Smash Talk Profilez: Abby Spindelman
While I spend a lot of my time in this column discussing sex and relationships, getting down to the nitty gritty of intimacy is a lot more difficult than it seems. On the surface, sex itself can be a pretty intimate act, but physical closeness does not always entail emotional closeness—an entirely new ballpark of vulnerability. Luckily, there are people out there like Abby Spindelman, an intimacy coach and yoga teacher who helps hash out the intricate, deep concepts surrounding true intimacy. Abby spends her days helping people all across the country find fulfillment in their relationships through her business, Intimacy Alive. Between her coaching business and yoga teaching, Abby has developed some radical ideas surrounding sex, love, and being intimate with oneself and others.
Abby’s ascent to her current form came with some twists and turns. While living in New York City, she began to acknowledge that parts of her life were not fitting together as they should. She identified some unhealthy, repetitive patterns in her dating life, yet couldn’t seem to fix them on her own. She sought out Kavita J. Patel, asking, “What am I not seeing and why am I repeating these patterns?” After doing the grueling work of self-reflection and transformation, Abby discovered that she has a natural capacity to ask questions and help people. Kavita ended up hiring her on as a coach, which she balanced as an undercurrent passion while working in the interior design industry. In 2014, she started her own company and began taking clients.
At this point, Abby left the corporate world altogether, realizing that what she truly desired was to teach yoga and drink wine. “I didn’t have a plan for the first time, which terrified the Virgo in me,” she says. Yet she used this ambiguity as fuel for a new life, got a job at a wine bar, and began teaching yoga. This is when she “aligned head and heart and discovered that power.” In this process, Abby learned an important, existential lesson: “we’re not linear creatures. If you can let go of that linear ideal, you can awaken your power.”
Now Abby has a thriving practice, Intimacy Alive. Through online coaching, Abby helps people connect with themselves and then more deeply with others. Both the coaching and yoga worlds have a tendency to come with a “guru” mentality, but Abby describes herself as more of a guide, where she gently accompanies someone while they do their own work. “I make myself irrelevant,” she says, while teaching people to listen to their own intuition and use their own practices in order to live life and connect to others in the way that they want. “That,” she says, “is success.”
At the core of intimacy coaching is self-knowledge and sharing. “How do I share my rich inner world with another person?” she asks. Conversely, she believes that we can never fully know another person, but, “If you’re open and curious about their inner experience, then you can connect on a deeper level,” she says. Her goal is never to make a person or their relationships perfect, but instead get them to a healthy place where growth can happen. “That process is where the magic happens.”
So, where does SEX come in? Healthy, happy sexuality is a side effect of emotional intimacy, in this case. To be truly intimate sexually requires the participants to focus on sharing a deep experience with one another, more than achieving orgasm. It goes back to knowing the self and being comfortable with your body and desires, in order to share them in a full way with another.
Abby also utilizes yoga in her intimacy practices, as yoga teaches about union. “It’s about utilizing the masculine and feminine, the ether and earth, the ego and spirit,” she explains. Naked yoga is a great way to connect to your own body, as is breath work and utilizing your mindset to its fullest potential. Abby has also done workshops that utilize the seasons to align oneself with the universe. “To me, the magic is that our bodies are aligned with nature and there’s a certain power that comes with tapping into those cycles,” she says. Through this practice, Abby has learned that, “We are all different expressions of humanness, but those differences connect us.” In the end, it’s finding healthy connections that lead us to the deepest intimacies.
If you would like to work with Abby Spindelman, you can contact her at [email protected].