As we all know that the benefits of Yoga include decreasing stress, increasing relaxation and strength and flexibility. One surprising yoga benefit I’ve experienced is an improvement in my relationships.
Yoga can help cultivating authentic, sustainable relationships.
The truth of life is that relationship difficulties can be the most explosive and debilitating aspect of their lives. When your love life is good it’s wonderful, but when it’s bad it’s crippling.
For a healthy relationship, you need to love someone with mindfulness and without expectation. Being mindful takes time to master. It is a mental muscle, and as with yoga, exercising and stretching your muscles often creates a strong and flexible body and mind.
Below is the detailed description on how you can implement.
So let’s begin our Yatraa (Journey)
Bringing mindfulness to your relationship to love allows you to more fully participate in its supremacy. Life becomes multidimensional, and you start to discover new capacities within yourself. You learn to work with the inevitable difficulties and disappointments that arise in all types of relationships. Slowly those emotions, which you previously knew only as reasons to suffer, also become opportunities for exploring the mystery of being a flawed human being loving other flawed human beings.
Gau Mukh Asana
So, you no longer keeping score, because you are not thinking in terms of an exchange, but rather your primary relationship is with love itself. Your partner represents your commitment to connection and nonseparation, just as was true with courtly love. He or she is the recipient and the inspiration for your deeper relationship to love, but you are not requiring him or her to buy, barters, or otherwise earn your love in any way.
The psychologists discovered that mindfulness enriched and enhanced the couples’ relationships, both improving individual psychological well-being and the wellbeing of the relationship. Mindfulness promoted the relaxation response and psychophysiological changes that are the opposite of stress induced hyper-arousal. The couples displayed greater compassion, an increased ability to problem solve, acceptance of self and others and greater resilience to stress.
While we may all know the benefits of mindfulness, a North Carolina Psychology Doctoral dissertations study in mindfulness-based relationship enhancement had some interesting results. The study was based on a definition of mindfulness as being:
“The ability to remain focused on the reality of the present moment, accepting and opening to it, without getting caught up in elaborative thoughts or emotional reactions to situations.” (Kabat-Zinn, 1990)
Mindfulness we cultivate on our own can easily be applied to our relationship
The idea behind the mindfulness study was that by practicing the skills of moment-to moment awareness, people gain insight into patterns in their thoughts, feelings and interactions with others and can then choose to change habitual patterns, by responding rather than reacting to their partners. The participating couples underwent eight sessions of Partner Yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices, as well as home practice with the help of guided audiotapes.
And yes, the lessons we learn on the mat can be applied to relationships to make our connections with our partners more fulfilling.
Mark Whitwell, well known yoga teacher and is the author of several books including Yoga of Heart: the healing power of intimate connection. An excerpt from his book:
Asana and pranayama empower the system for relationship. Let us end the suppression around relationship, including and especially sexual intimacy – which is yoga. Finding relatedness is what is really going to reduce the pain that people are experiencing, the trauma in the living organism from the mind’s assumed separation from its own nature.
– Mark Whitwell
- Let Go Your Expectation
When love and ego are at the middle, you are not sacrificing on yourself. Instead, you are giving up certain expectations, which mean that your relationship to the energy of love is not dependent on your partner. Your capacity to love grows based on your ever-deepening development. The delight in giving happiness to another is at the core.
You see your partner through the lens of love, not because he or she is perfect, but because love is not about judging, keeping score, or seeking advantage. It is simply expressing itself.
In this type of relationship, your partner might be less than you desire and there may be many challenges, but these disappointments are not upsetting to you, because your pleasure is based on the experience of selfless love just like a parent’s love for a child. If that love is healthy, the parent does not measure love with the child nor expect an equal exchange; it is the feeling of pleasure in giving that is important.
This is a less challenging practice, to let go of your expectations in a single area of the relationship. I have noticed many people who have faced one area of continual disappointment in a relationship, vowed to love their way through it, and succeeded in doing so. In those cases, the other parts of the relationship were satisfactorily strong to justify such a choice. By letting go in just one aspect of need in their relationship, those people experienced genuine growth that empowered the rest of their lives.
If you are considering this option, it is something you have to do internally.
And below are those expects, where Yoga is conducive to complete wellbeing and enhanced performance in all areas of life.
Yoga teaches you to be with yourself and empowers you to be your own healer. Yoga and meditation empower us to walk the path back to wholeness more gracefully.
Meditation opens the door between the conscious and subconscious minds. We meditate to enter the operating system of the subconscious, where all of those unwanted habits and behaviors reside, and change them to more productive modes to support us in our lives.
– Dr Joe Dispenza
The deepened the intimacy and connection with yourself, you can create even closer relationships with others and a greater possibility for meeting at a new level.
Long holds in poses take us deep into the sensation of each pose. We feel for the movement of breath and the responses from our bodies, minds, and emotions. Staying in a relationship over time gives the relationship permission to evolve. Being willing to take time together to see what we can create together is worth the investment.
Our practice includes times of stillness. Whether in a lengthy inversion, a resting pigeon pose, or shavasana, we take time to be quiet and present with ourselves. With a partner, it’s special when we can be still with each other and allow for the depth of feelings that come with simply being present to another person.
Yoga teaches us to be aware of our sentiments and thoughts. By staying in the present and observing our mind, we understand that we can choose what we focus on at any moment in time.
For example, when we argue with our loved one, the subject of the argument has a special meaning to us. If they disagree with us, we can regard it as they don’t love me or they don’t respect me. The meaning that we assign triggers our emotions; some people feel sad, others feel angry. And if I feel angry, I might criticise, defend myself or retreat. Our emotions lead to our actions.
Yoga teaches us to turn inward and take responsibility for who we are and how we feel. For many, this means we are less likely to see ourselves as victims and are more likely to approach fights or disagreements with a mindset of “What can I do to help or change this situation?”.
Helps letting go Past
By practicing Yoga we come to know and love ourselves, we find self-acceptance, a union of opposites within us, and awareness and sensitivity to our own needs. When we are self aware, self accepting, self responsible and self loving, we are ready to enter into relationship with another. Too often we dive into relationships with our baggage intact and no tools to support the healing and unravelling of the cellularly held pain we carry from our past. Whilst intimate relationships can be an incredible catalyst for healing and lifting the lid on this wounding, we can burn our lovers out by overburdening the relationship with our wounds.