Intimacy—with ourselves and others—is perhaps our deepest human longing and yet so often we resist the very thing we most desire.
Culturally, we have relegated intimacy to the sexual realm and reserved it solely for one’s significant other. Yet this limited view greatly diminishes our capacity and potential for intimacy with all of life, including our partners.
As a partner yoga teacher, people often say to me, “I don’t have a partner to practice with.” I say, “Look around, every person in your world wants real connection, just like you.”
The word intimacy comes from the Latin intimus, meaning inmost. Intimacy is the path to our inmost awareness. It is through our intimate relationships with others that we come to know and love ourselves.
I love how the word itself shares its deeper meaning: in-to-me-see.
The path of intimacy, like all spiritual paths, is a path of bravery. In order to experience true intimacy, we must be willing to courageously and honestly confront and dissolve all that stands in the way.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi
We are love. This is our nature. And our human journey is one of seeing through and releasing the defenses that we believe are keeping us safe from hurt.
This is quite the conundrum, is it not? We want to be loved and share love, and yet we defend against it. I see in myself and others how often we unconsciously respond defensively (or aggressively) when we feel threatened.
The good news is that any time we are willing to face own our fear, new possibilities immediately open up. When just one person is willing to remain open and loving, conflict can and does resolve itself.
This is of course much easier said than done, which is where the practice of partner yoga comes in.
As my dear friend and fellow yoga teacher Maja Zilih says, “Partner yoga is a process of healing in connection with another human. It is in relationships that we get hurt, and it is in relationships that we can heal.”
Partner yoga is such a sweet and safe zone to test the truth of these words.
Being in conscious connection with others, whether they are our lovers, children, friends, or even strangers, our deepest human need for intimate and authentic connection is satisfied, and we begin to see there is nothing to be feared—only everything to be understood.