Our lives take place in the context of relationships. We have relationships with ourselves, with others, with life, with nature, with our work..the list goes on and on. Relationships can be like a yoga mat that is slung over your shoulders in every moment of life. It’s so ever-present, you might not even be aware of the presence and impact of your relationships on your overall state.
I think that relationships are one of the most perfect practice spaces for yoga. Ultimately, yoga is about releasing the deep tensions held in the body and experiencing union. The tensions we feel in relationship inhibit that feeling of union, yet the tension itself is easy to release.
The first step seems to be to access awareness of any tensions you are experiencing. Then, instead of looking outside of yourself for a fix, look inside. Poke around inside yourself a bit and see if you can find the beliefs, old hurts or future worries that are adding to your tension.
Then access any number of tools and resources to the release the tension. A simple one you can begin with a 3 minute breathing space. Begin by just noticing what you are thinking and feeling, like someone watching a movie. Just notice, without judging or getting engaged. Then bring your attention to your breath and take a few easy breaths, noticing the movement of the breath in the body, observing the breath. After a minute or so with this, allow your attention to expand to include your breath, feelings and thoughts.
In just a few minutes you can release a bit of the tension that might have you in it’s grips. The three-minute breathing space can be like one pose in yoga, like tadasana, mountain pose. Your practice strengthens and grounds you. Opening the way for you to enter the next moment of your life with greater ease. In this way, you begin to learn and practice the yoga of relationship. The idea is to use your relationships as a practice mat to release tension and move closer to a feeling of union.
If you find that you don’t really know where the tension is coming from or how to fully release it on your own, that’s where the support of a skilled therapist or coach can help. Your part is then to show up and receive the support that’s available. Just as you wouldn’t try to do some of the harder yoga poses without the support of a skilled teacher, there are aspects of relationship tension that call for skilled support.