My first weekend of yoga teacher training, I think it was fair to say that I spent equal parts of my time training in the yoga studio and in independent study (aka masturbating vigorously to yoga related pornography). A particular favorite of mine was of Daisy Marie and Laly’s “Hot Private Yoga Session.” The dynamic between the two actresses ignited my interest in the overlap of sexuality, BDSM and yoga.

Throughout my instruction in yoga, I found countless overlaps with my earlier training as a Dominatrix. For example, I had been incorporating breath work, yoga’s pranayama, as a way to guide slaves through pain. Certain slave postures, or asanas, helped slaves cultivate a devotional and submissive demeanor in their body. At the beginning of each session, I give each slave a mantra to help them focus their attention on their individual needs to remain present and able to serve. I frequently use these tools to help bring slaves into an altered state of consciousness (sub-space), especially when slaves can’t be physically marked or do not identify as physical masochists.

Through my work caring for slaves and masochists and my work as a more traditional yoga teacher, I realized that traditional approaches were leaving a gross amount of personal exploration untapped. Masochists who aren’t able to cultivate self care alone are often left out of healing practices. My practice offers care to masochists and submissives who aren’t fulfilled in a one-off fetish session by creating the space to explore submission as a path to self care and personal growth.

My yoga teacher was caring, devoted and strict. At times, I had to remind myself to call her by her name, and not, “Mistress.” With a few simples gestures and cues, she could bring a class full of students to their knees (in child’s pose, naturally). The class automatically fell silent when she looked as if she might have something to say.

Practicing yoga, much like submitting to a skilled Dominatrix, can be remarkably therapeutic and cathartic. The overlap between sadism, masochism, sensuality and yoga is undeniable. Learning about the meditations, asanas (postures), and mudras (hand postures) of submission and devotion were uncannily similar to what I learned while training to be a Dominatrix.

After I completed my yoga teacher training, I began to become more aware of how I was incorporating yoga into my BDSM session. It is a common adage that the practice of yoga should be taken off of the mat. In my experience, the practice of yoga can extend far off the mat and into the bedroom—and even into the dungeon. By helping slaves and submissives cultivate a devotional yoga practice in service to me, I am able to help them reach a more centered and grounded place to serve themselves.

Through the incorporation of yoga into my slave training, I am able to impart the importance of both physical and mental well-being to my submissives. My practice encourages my slaves to be comfortable in their bodies and comfortable treating their bodies well—something that masochists especially struggle with.

In Ayuerveyda, your constitution (dosha) is determined by a series of qualities that you possess. Good mental and physical health are thought to come into alignment when your doshas are balanced. For example, someone who is naturally pita (fiery and type A) might benefit more from a slower and more mindful practice that will balance this, such as a yin yoga practice.

In my experience as a Dominatrix, I have also found this balance to be necessary. I often find that what a slave wants isn’t always what they need, and what they need isn’t always what they want. Progress, fighting demons, and seeking balance is difficult, particularly for a masochist who may have a strong aversion to balancing their doshas.

For example, I have a slave who after numerous sessions confessed to me that he sought out a Dominatrix to play out a childhood experience of, ‘not feeling loved’. I found his comment interesting because our work together had been fruitful and in no way devoid of love. He could easily have found a ‘cruel and unloving’ dominatrix elsewhere. He was kneeling at my feet when I asked him if in that moment he felt loved. He responded with a simple, “yes”. Then I asked him if, what he needed was to play out, ‘not feeling loved’ why he continued to see me. He looked up at me through tear clouded eyes and said “thank you, Mistress.”

Through an emotional exchange with my slaves, I am able to help guide them to a practice that provides them with more balance and stability rather than sticking to paths that are easy and comfortable. Westernized yoga often encourages a better, faster, stronger mentality, in a way that often alienates people from their body as they see their practice as more of a competition.

Dasya (devotional and servitude) yoga allows me to take a hands on approach to my slave’s’ physical and mental health while providing an experience where they are touched both physically and mentally in a way that isn’t often provided in modern society. In this manner, my slaves are able to explore their submission from a perhaps unfamiliar modality and I am able to provide a practice that is mutually beneficial.