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Yoga for Kink: These 13 Poses Prepare Your Body for Shibari Bondage

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Shibari bondage, which is also known as “kinbaku,” is a contemporary form of rope bondage that originated in Japan, according to sexologist Midori, the author of Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage.

The literal translation of shibari means “tying” whereas kinbaku means “tight bonding.”

Shibari is the act of tying someone up for aesthetic purposes. However, for many, the benefit of shibari bondage goes far beyond aesthetics.

For some, the pressure of tight rope wrapped around the body can create pleasurable sensations – sensual and otherwise. Shibari bondage is also used as a form of meditation, relaxation, trust-building, and as a precursor to kink play.
 
 

What Does Shibari Bondage Have to Do With Yoga?

Who knew attending a shibari conference out of curiosity would change my life forever? You typically only hear things like that about yoga classes . . .

My first experience in a shibari conference space left me breathless, not only from all the beautiful and intricate rope art going on, but also from the many people in yoga poses.

Some people were literally tied in yoga poses such as Lotus Pose and Butterfly Pose. Others were practicing a sequence of yoga poses as preparation for getting tied up.

I spent most of that night watching the beautiful mix of yoga and bondage and reflecting upon the intersection of the two practices. As a result, I quickly saw that the two practices are both complementary to each other.

Meaning, I quickly saw how yoga (the practice of yoga poses and breathing techniques, focusing on the present moment, and sitting through uncomfortable moments) could help one be physically and mentally prepared for kink.
 

 
 
Similarly, it also occurred to me that some kink practices (sitting through pain, increased discipline, and a focus on the present moment during a scene) could benefit a yoga practice.

In addition to the two practices being complementary, I also saw how beneficial yoga can be to prepare the body for kink.

For example, poses such as Bridge Pose, Downward Facing Dog, and Cow Face Pose all help to open up the chest and shoulders. Each of these poses could help to prepare your body for having your hands tied behind your back or over your head.

It was this night at the shibari bondage conference and my experience that inspired my book, Yoga for Kink: A Guide to Using Yoga to Prepare the Body for Bondage.

Continue reading to learn more about how yoga can help prepare your body for bondage and/or kink play.
 
 

How Does Yoga Prepare Your Body for Kink and Bondage?

Yoga for kink can benefit many types of kink and bondage play. Some people enjoy having their hands tied behind their backs while others enjoy getting tied into an intricate backbend. Both can benefit from doing some yoga beforehand.

There are two types of stretching: static and dynamic. Static stretching involves holding a position for 30 seconds or longer. Dynamic stretching involves using movement into and out of a position repeatedly to take the body to (not beyond) its limit.

Static stretching, like yoga, has been shown to: help muscles relax, help stretch fascia and ligaments, increase bone density, and increase mobility. The longer the hold, the greater the benefit in terms of releasing fascia and ligaments.

Ligaments are fibrous connective tissues that connect bones to other bones. Fascia is a sheet of connective tissue beneath the skin that encloses and separates muscles and other internal organs.

Static stretching provides the exact benefits needed for a body in preparation for bondage and kink play.

In taking the time to use yoga to prepare your body for kink play, you are able to safely and enjoyably explore kink with your partner.

Now that you understand how yoga can help prepare you for kink, continue reading for specific poses that can help.

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These 13 Yoga Poses Prepare Your Body for Kink and Bondage:

 

1. Standing Forward Fold Pose (Uttanasana)

forward fold

Stretch your hamstrings and lower back to prep your body for bondage.

Let’s try it:

  • Begin standing
  • Make sure your feet are hip-width distance apart
  • Inhale and reach your hands to the sky
  • Exhale and hinge at your hips, coming into a forward fold
  • Rather than straightening your legs, push your feet down into the earth
  • Allow the back of your hands to rest onto yoga block or the floor, or hold onto opposite elbows
  • Very slightly, push your ankles outward. This is a minor adjustment, don’t overdo it
  • On each exhale, gently push your feet into the earth and reach your hips toward the sky
  • Stay here for five to seven breaths
  • Note: If your back is rounding, put a bend in your knees and allow your belly to rest on your thighs. It is more important to have a straight spine than straight legs in this pose

 

2. Bound Forward Fold Pose (Baddha Uttanasana)

bound forward fold

Get ready for shibari bondage binds with this Bound Forward Fold.

