquid slip down your throat; notice how the last sip compares to the first. As you set your cup down, notice what’s happening in your body. Be present to all the pleasure to be found in a simple cup of tea.

Mindful Erotic Self-pleasuring Yoga Practice: Raising our erotic energy is a powerful way to access our pleasure. When we shift the focus of our self-touch to pleasure and let go of goals or expectations, we can drop more fully into our bodies, relaxing into pleasure. Creating a safe and inviting atmosphere, focusing on sensation rather than fantasy, breathing into the core of the body, choosing a new position and touching yourself differently; all simple ways of connecting to yourself in the moment , accessing pleasure and opening to possibility.

Connecting mindfully to the power of our pleasure invites us to feel our aliveness, to feel ourselves as embodied, connected and whole. Pleasure is necessary.

©2018 Tracy Montgomery is a somatic sexuality educator who offers erotic learning to those who want to expand their capacity for pleasure, love and joy, heal sexual dysfunction or the wounds of sexual abuse, and explore the intersection of sex and spirit. She works privately with individuals and couples, facilitates the Ottawa Snuggle Salon and offers interactive workshops on healthy sexuality. You can reach her by email: tracy@tracymontgmery.ca or phone: 613-413-1216

Category: Articles, Fitness & Bodyworks

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