How Yoga Can Be Helpful in ED Treatment
Lifestyle changes can help you in physical, mental and spiritual aspects, including sexual function. One of the most versatile practices you can take up is a daily yoga routine. If you're suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED), yoga can help address some of the anxiety and frustration that accompany it.
Some of the greatest benefits of daily yoga are increased flexibility, more muscle strength and relaxation. Using controlled breathing and movements helps move your body in a way that releases physical and mental tension. You don't have to perform complicated or difficult yoga poses to reap the rewards, either. Practicing yoga for just a few minutes per day can provide dozens of benefits, such as increased energy and reduced anxiety.
Of course, yoga shouldn't be the only tool in your ED treatment toolbox, but it can be a great addition.
The causes of ED that yoga can help ease
Erectile dysfunction is a complicated condition influenced by several physical factors, such as hormones, nerves and blood vessels, and other ailments, such as diabetes and hypertension.
"A lot of the physical causes of ED relate to circulation and blood pressure," said Britney Blair, Psy.D., co-founder of Lover, a sexual wellness app that helps men with ED.
Poor blood flow throughout your body greatly increases the likelihood of ED. If blood can't get to your penis, you can't get erect, and if this happens on a regular basis, it'll interfere with your love life.
"As yoga improves cardiovascular fitness, this helps to increase general circulation, including to the blood vessels in the penis," said Carolina Goncalves, superintendent pharmacist at Pharmica, a London-based online pharmacy with a specialty in managing erectile dysfunction.
'As yoga improves cardiovascular fitness, this helps to increase general circulation, including to the blood vessels in the penis.'
Blood flow and physical health aren't the only factors that contribute to ED. For example, if you receive a diagnosis of other health problems, you might feel anxious about it, which can snowball into ED.
"Your mental state also has a major impact on your ability to get hard in the bedroom," Blair said. "Some of the main culprits that can interfere with the signals in your brain include depression, fatigue, stress and anxiety, including performance anxiety."
Anxiety, whether about your performance in the bedroom or at work, can mess with your health and make it difficult to stay hard. Symptoms of anxiety that might worsen ED include rapid heart rate and fatigue.
The pluses of adding yoga to your treatment
Yoga makes a good addition to your ED treatment, both physically and mentally, because it's a method to manage stress, get more movement, and work out aches and pains.
"A balanced nervous system is the key to great sexual health and firmness in men," said Shari James, R.N., a holistic erectile dysfunction specialist based in Sarasota, Florida.
One of yoga's biggest benefits is regulating your nervous system, because it helps your brain find a balance between the fight-or-flight response that gets triggered when you're stressed or when it's time to relax. Your relaxation time is crucial, because achieving an erection involves the cardiovascular and nervous systems. Your blood vessels have to relax so blood can rush into your penis and cause an erection. If you're stressed and anxious, getting erect will be difficult.
Along with improving blood flow across your entire body, yoga is one of the most effective ways to practice mindfulness, or being fully present and aware in the moment. Worrying about pleasing their partner is one example of a mental hurdle for men suffering from ED. When worries overtake your mind, it's difficult to get erect. Mindfulness can help you realize when these concerns are overwhelming you, and yoga is a great way to incorporate mindfulness into your life because both practices aim to quiet the mind.
Yoga poses for ED
The most beneficial yoga poses for your ED treatment are ones that channel your blood flow and help you relax.
Several yoga asanas, or postures, are believed to channel blood flow to the pelvic area, including janu sirsasana, the head-to-knee forward bend, and uttanasana, the standing forward bend, Goncalves said.
Head-to-knee forward bend
Sit on the floor with your legs in front of you. Bend your right knee outward and tuck your right foot in against your left inner thigh. Turn your torso so your stomach is lined up with the middle of your left thigh. If you feel enough of a stretch, don't push any further. Bend your torso down, head to knee, and reach out with your right hand to grasp your left foot. If you can't quite reach your foot, you could consider using a strap or a belt to grip it for you. Stay in the pose for one to three minutes, then repeat the actions to stretch across your right leg.
Standing forward bend
Stand up tall with your hands on your hips. Breathe out and bend from your hips while lengthening your torso. Try to keep your knees straight while you slowly bend down to place your palms on the back of your heels. Each time you breathe in, focus on lengthening your torso more while staying in place. Hold this pose for 30 to 60 seconds.
You don't have to contort your body into weird shapes to practice yoga. All you need is your body and some space on the floor. Yoga is an easy and effective way to sharpen your physical and mental well-being, and ideally improve your sexual function, as well.