I read with great interest Roseanne's recent post on this thing called a yogasm. As the term suggests, it is supposed to be an orgasmic experience that some people have experienced while doing yoga. Reportedly, a yogasm is something that feels like an orgasm, except it happens during yoga practice, and may be triggered by certain postures and/or actions, such as mula bandha. Since I know nothing about yogasms (and have obviously never had one), I'll start by quoting a few testimonies of people who have reported having them:
(A) “The first time it happened to me I was in Sharon Gannon’s class at Jivamukti, and I was in forward bend,” says Kelly Morris, a yoga instructor with a cult following at the Shala Yoga House in New York City. “I was breathing and concentrating and suddenly, ‘Whoa!’” (From The Daily Beast)
(B) 'In New York City, a woman who chose to remain nameless talked to The Daily Beast about experiencing a yoga orgasm at Pure Yoga, a fancy studio on Manhattan’s Upper East Side owned by the Equinox fitness chain. “I was in lotus pose, focusing on breathing and lifting the muscles of my pelvic floor,” she said. She wasn’t prepared for what happened after her instructor pressed his body against her back and synchronized his breath with hers, lifting her ribs as she inhaled, and pushing down on her thighs as she exhaled. “I was tingling all over!” she gushed.' (From The Daily Beast)
Incidentally, her instructor is a certain Marco Rojas. Apparently, he is a teacher of some repute in New York City. I know nothing about Rojas, or about whether his teaching style has anything to do with being able to bring about orgasmic experiences in practitioners. But if you know something, please share.
(C) Haleigh Forbes relates the following experience, which happened at an Ashtanga class in Utah:
"I walked into the newly opened studio and it was alive. There were 30 people there for the same reason I was, ready to engage our bodies in our passion. It was the perfect non-tense, non-pseudo, mingle of yogi’s. The practice started. Throughout the practice there was laughter, intense focus, audible breathe, sweat, and recognized bliss. The practice ended.... As we all joined together in ‘namaste’, I felt it…YOGASM! I felt hyper. I was in the right place. I was where I needed to be."
Forbes then goes on to elaborate on the nature of the yogasmic experience:
"You don’t have to be living in Utah or suffering from a lack of studio time in order to experience a yogasm. A yogasm will come in different ways for everyone. Perhaps you just kicked up into handstand for your first time, or you successfully took your first ujjayi breathe. The best part? You are not born with a predetermined amount of yogasms -- you can have any many as your beautiful self creates."
Well, that last part is pretty cool: One is not born with a predetermined number of yogasms! (Yay!) One can have as many as one's beautiful self can create, or as many as whoever is running the cosmic yogasm machine deigns to bestow upon one, whichever is the case.
This is assuming, of course, that (a) yogasms are real, and not some yoga equivalent of an urban legend, (b) that anybody can achieve a yogasm.
(b) is already starting to seem doubtful: The three experiences quoted above seem to suggest that only women can experience yogasms (what's up with that?). But of course, three is admittedly a very small sample size, so this may not be so.
I am unable to come to any definitive conclusions about yogasms right now. But as with many other things, asking the right questions is usually a step in the right direction. So I'll conclude this rather neither-here-nor-there post with a few questions:
(1) What exactly is a yogasm? Is it something that happens on a purely energetic level, or is there some measurable physiological reaction/symptom that can indicate that one is experiencing a yogasm? Or, to put the question another way, is a yogasm physiologically the same thing as a regular orgasm, except that it is triggered by certain yoga practices?
(2) Is it only women who can experience yogasms? Or are women just somehow more likely to experience yogasms than men? If so, why? Is the reason physiological, energetic, emotional, or all of the above?
(3) Does the practitioner undergo some kind of permanent physical, emotional or spiritual change as a result of experiencing a yogasm? In other words, after one has, uh, yogasmed, is one no longer the same yogi/yogini as before? If so, how is one different?
(4) Is a yogasm something that happens as a result of deliberate practice? Or is it something that can only happen to one by the grace of Shiva/Krishna/whoever's running the cosmic yogasm machine?
(5) Is a yogasm something one should properly strive for in one's practice? Or is it a more or less accidental byproduct of the practice, something that makes no real difference to the overall quality of one's practice? Or worse, is it an unnecessary distraction from the real purpose of the practice?
(6) Is it possible to have a yogasm without knowing that one has had one?... Well, actually, I'm starting to think that this is a pretty dumb question: If one can't have a regular orgasm without knowing that one has had a regular orgasm (even if one does not know that that thing that one has just had is actually called an "orgasm"), how can one have a yogasm without knowing that one has had one? But I'll leave this question up here anyway, in case you have anything to say about it.
Well, I guess I'll leave you with these questions. If you have anything to say about them, I'll love to hear from you. Remember, if you don't feel comfortable revealing your identity, you can always comment anonymously: I don't have to know who you are.