After a heartfelt conversation with a friend of mine, I’ve realized that the way I teach yoga is exactly like the intimate relationships I want to create in my life.
I have a couple of priorities when I’m outlining what I want to teach. And none of them are about the poses.
#1 Safe space - to allow for exploration of body and breath
# 2 Autonomy - intivation to take charge of personal experience
#3 Imperfection - discovering beauty in the challenge
#4 Change - coming to terms with change in body-mind-breath rhythms
Most importantly, flexibility
Flexibility of perspective over flexibility of body - Simply recognizing that our perspective changes with new information (either coming from the body or mind) allows for acceptance of what is true to the present moment. If we can’t come to terms with the current situation, we get stuck trying to touch our toes.
What do teaching yoga and intimate relationships have in common?
#1 Safe space - to explore each other’s emotional needs
#2 Autonomy - respecting each other’s boundaries, giving space when needed
#3 Imperfection - showing compassion for perceived flaws and failures
#4 Change - coming to terms with the natural ebb & flow
Flexibility as empathy - willingness to take each other’s perspective in times of difficulty. It’s so easy to remain rigid in our beliefs about others. When we miss out on the opportunity to take the other person’s perspective into account, we get stuck in our stories of victimization (or self-righteousness).
If intimate relationships could be like teaching yoga, we’d be:
Allowing instead of clinging
Understanding instead of assuming
Witnessing instead of manipulating
Expanding when we want to contract
Listening when we want to act
Risking when we’re ready
Loving no matter what