Kink Yoga

Yoga, BDSM, Mindfulness, and Flow (Oh, My!)

I recently tuned in to a conversation on kink and trauma with Somatic Witch. Kink and mental health is a fascinating topic; and a rabbit hole that I’ve begun to curiously, and cautiously, venture into. When Jeannie and I first took a D/s workshop with Om Rupani he discussed this early in the day. He said that BDSM, done correctly, can help participants work through past trauma – but also cautioned at the dangers within if done incorrectly. We took that workshop many years ago and hadn’t ever thought about this before, but it certainly made sense. Since that time we’ve both experienced this firsthand.

Much is said about subspace which is the altered mental state that a submissive or bottom can enter during a BDSM scene. In the conversation with Somatic Witch she said that one of the reasons a sub can heal previous trauma is because subspace is a space of mindfulness. I was initially a bit confused because I’ve tried to get Jeannie into subspace as a way for her to “get out of her head.” Yet mindfulness, to me, seems like being very much in your mind, or in your head. Yet the more I dug into this, the more sense it made despite the appearance of contradiction.

When a bottom achieves subspace, they may feel like they are floating, dreamy, and somewhat “out of it” which I initially thought of as getting out of their mind. But at the same time they are hyper-aware of their body, their partner, their surroundings. Imagine an impact scene where the top is striking the bottom on their thigh with a flogger. The bottom may be dreamy and light, but with each impact they are likely very aware of their thigh, the feeling of the flogger, and the pain and pleasure they are receiving. What could be more mindful than that sort of focus?

As a top, I suddenly see the bottom’s mindfulness state as a bigger part of the BDSM scene.

A few days after the video with Somatic Witch, Jeannie sent me this article on yoga and BDSM. Had I not just learned the connection between subspace and mindfulness, I’d likely have thought these two things have nothing in common. But now it totally made sense and I really enjoyed the article. Three things really came of this article for me:

  1. How some people “need” BDSM
  2. This was the first time I’d read anything that really discusses “topspace”
  3. The science of subspace

The Need for BDSM

Justina has emphasized that, for her, sex and kink are very connected. She once commented that 90% of the time when she has sex, there was kink involved. I’d never met anyone at that point who had such a strong tie between the two. Admittedly my exposure to kink was still nascent and this has changed, but it was still a bit foreign to me that kink and sex would need to be so connected.

Then the author of this article said:

“BDSM is a vital force in my life, part of my sexual identity, though not always sexual. It’s something I need on a regular basis, much like exercise.”

This helped me frame all of this a bit differently. Thinking of kink like exercise makes more sense to me. When done regularly, and properly, each help the body and mind strengthen, grow, and achieve better balance. So it may not be that kink is needed for sex, but that kink is needed for proper mental health. If there isn’t proper mental health, how can one really get to the point of having sex? This makes the kink to sex bond less direct, but just as vital.

Topspace

Here’s where this article really drew me in – the discussion of topspace. Other than mentions in passing, this is not a term I had heard much and it certainly had not been well defined for me. All this time I was so focused on what subspace is all about that I never thought about the altered state *I* was experiencing during a scene. When this author correlated topspace to flow, everything clicked into place.

In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.

The most common discussion of flow is with regard to athletes and when they are “in the zone.” In those moments, there is no active thinking, instead, the activity “just flows” – this is what is believed to set some professional athletes like Michael Jordan or Wayne Gretzky apart from the rest. I know this feeling well from endurance cycling where I will ride for hours on end without much conscious thought, yet I will remember every moment, every scene, from the ride. At the same time, I experience no discomfort during all that time “in the saddle” and yet will immediately recognize the pain and strain on my body when the ride is over and the flow state is complete.

While this won’t change how I act as a top, it does give me a perspective I really appreciate about my role and what I’m experiencing. Perhaps this knowledge will drive me to new places as a top and perhaps it will enhance my abilities in a scene. Even if not, I know it will enhance my pleasure since it’s important to me to both understand and feel so fully what an experience has to offer.

The Science of Subspace

Now that I better understand the altered state that I’m experiencing as a top, what more can I learn of my bottom?

While flow is an altered state of consciousness, it doesn’t affect one’s cognitive functioning as much as a bottom’s state of altered consciousness, called “transient hypofrontality”

One researcher describes transient hypofrontality as, “analogous to meditation, and other mind states, such dreaming, hypnosis, and various drug highs.” Again, this makes perfect sense, and knowing that there’s a natural high is super empowering for me. I love nothing more than a natural high. While I’ve done recreational drugs I’m much more inclined to seek out ways to achieve similar experiences without the drugs. Cycling, kink, music, and dance are a few things that get me there most often these days.

Transient hypofrontality also gives me another connection to how BDSM can work through past traumas. The bottom experiencing subspace is not consciously working through something – it’s happening on a more base level – or, well, subconsciously. Putting someone face to face with previous trauma in a fully conscious state, that’s likely to bring about fear and trigger a fight or flight response. But addressing such experiences from a deeper, more mindful yet less conscious state allows the individual to integrate response and feelings without the conscious judgment that they might otherwise experience.


As noted earlier, kink and mental health is quite the rabbit hole, and quite the responsibility for participants. But the benefits are tremendous and go well beyond trauma. I, for one, will continue to take this responsibility very seriously while I continue to explore all the benefits and rewards of these activities.


 

 

 

Published by

Viktor

My wife is the love of my life and my absolute soulmate. So why are we exploring polyamory and other sexual experiences that are often considered socially unacceptable? Read on to find out! Spoiler Alert: These things are AWESOME and have strengthened our marriage in ways you might not expect. Or believe.

3 thoughts on “Yoga, BDSM, Mindfulness, and Flow (Oh, My!)”

  1. A big part of what makes kink and BDSM healing is the connection and trust between the Dom and sub. You go into a planned scene with someone you trust and love. They have your best interest at heart. They will take care of you after the fact. They will stop if it becomes too much. The relationship quality is the MOST healing aspect of BDSM. Other healing happens because of the relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would definitely agree regarding the need for trust between the Dom and sub, but you aren’t always engaging in BDSM with someone you love or even know well, yet it can still be healing.

      Liked by 1 person

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