It’s no secret that sex and yoga have a mutually beneficial relationship: take a stroll through the bookstore or Urban Outfitters and you’ll find your fair share of tantric sex how-tos. As a seven-year practitioner who’s absolutely phenomenal in bed, I can confirm the connection. My advice: for best results, you want your energy on the mat to match your energy in the bedroom — neither too brutal and self-punishing (Bikram) nor too lethargic and touchy-feely (low-light hatha yoga). Of course, everyone has a different style, so it’s good to find a studio with several options.
After three years in New Haven, Fresh Yoga, with locations in Ninth Square and Erector Square, is my favorite. Unlike other studios in the city, Fresh offers a wide variety of class types and times — whether you like it sweaty and strenuous in the morning or slow and sensual after dark. The year-old Ninth Square location is a 10-minute walk from campus and has a lovely, light-filled space on the corner of Orange and Crown Streets. Unlike most studios, use of mats and blankets is free and the staff is universally friendly and helpful (no new age-snobbery here). Classes generally consist of a few Yale undergrads, assorted grad students, and a bunch of really flexible New Havenites. After watching a 40-year-old kick your butt in utkatasina for an hour, you’ll never hate on soccer moms again.
At home I do Baptiste yoga, a form of vinyasa flow. Practiced in a heated room, the 60-90 minute classes move smoothly from pose to pose in time with the breath. You can always rest or modify, but these classes are challenging: I’m usually streaming sweat from all pores by the 20-minute mark. Fresh teacher Peg is Baptiste-trained, so I get to enjoy a familiar style with some great new innovations. One major difference between these classes and my home studio is that Peg, along with some other Fresh instructors, uses lots of music. If you usually get bored in downward dog or give up on bridge, a little re-mixed Feist might just make the difference. Of course, holding your least favorite pose while listening to your least favorite song is a brutal combination — if you prefer a quiet practice, ask around for a iPod-free class.
If you haven’t practiced much before or sweating profusely grosses you out, try “Gentle Flow” or a “Mixed Level.” Set up your mat near the back, where you can see and mimic more advanced students. Fresh offers a variety of specialty styles, so if the standard beginner courses don’t entice you, you can give Forrest or Anusara yoga a shot. Take advantage of the great introductory student special — three classes for $30 — to shop around and figure out what works for you. Standard student packages are $130 for 10 classes or $108 for a month unlimited. Pretty steep, but for an off-campus Zen-retreat with mind-calming, body-building, sex-enhancing effects, it’s one of the best investments of your time and money.