Love is similar to yoga in that each is both a practice and the experiences that arise from the practice. Loving is a mutual immersion into each other.
I could also say that a relationship is like a yoga posture. Getting into a relationship, everything is rosy bliss. The stars glitter in one another’s eyes. You feel like the glorious hero of an action movie who has just saved the world from a great enemy.
I see a lot of media posts of couples, which begs me to wonder if most of them come from individuals who really understand the true meaning of a soulmate or the inner workings of what a relationship is.
We’ve all made mistakes and learnt our lessons from the relationships we enter and exit. At this point in my life, I want a partner who speaks to and lifts my soul. I have found someone who does, but we’re still exploring each other. Time will tell if we’re meant to be. But this can never be forced.
Sometimes we need to give each other the space and time to delve into ourselves before we’re truly ready to commit to being side by side for a lifetime.
As someone who has experienced a rough road on the relationship path, I’ve come out learning (or at least think that) a healthy, stable and loving relationship requires a number of things:
- The both of you remaining forever curious about each other
- Never truly stop listening to each other
- Rejoicing in how you complement each other
- Embracing all the ways in which you are not just similar but also different
- Effortlessly supporting, encouraging and inspiring one another to achieve their personal and professional goals
- Being compassionate, patient and present and not expecting anything in return from this
- Never ceasing to surprise each other
- Never stop seeing the reasons which made you choose each other in the first place
- Never taking one another for granted
- Always finding your way back to each other amidst the conflict, obstacles or disagreements
- Forever being playful and spontaneous with each other
- Laughing at and with each other
In yoga as in love, the point is allowing the process to happen. Love is after all a process. The balance needed to create a haven of communication, a space to rest in the relationship. Saying “Yes” to each other means, “yes” to giving each other space, and “yes” to just being together in silence. It means saying “yes” to each other’s mistakes, unforeseen expectations and weaknesses. This spiritual wisdom can bring the strength not to fall out of the yoga pose.
Witnessing the process of a relationship, of a yoga pose, needs faith, commitment and strength. Sometimes I have to make extra space between my shoulders in a pose. That means slightly adjusting one here and maybe lowering the other there. Watching my breath. There is discomfort, but these are my shoulders, and they are not going anywhere.
Whether it is a yoga pose, or a relationship, doubts may come up when something unexpected or disappointing happens. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says even doubt can be positive.
A couple can take the time to nourish their smiles both together and individually. Practicing yoga together, is a way to stay spiritually connected. And that giving of oneself in love will flow back into the relationship. It is a law of the universe.
Becoming intimate with yourself is a necessary prerequisite for intimacy with a partner. Simply put, you need to be comfortable with yourself before you can be comfortable with anyone else. Intimacy is connection. Connection with your partner is not unlike connection with your own body. There are restrictions, limitations, and discomforts. There are tight spots in our relationships. We need to know when to push into those spots in an effort to open them up, and when to give our partner some space.
How many relationships have ended after a prolonged dispute in which both partners are aware of the issues but cannot or do not act to address them? How often have you spoken with someone whose relationship ended without them knowing why?
Yoga provides us with opportunities to practice intimacy and presence with ourselves in a way that helps us to extend those gifts to our partners. Practicing solo is just so much easier. On our yoga mats the stakes are relatively low. If you incline toward overthinking and obsessing about details, you can use yoga practice to experiment with letting go of that tendency to mentally scrutinize. If you tend to be emotionally unavailable, you can use the time on your mat to experiment with intimate attention to detail.
Ultimately, intimacy and presence comprise a complementary union that feels like fullness. Simply allowing your partner to express him or herself, and remaining wide awake and present to all that is expressed, in itself is a powerful practice.
Allowing things to simply be, without any intervention or critique, will yield the greater intimacy and presence necessary for you to dance your relationship into deeper and more profound levels of immersion.
Allowing for time off to be alone individually is as important as the relationship. “For love to blossom, there needs to be longing… and longing needs a little space,” says Sri Sri. “Though it is a little painful, longing is inevitable. If you don’t allow longing, then love does not grow. So, give them some space…and take some space yourself.”
As time passes in a relationship, a couple witnesses that expectations and attitudes change. The relationship can become better with more yoga and meditation practice. We can learn how to communicate better in a relationship, to be more patient and forgiving. Again and again, the cycle rotates from rosy and glorious bliss to momentary shakiness. There may be confusion when little earthquakes shake. Commitment is what holds the yoga pose together, when you decide not to fall. Spirituality is what gives the strength to see it through.