Let’s try it:

  • Begin standing
  • Make sure your feet are hip-width distance apart
  • Inhale, reach behind you and clasp your hands by interweaving your fingers
  • Exhale, fold forward, hinging at your hips
  • Allow your hands to fall toward the ground
  • If your back is rounding, put a bend in your knees and allow your belly to rest on your thighs
  • Rather than straightening your legs by pushing back with the knees, push your feet into the earth
  • Very slightly, push your ankles outward
  • On each exhale, gently push your feet into the earth and reach your hips toward the sky
  • Stay here for five to seven breaths

 

3. Downward Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

downdog

Elongate your spine and create space in your whole body to prepare for kink with Down Dog.

Let’s try it:

    • Begin on your hands and knees
    • Spread your fingers wide with your index fingers pointing toward the front of the mat
    • Rotate the crease of your elbows toward the front of the mat
    • To really ground through your hands here, push down through the base of your thumb and index finger
    • Imagine that you’re trying to open a jar. Energetically speaking, you’re activating your hands in such a way that you’re opening a jar with your hands, but you’re not allowing them to move
    • Exhale and lift your hips up and back, into Downward Facing Dog
    • At first, keep your knees slightly bent and your heels lifted away from the floor
    • Draw your navel in and up toward your spine
    • Engage your quadriceps by drawing your knees up your thighs
    • Slightly rotate the heels of your feet outward, bringing them wider than your big toes
    • Actively drop your heels toward the ground
    • Stay here for five to seven breaths
    • Note: If your low back is tight, bend your knees, this allows you to work on lengthening your spine. It is more important to have a straight spine than straight legs in this pose
    • If your heels are more than two inches from the floor and your calves and heels feel very tight, you can bring the mat to your heels, so to speak, by placing a rolled-up blanket or yoga mat under your heels
         

4. Child’s Pose (Balasana)

childs pose

Find a safe space in Child’s Pose.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin on hands and knees
        • Exhale and lower your seat to your heels
        • Slowly walk your hands out, bringing your belly onto (or toward) your thighs
        • You can keep your knees close together or wide apart. The closer together they are, the deeper the stretch will be in your lower back
        • Stretch your hands out above your head and rest your forehead on your mat or a yoga block
        • Rotate your biceps outward (away from your face) to help your shoulders roll down your back
        • Allow your chest to fall toward the floor
        • Hold for five to seven breaths. For a Yin version of this pose, you can hold it for five to seven minutes
        • If the deep bend in your knees is too much, you can place a rolled-up blanket between your sit bones and heels
        • To lessen the intensity of the pose, you can place a yoga bolster under your torso
        • You can also bring your arms by your sides, resting your hands next to your feet

 
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5. Cat/Cow (Marjaryasana/Bitilasana)

Warm up your spine for your shibari bondage kink with some Cats and Cows.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin on your hands and knees
        • Align your wrists directly beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips
        • Untuck your toes and gently press the tops of your feet into the mat
        • On an inhale, lift your head, heart, and tail while allowing your belly to drop toward the mat
        • Ensure that your shoulders don’t drop with your belly by pressing your hands into the earth
        • Rotate the crease of your elbows toward the front of the mat
        • On an exhale, arch your spine
        • Draw your chin toward your chest and pull your navel in and up toward your spine
        • Rotate the crease of your elbows in, facing each other
        • Repeat for five rounds of breath

 

6. Easy Seat Forward Fold (Sukhasana Variation)

easy pose fold

Give your spine and hips some gentle opening as you prepare for kink with this Easy Seat variation.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin in a seated position
        • Fold your feet in toward you in any way that is comfortable for you
        • On an exhale, place your hands on the mat and walk your hands out away from your body
        • If it’s okay for your body, you can bring your forearms down to the mat. If not, leave your hands on the mat
        • Drop your forehead toward the floor, allowing your spine to curve
        • Be sure to keep your sit bones on the floor. If needed, gently push into your hands (or forearms) to keep your sit bones grounded
        • Stay here for five to seven breaths
        • If your low back is tight and it is difficult to bend forward, place a yoga block under your sit bones

 

7. Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)

pyramid

Open your hips, hamstrings, and backbody with Pyramid Pose.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin in Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
        • Step your left foot back about two to three feet and place it at a 90-degree angle so that your toes are pointing toward the left front corner of the mat
        • Your feet should be wide enough apart so that your hips are squared to the front of the mat
        • On an exhale, gently hinge forward at your waistline. If you feel your spine starting to round, stop and back out a little bit. It is important to keep the spine straight
        • Gently draw your left hip forward and your right hip back and work toward bringing your chin toward your right shin
        • Engage your quadriceps by drawing your knees up your thigh
        • Open up your collarbones by rolling your shoulders down your back
        • Press down through your front big toe
        • Ground down through the outer edge of your back foot
        • Gently press your elbows up and away from your back
        • Stay here for five to seven breaths

 

8. Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

triangle

There’s nothing quite like Triangle Pose to open your entire front and backbody.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin in a standing position
        • Step your left foot back about 18 inches, placing your foot at a 45-degree angle
        • Your right foot is pointing toward the front of the mat
        • Both knees should be straight
        • Make sure the heels of your feet are in line with each other
        • Exhale, hinge over your right hip, bringing your right palm onto your shin or a yoga block. If you’re using a block, it needs to be on the outside edge of your right foot
        • Tuck in your chin slightly and look up toward your top thumb if it is comfortable for your neck
        • Ground down through the outer edge of your back foot and the big toe of your front foot
        • Engage your quads by drawing your knees up your thighs
        • Let your hip come slightly forward and draw your tailbone toward your inner back heel
        • Slightly rotate your torso from your navel and draw the back of your left shoulder toward the wall behind you
        • Stay here for five to seven breaths

 

9. Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

lizard

Give your hips some love with Lizard Pose to get your body ready for bondage.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin in Downward Facing Dog
        • Step your right foot forward, coming into a Runner’s Lunge
        • Drop your left knee to the mat and untuck your left toes
        • Move your right hand to the inside of your right leg
        • Extend your heart forward and roll your shoulders down your back
        • On an exhale, drop your head and settle into the pose
        • You can leave your palms on the mat, or you can come onto your forearms. Forearms could also be placed on yoga blocks
        • Don’t allow your right knee to fall out toward the right, keep it directly over your ankle
        • Make sure that your palms or elbows are in line with your right ankle
        • Draw your shoulder blades together and press them into your back
        • Slightly draw your left hip forward and your right hip back
        • Let your hips and your head drop toward the floor
        • Draw the navel in and up toward your spine
        • Stay here for five to seven breaths
        • For a more intense stretch, you can lift your back knee

 

10. Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)

bound cow facing

Open your shoulders and hips with Cow Face Pose to prepare your shoulders for behind-the-back bondage.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin on your hands and knees
        • Draw your right knee forward, in between your hands and then bring your right foot outside of your left thigh
        • Next, slide your right knee back to meet your left knee
        • Gently sit your hips down between your heels
        • Try to bring your heels an equal distance from your hips
        • Sit evenly on your sitting bones – don’t allow one hip to bear more weight than the other. If this isn’t possible for your body, you can place a small folded towel under the higher hip
        • Your knees may not stack directly on top of each other and that is okay – don’t force yourself into it
        • Flex your feet
        • Inhale and stretch your right arm out straight to the right side of your body and parallel to the floor
        • Rotate your arm inwardly, turning your thumb toward the floor. To keep rotating, next point your fingers toward the wall behind you with your palm face up toward the ceiling
        • Exhale and sweep your right arm behind you and tuck your forearm into the curve of your lower back, parallel to your waist
        • Roll your shoulder back and down. Then begin to work your forearm up your back
        • Work to get your forearm parallel to your spine with your hand between your shoulder blades, but be sure to listen to your body and stop as needed
        • Inhale and stretch your left arm out in front of you with your palm facing up. Lift your hand straight above you
        • Exhale and bend your elbow and begin to reach down for your right hand to clasp them together
        • Please feel free to use a yoga strap here if you can’t clasp your hands together
        • Inhale and work to lift your left elbow toward the ceiling and descend your right elbow toward the floor
        • Make sure your floating ribs are not jutting outward
        • For the fully integrated pose, exhale and hinge forward at your hips to bring your chest toward your legs
        • Allow your forehead to drop toward the floor
        • Stay here for five to 10 breaths and then switch sides

 

11. Bridge Pose (Setu Bandhasana)

bridge

Warm up your entire spine with Bridge Pose to prepare your body.

