BY XENIA GUIDO
Yoga Means Union
It is interesting to think that yoga and meditation, practices where we turn the attention inwardly, would have an influence in our relationships with others. Yet, as we show up to practice, consistently, we begin to notice subtle changes in our capacity for understanding, forgiving, and being patient with others. When we practice yoga in a room full of people we can’t help but feel connected, through our breath, our energy, our efforts and our humanness.
Healthy relationships are the foundation for a happy life. Yet, our modern world is overflowing with distractions and disconnect. The practice of yoga brings us back to ourselves and back to the idea that we are all one. It teaches us that the integrity of our spiritual practice is relative to the strength of our relationships. This of course, starts with the relationship we have with ourselves.
What Would Patanjali Say?
In the very first text on yoga, The Sutras of Patanjali, the great master speaks of 10 guiding principles for being a yogi. Five are guidelines we follow to better ourselves like cleanliness, contentment, austerities, self-study, and complete surrender. And five are guidelines for being in relationships. These are: non-harming, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-hoarding, and the last one, brahmacharya. The concept of brahmacharya involves all of the following: having integrity in our relationships and our agreements with others; not wasting our or their precious energy; and treating others in a way that would be pleasing to God.
Partner Yoga is an opportunity to bring this internal awareness of our own being in contact with another being. As we work together to create something special we can be a mirror for our partner and they can be a mirror for us. Through this practice we step up to be of support, to stand up on our own two feet, to speak up our needs calmly and clearly, and to listen attentively and compassionately.
Partner Yoga Poses
Below are a few simple poses that can be practiced with your partner, friend, or family.
This short blog is not meant to be a tutorial on the poses. It is intended for people who already familiar with yoga, breath awareness, moving mindfully, and who want to share this practice with a friend.
I would recommend holding each pose for 5-7 breaths and repeat each pose at least twice. Try the first variation taking your time to verbally communicate what you need and to listen. And the second variation in silence, communicating only through touch and breath.
A big Thank You to Jessica Lamb and Jorge Garcia for being our Partner Yoga models.
“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” ―