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In The Mood

Keep your libido strong by balancing your body, mind, and emotions.

By Scott Blossom

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The best aphrodisiac in the world is having a sexual partner who truly loves you. So says the Charaka Samhita, one of the "big three" classical texts on ayurveda">Ayurvedic medicine. But that may sound like a romantic oversimplification if you are suffering from a significant decline in your normal libido.

According to Ayurvedic medicine, a reduced sex drive can result from psychological and emotional upset, or from physical illness, such as weakened reproductive health (which may be signaled by poor circulation and digestive problems). But high levels of stress top the list. Being physically relaxed and emotionally satisfied are essential components of sexual arousal. We are hard-wired to need a safe, inviting environment and to feel balanced in body and mind to get "in the mood."

Sex drive also naturally fluctuates in rhythm and intensity with age and hormonal cycles, and it may be affected by diet, medication, and the demands of relationships and work. Sometimes lowering the libido is the body's response to other needs. For example, a person who is overworked for a period of time may become so physically depleted by the effort that the body reduces its desire for anything other than food and sleep. The same result can occur during times of grief. And according to Ayurvedic and yogic teachings, it's natural and healthy for the libido to shift when we do a retreat to intensify our spiritual practice.

The key to managing a healthy sex drive is to remember that work, play, diet, and relationships all have an impact on it. Perceiving warning signals from your body, and being attuned to your emotional state, can provide valuable clues for realigning your mind, heart, and prana (life force) in the service of balancing your libido.

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