Let’s try it:

        • Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor
        • Bring your heels as close to your glutes as possible with your feet hip-width distance apart
        • Place your arms alongside your body with your palms facing down
        • Inhale and press your feet and arms actively into the floor to lift your tailbone toward the sky
        • Exhale and begin to roll onto your shoulders and bring your hands underneath you. If it feels okay on your shoulders, clasp your hands underneath your buttocks
        • Lift your chin slightly away from your chest. There should be enough space for someone to place two fingers between your neck and the floor
        • Keep your knees over your heels but push them forward, away from your hips
        • Lengthen your tailbone toward the back of your knees
        • Stay here for five breaths

 

12. Supported Reclined Hero’s Pose (Supta Virasana)

reclined supported hero

Gently open up your entire front body with this supported version of Reclined Hero’s Pose.

Let’s try it:

        • Sit with your knees bent and your buttocks resting on your heels
        • For support, place a yoga bolster or two yoga blocks beneath your spine before reclining
        • If you use blocks, place one along the spine (vertical) between your shoulder blades and one (horizontal) under your head, creating a T with the blocks
        • Slowly recline and allow your knees to separate
        • On an exhale, recline back over your props
        • Roll your shoulders down your back to open your collarbones
        • Gently draw your pelvis in and up toward your spine
        • Stay here for five to 10 breaths

 

13. Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana)

wide leg straddle forward fold

Give your hips, spine, and hamstrings some extra love with a Wide-Legged Seated Forward Fold as you prepare.

Let’s try it:

        • Begin in a seated position with your legs spread as wide as possible
        • Lift the flesh from your sit bones
        • Press your hands into the floor behind you and scoot your buttocks forward an inch or two – or to where is most comfortable. You want to feel a generous stretch on the inner thighs, but no pain
        • Ensure that your back is straight and not rounding
        • Rotate your thighs outward so that your kneecaps are pointing straight up toward the sky. Flex your feet and press through the balls of your feet
        • Engage your quadriceps by drawing your knees up your thighs
        • Inhale and hinge forward at your hips coming down as far as you can while still maintaining a straight spine
        • Place your hands (or forearms) on the floor (or on blocks) in front of you
        • Rotate your pelvis toward the ground – not so dramatically that you cause rounding in the back though
        • If your belly and/or torso is on the ground, use the strength of your arms to gently pull your torso away from your hips
        • Stay here for five to 10 breaths
        • If your low back and/or hamstrings are very tight, you can sit on the edge of a folded blanket

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The Takeway on Yoga for Kink and Bondage: It’s All About Safe Exploration

One of the main focuses behind yoga is to safely explore your body’s ability by gently pushing yourself close to your limit. This is true about kink as well. This safe exploration is the big picture behind using yoga to prepare the body for bondage. When you and your partner are able to explore new areas of intimate activities like Shibari bondage in a safe way, it can be very connecting.

However, it truly is important to make sure you’re safe while doing so. In the larger kink community, there are a set of principles that people adhere to so that everyone is safe. RACK – Risk Aware Consensual Kink – is one of these principles. The philosophy behind RACK is that every activity has a degree of danger to it and what is “safe” is best determined by the parties involved. To be risk aware, is to understand the risks involved in whatever activity you plan to engage in. Only you know what feels ok for you and your body today.

In addition, enthusiastic consent is key. As sexologist Jess O’Reilly, PhD says, “To be considered consensual, all parties involved must be capable of expressing their explicit and informed consent.” Just because your partner was ok with bondage yesterday, does not mean that they are ok with it today. Consent should be a continual discussion, not a onetime conversation.

Yoga is a great way to safely prepare the body for kink and bondage. By practicing chest and shoulder opening yoga poses before being tied into a backbend type position, for example, you’re setting yourself up for a successful adventure. One where you are at less risk for injury.

In addition to playful exploration, the practice of yoga and kink can help you learn to focus on the present moment, breathe consciously when you’re feeling stressed, become more disciplined, and sit through uncomfortable moments with ease.

Start slow, check in with your partner frequently, and always listen to your body and your heart.

This article has been read 2K+ times. Feelin’ the love!

Comments

wonderful comments!

Elisha Thompson is a yogi, an academic, and an author. She is a registered yoga teacher with 400 hours of training. Aside from yoga, Elisha’s greatest passion is writing. Her new book, Yoga for Kink, will be published this year. In her spare time, she loves to travel, spend time with loved ones, eat good food, and cuddle with unicorns.

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