Women at any age can experience problems with intimacy. As a certified yoga instructor who offers workshops to women on enhancing intimacy in their marriage, I work with many women who are looking to enliven and revitalize their physical connection with their spouse. I’d like to introduce you to four of them (names are changed to protect their privacy).
During the first year of Shuli’s marriage, the exciting anticipation of mikvah night grew with each passing day. But after the babies arrived, and with work and taking care of the home, she was so tired most of the time that intimacy got put on the back burner. She came to me wanting to return intimacy to a place of importance in her marriage.
Sarah was referred to me because she was having medical issues related to her pelvic region that were affecting her relationship with her husband. Intimacy, once an enjoyable experience for her, had become traumatic and she needed to learn how to relax and bring back the enjoyment.
Michal sought me out because, even though she and her husband have a healthy intimate relationship, she sometimes felt frustrated and wanted to learn how to enhance her experience.
Anat was in the throes of pre-menopause and her libido was waning due to hormonal changes. Even after seeing a gynecologist and addressing the medical issues involved, her interest in intimacy remained low despite her husband’s encouragement.
Each of these women needed to build intimacy skills in order to overcome their respective challenges. I was able to help them through a program I developed based on a more comprehensive understanding of physiology and anatomy combined with inner physical-fitness training. My program, presented as a series of weekly workshops, can benefit women of all ages and is comprised of these key elements: an in-depth overview of the anatomy of the pelvic region, a regimen of exercises to tone muscles and increase flexibility in the pelvic area, breathing techniques, and the use of sound to enhance movement.
In the workshops, we begin with a frank discussion of the anatomy in the pelvic region, our God-given powerhouse for life at any age. Beyond the mechanics of procreation and birth, it is associated with healthy intimacy and physical well-being. However, the pelvic region is also the most neglected area of a woman’s body and, for many women, the least-well understood.
With a better appreciation of its physiology, we then move on to toning the muscles in the region. Just as general exercises strengthens the musculature of our outer body, so too, inner-fitness training strengthens the muscles and increases blood circulation in the pelvic area. An example is Kegels, an exercise that tightens and releases the muscles in the vaginal canal. Kegels are important both for better inner health and for enhancing intimacy. We practice them during each weekly session and I encourage women to do them daily and often with the goal of reaching 30 in a row.
Another element I teach about is breath, important because it acts to keep our minds “present” during intimacy. In my workshops I present two breathing techniques: “yoga breath”—inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply through the nostrils, which has the effect of calming and focusing us; and “intimacy breath”—inhaling and exhaling through an open mouth, which is accompanied by sound and body movement and has the effect of quickening and enlivening us.
Touch is another important element we learn about. We have millions of nerve endings underneath our skin and the more we can stimulate them the more sensitive we will become. Here is one exercise I teach to boost sensitivity: flutter your fingertips up and down your bare arm with a light, feathery touch. Practice daily.
The four women I mentioned above each participated in my workshops and have since been able to move to a different place in their marriages thanks to these and other skills they learned there. A word I’ve often heard them use is “enlivened”—they feel enlivened as a result of the workshops, both in their intimate and daily lives, and report improved intimacy with their spouse as well as the added benefits of inner health and increased feelings of well-being. I’m proud I was able to help them, as I have helped others who have taken my workshops.