What does it mean to be intimate? Do you ask yourself this question sometimes? And if you do, how many different kinds of being intimate come to your mind?
Intimacy in Yoga
When I teach yoga I refer a lot to being aware of the breath and the body. It is an invitation to being intimate with the body as a whole and the sensations it is revealing to us in every movement, with every breath and thought.
Being intimate with the body invites intimacy into the situation you are in: it allows you to only focus on what is going on at that very moment around you, inside the body and in your mind.
At ease, relaxed and quiet
The closer the circle you draw around you when being present to the body, to the contact it has with the surface it is on, to the clothes that you are wearing, the bigger the chance you will start recognizing sensations in the body that are of a more subtle quality. You might start recognizing sensations that arise from deeper inside the body. Intimacy then can deepen and might give you an overall feeling of fulfilment and satisfaction. It might make you feel softer, more at ease, relaxed and quiet.
You are never alone!
This kind of intimacy can remind us of the fact that we never are alone. As the body is always around, and so are the heartbeat, the blood pulsating, the breath flowing in and out and providing a – most of the time – welcoming rhythm that soothes the mind.
You then can apply this wisdom in your daily life. Lets say you feel down, even depressed, lonely, not understood or even abandoned. Remember that what you know from being on the yoga mat and realize that your body is present, and so are the heartbeat, the blood pulsating, the breath flowing. They are all present and you need to become aware of it. You and the fact that you can be intimate in every situation have not changed, only the situation has changed. To me, this is what we practice yoga for.
Intimacy has many faces
There are many different kinds of being intimate.
Enjoying being intimate with yourself is for sure a good stepping stone to allow and eventually enjoy intimacy with others. This can be a friend, sibling, your parents, and of course your lover or spouse.
Sex can be an expression of intimacy as being intimate with yourself will offer you a an experience that is based on freedom, allowance, letting go instead of holding on to and giving and receiving. Body and mind can then enjoy the interaction as much as possible. Let your body speak and in case it is needed, integrate verbal support.
Being intimate can also be of importance when you find yourself in a situation with somebody else. At first it might make you feel uncomfortable. Becoming aware of what it means to be intimate with yourself can eventually change the situation so that you can make yourself comfortable and relax into it.
How I invite intimacy in my (private) yoga classes
My advice is to never give up the quest for intimacy as it is never to late to become intimate with yourself! In the (private) classes I teach I can actively support you in exploring what it means to you to be intimate with yourself. I do this based on my personal experiences that added to the quality of my life over the years.
I find it easy to connect with people that are open and make me feel their trust, and I do it preferably on the level of the heart. This creates a connection that invites an intimacy that allows the person/ people I am teaching, or taking care of, to deeply relax into the situation and find a depth of relaxation that they sometimes never ever experienced before. I invite them verbally to gently move to a softly flowing breath and being aware of the breath continuously. Which in return contributes to the intimacy of me being with the other person/ people, and the intimacy that the person/ people can experience with him/herself.
Lets be open to intimacy and enjoy it!
As far as I can estimate this society is not supporting intimacy greatly. But we all have a heart to feel with and a soul to cling to, haven’t we? The more you expand their capacity, the more people you will reach on your journey. And you will meet them by feeling seen, heard and touched from the heart. I personally remind myself every day that What you give is what you get back!
I was inspired to write this post when I found Olivia Crooks’ website intimatebeing.com as she choose a name for promoting what she teaches that resonates with me (she is a Dynamic yoga teacher colleague). Besides that Godfrey Devereux, founder of Dynamic yoga and nowadays also teaching Tantra yoga, taught a Tantra yoga workshop in the Yogashala last June. The workshop left me in deep touch with myself through the experience of being aware of the body and in particular certain body parts while applying gentle movement in the practice. Sometimes touch, either touching yourself or exchanging with a partner, was involved. The response I felt was a deep and satisfying intimacy.