Yoga in its essence means relationship. Yoga stems from the word ‘yug’ which was the part that bound the chariot to the horses in days gone by. In a physical sense there is a binding to each part of us as we practice yoga, to our breath, to our body, to each part of ourselves and also those around us. We can not escape life without relationship, all life is this.
When we practice on the mat we have to bring awareness to our breath and body so we can move without straining or pushing. If we are pushing too hard we will lose connection to our breath and our poses will falter. As we find ease in our body we should balance this with the right amount of effort so our practice can be rewarding. This is like any human relationship we have, we have to learn when to push and when to let go. When to fight and when to surrender. The practice of yoga on the mat will highlight our natural tendencies off the mat. For example if a pose is too difficult do you run for the hills or do you over exert yourself trying to obtain the impossible? Maybe this is a mirror to your human relationships?
This mirror will show us our strengths and weaknesses in relationship. We can then practice this off the mat, which probably will be some of our hardest yoga poses ever. Do you remember to breathe during confrontation? Can we assess when we need to give more support to our partners or family or when to let them go on their own? Do we try to control and bully our way into a pose in times of difficulty or can we find some equanimity and go with the flow? Do you get angry with yourself or others when the pose falters or falls?
All relationship requires self study. It is likely we attract the types of people to us that will show us our greatest weaknesses. They will push our buttons and activate the worst in us. We all struggle with this because we want the ideal life, the ideal relationship and sometimes we may look elsewhere or to another relationship to try to fit our mismatched puzzle pieces of our hurts and wounds. We probably don’t want our partners to illuminate our shadow sides.
The yoga of relationship asks that you are aware of all of this. How you breathe and move, how you react, how you push or give in, how you see yourself. Through this simple but consistent act of watching yourself to yourself, you will slowly develop stronger foundations in the way you relate to others.
Practice for today: Have you stopped to think for a moment about your relationship to yourself? How is the way you see or treat yourself both in a physical and psychological way putting up a barrier to creating the ideal relationship to firstly yourself and then to those you love?