from the book When the Earth Moves — Women and Orgasm
"The single most important key to sex that I've yet discovered is conscious rhythmic breathing the more you breathe the more you feel and the more you come alive. . . Many of us breathe only enough to survive but not to live fully. Deep breathing is a door to waking up to healing and to more personal freedom."
— Annie Sprinkle
Working with the breath is an important part of tantric exercises and kundalini yoga. Breath is more than just air; it oxygenates our blood, which allows our miraculous brains and bodies to function. Experiment with different kinds of breathing: short, quick breaths or long, deep ones, emptying or filling your lungs completely, long inhale and short exhale, or vice versa, and any combination of these. Try visualizing the breath as energy. Conscious breathing will enhance your sex life in different ways: pull the breath down into your belly if you want to build energy, or imagine the air flowing up and out from your belly if you want to release energy. You may use the breath to concentrate the energy or release it from any part of your body. But be aware that this kind of physical work may bring up feelings that you have unconsciously kept buried.
I consciously focus on following a connection through my body with the life force energy. It feels different when I touch myself with this intention, even though physically I may be doing exactly the same things as when my thoughts are less "pure"! My orgasms from this are often quite intense. If I do it when I'm not relaxed and in tune, then opening myself up psychically like this can bring up a lot of different and sometimes difficult issues.
Synchronizing rhythmic breathing with body movements can promote deep healing. The following technique was described to me by Jwala, who has done workshops on tantric sex all over the world:
"I have women lie on their backs and breathe in through the nose and out of the mouth. I call it connected breathing, breathing in a circle with no holding at either end. This breathing stimulates the Lymphatic system, which is where old memories are held. So this breathing can heal old emotional or physical memories. I have women do a pelvic rock in time with their breathing. On the inhale they push their bellies out and lift their backs off the floor, tilting the pelvis downwards. On the exhale they flatten the back, tilting the pelvis upwards, and contracting the PC muscle. The inhale and the exhale are the same length. The inhale pulls in inspiration and healing energy, and the exhale pushes out the painful memories that have come to the surface and need to be released. The PC muscle acts as a sexual pump, and as you undulate with the pelvic rock, the spinal-cerebral fluid is stimulated."
Spending ten minutes a day sitting in meditation can calm you down, relieve stress, teach you to be aware of the movement of energy within your body, and help you to get in touch with your feelings. Meditation is about quieting the mind. In this culture we are generally encouraged to keep our minds "gainfully" occupied and thus distracted from looking within. Quieting the mind is essential if you want to tap into your intuition, and if you want to be really present for anything.
Some people experience oneness when they meditate. They arrive at a state of "no-thought," where they lose their sense of separation. As Jana, the Buddhist monk, says, this is the same place you can get to during orgasm:
"A really good orgasm takes me to a place that it takes me months of sitting in za-zen to get to. Letting go into sexual ecstasy is not so different from letting go into spiritual ecstasy, after all. They both require going beyond the gratification of the ego, and this requires coming from a place of integrity and honesty."
There are many different methods of meditating and there are marvelous teachers and books on the subject. If you want to meditate specifically as an aid to your sexual awareness, you can even masturbate as a meditation: learning to be fully focused, present, and centered in your experience of sexual arousal.