Thoughts On Yoga & Relationships

Recently we heard that five years is the new forever in relationship and marriage. Yogi Bhajan used to say that marriage is a carriage to Infinity. It took us a long time to figure out what that meant. The meaning of life is whatever we make sacred. Commitment is the cornerstone of sacredness. It seems to us that relationship is as much a spiritual path as life in a monastery because every day your ego gets tested and opportunities for growth abound. There is also, of course, great joy and peace to be found in the loving continuum of life with another.Where There is Love There is No QuestionThis is something I didn’t understand until I understood it. I spent eons trying to decide what love is and if I were in love with this person or that one. I realized it has nothing to do with seeming compatibility, such as background, belief systems, shared hobbies, or sun signs. It just is. And you know it. It has nothing to do with reason. Your heart really is the brain here, even if it makes no sense. Of course an astrologer can find patterns. A therapist can find patterns. Anyone with a specific focus can pinpoint reasons for the attraction, but none of that makes a difference when you find you are in love. You just know it? and then you understand where there is love there is no question.The Real Work Begins Before the RelationshipAll yoga is relationship. Your body and your breath. Movement and breath. Your body and the space around you. Yoga is ultimately about Union. Marriage is the ultimate yoga. Relationship begins with your self first – a relationship that deepens and grows and changes just like any other. Only when we deepen our appreciation of ourselves, and what we have to offer, can we begin to truly appreciate and truly support and love another. When you begin a relationship with someone it is the relationship with your self that continues to deepen as you learn to share your space with a partner. Some Are More Equal Than OthersYoga is about finding balance. For a while I was in a relationship with someone who loved me very much. It was all about ME. I thought that although I was not as “in love,” it was great to have someone so much in love with me. None of the pain of love, i.e., jealousy, angst, etc., just unconditional (it seemed then) adoration. Then one day I asked him, “Don’t you feel like you are missing out by not having someone love you like you love me? How come I’m the lucky one?” “You’re not the lucky one,” he said, “I am. Because I’m the one who knows exactly where he wants to be. I’m never restless.” “Oh.”I spent 3 more restless years, wondering if I was in the right place, letting those wise words sink in. Now I get it.WorkEveryone wants to fall in love and live happily ever after. We know someone who fell in love with what seemed the perfect woman. Then they fought every day for two years. He could not understand how the two of them could seem so compatible and yet be fighting so much. He started to think that there was something fatally wrong with their relationship or his judgment. Sometimes the deeper the love, the more the surface friction. Intimacy is a scary proposition. We all want it but we are afraid of letting down our defenses. Now after four years that couple is still fighting, but with a deeper understanding of their dynamic and a more powerful commitment to the process. Falling in love can only be a growth experience if we are willing to stick it out and find solutions through the rough spots. True growth occurs when we meet obstacles. That is how the relationship deepens.Then More WorkIn yoga and dance we often hear that we need to become soft to become strong. Where there is tension, energy stagnates and nothing can happen. No growth. No deepening of our experience. Everything feels much too difficult. Our hips and joints feel pinched and our limbs feel like cement bags. Likewise, a relationship can feel heavy and like entirely too much work unless we are willing to soften and let down some of our defenses. This is not as easy as it sounds. Those defenses took years to put into place beginning with our relationships with our parents, siblings, baby-sitters, etc..When you feel tension building try to back off. If doing Down Dog hurts your wrists you modify. Maybe you use straps to take some of the weight off your arms. Then you investigate to see if the problem might stem from tension in your shoulders. Finally, if you can’t find a solution you ask a teacher’s advice. You don’t throw away your arms away and start looking for better ones! Committing to finding solutions in your yoga is what truly deepens your practice. It works the same way with a relationship. Try not pushing for the result you want. Try to see it from another point of view. Try your partner’s point of view. Understanding is a much better path to happiness than controlling. You need to be flexible enough to try another direction when no headway’s being made.And Be Very Careful What You SayA friend of ours has been in a relationship for 10 years. She recently confided that they no longer had a sex life to speak of. She said that a few years back they had had a horrible fight in which she was very sarcastic about his sexual technique. Their sex life was forever damaged from one momentary outburst. Try to speak about things that are upsetting you when tempers are cool. How you speak about something is often more important than what you actually say. In ConclusionWhether you’re on your own or in a relationship we hope that you will continue to open yourself to loving and being loved and be fearless in this endeavor.MEDITATION TO COMMUNICATE FROM THE HEARTIn honor of Valentine’s Day here’s one which can improve your every relationship and make the world a better place. Sit comfortably with a straight spine. Interlace your fingers with the thumbs pointing straight up. This hand position is held at sternum level away from the body. Your elbows are held at the base of the ribs. Your eyes are 1/10 open looking down and in towards the tip of the nose. Inhale and chant: RaRaRaRa MaMaMaMa SaSaSa Sat Hari Har Hari Har. Inhale again and repeat. Do this mantra on one breath with feeling. 11 min. is the optimum time. Here’s the melody: In the key of C: Ra (E)? Ra (D) Ra (C)? Ra (D), Ma (E) Ma (D) Ma (C) Ma (D), Sa (E)? Sa (E) Sa (E)? Sat (G), Hari (E), Har (D), Hari (C), Har (C), Communication is the essence of life. It can make or break relationships. The frequency of our words is sometimes more important than their meaning. We don’t always have to be in agreement with someone (or vice versa) to love them. Love has its own logic. This meditation will give you the power to heal and uplift through verbal expression. The entire universe came into being through a primal utterance. Using this technique as a catalyst, practice communicating from your heart. Thus you will make people’s day without them knowing why. You will create peace in your environments and turn sadness into gladness on your passage through the world. When you speak, everyday will be Valentine’s Day.

All Best to You,Ravi Singh & Ana Brett

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by Ravi Singh & Ana Brett
Ravi and Ana been featured presenters at the Midwest Yoga Conference, The Toronto Yoga Show, and the Six Days on Freedom Retreat. Their clients have included Olympic Athletes and celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, Lou Reed, Carrie-Anne Moss, Donna Karan, and The Red Hot Chile Peppers. They’ve taught in many diverse contexts: from Iceland to Maui, Canada to Costa Rica, from boardrooms and Park Avenue Penthouses, to scientists at Bell Labs, from Opera Singers at the Aspen Music Festival and street kids in Los Angeles to backstage at Broadway plays. They are Authors of the Fat Free Yoga DVD series and the forthcoming book Fat Free Yoga.