The most rewarding and the most hurtful part of human existence lies within our relationships. Here are a few lessons from asana practice.
1. If you never try, you will never know! You may never be able to do a complex arm balance but you will never find out what is possible if you are not willing to try.
During conflicts, our feelings are hurt so we often retreat. We avoid the person or change the topic when it gets too close to the subject of sensitivity. But conflict is like a wound. The longer you let it sit unattended the worse it gets. You may not be able to resolve your conflict but if you don’t give it an opportunity with a conversation, you guarantee non-resolution and grief. It is often said that sitting on anger is like drinking poison and wishing for the other person to get sick.
2. Back to that arm balance. Let go of acceptations. You cannot force the outcome. You may never “nail” that arm balance.
Starting a conversation will open the door of possibilities, but you cannot control people. Beginning a conversation with a preconceived result in mind will make you deaf to any other lessons and possibilities along the way. If you have an agenda you will not hear what your friend or family member is saying because your mind is so stuck on the goal. Instead of focusing on your goal, focus on the conversation, listen and observe.
3. OK now that you are in an arm balance, how will you exit this pose? Most injuries happen not as we enter the pose but when we exit. Often once we arrive, we lose control, have a knee-jerk reaction and mindlessly fall.
When in a difficult conversation with a loved one, make sure to notice your own emotions. Sit in awareness so you can catch yourself as your anger rises, or as sadness shocks you. Watch your emotions and don’t react to them with the first defensive jerk. Breathe, notice what has been said and share how you feel. Often when you honestly share your emotions you will find a softer exit strategy. Never speak without awareness. In a yoga pose when you panic, things fall apart. In a conversation, things may also fall apart if your lips start expressing something that you did not mean to say.
4. Keep practicing no matter what kind of day you are having. Some days poses feel good, other days we feel like an old clunky engine without oil.
This is the same in our relationships. People’s feelings, energy levels and even interests ebb and flow. Keep an open loving relationship with friends and relatives whether it is rain or shine that comes into their life. When you are full of love and humility, then you can see the beauty in the whole, not just in the moments that make you feel good.
5. Stay for savasana. Transformation happens in the quiet moments when the soul can rest and absorb all the lessons of the journey. Reflection and non-action are just as necessary as asana. Don’t be addicted to asana or action.
Being friends means more than just hanging out when there is something fun to do. As we get older we have busier and busier lives and the possibilities to get away with friends lessens. If we reduce friendship to action we may find ourselves without friends. Welcome the moment to just be with each other. Often when I go over to my friend’s house that has lots of children, I end up helping with dishes or playing with her kids. We may not exchange a single word but spending time with her is being with her. I honor our relationship with simply being not doing. There is so much to share in moments when nothing in particular happens. We are simply there holding space and being.
[Photo by kylesteed – CC BY]
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