It has been 13 years since I married my wonderful husband. Our relationship has run the gamut of emotions - wonderful highs, terrifying lows, with many twists and turns, pot holes, obstacles, and many long boring stretches. Anyone who has been in a committed relationship for an extended period of time will relate to this!
I began my yoga practice as a physical form of exercise. I stayed with it when it began to soothe my soul. The lessons I have learned have carried far beyond the bounds of my mat, and influences many parts of my life. It has impacted my marriage in so many wonderful ways, and I thought today I would share with you!
1. How to recognize my EGO. Mine was (is??) loud and obnoxious.
This is the voice inside your head that compares your experience to its expectations of yourself and the world around you – including your spouse and marriage. It is that part of us that insists that “I” am right, that demands its needs be met, that unless it is satisfied then we cannot be satisfied. In a yoga practice, we learn to recognize this voice and set it aside when it comes to communicating with our self. If we allow our ego to rule our yoga practice, we will constantly seek to fulfil its demands and eventually hurt our body, mind or spirit. This is true for our marriage, as well. Hear this – the EGO is one of the most dangerous, sneaky predators of true communication in any relationship.
2. It takes WORK. It is not all roses and sunshine on a yoga mat.
Neither is a committed, loving relationship. Just like there are days that I don't want to attend to my practice, there are many days that my marriage has felt like too much work. Like my commitment to my health, my commitment to my marriage will waiver occasionally – the key is to do the work anyway. Just like a consistent yoga practice, a consistent effort to developing your relationship skills will create lasting strength and flexibility.
3. CONTENTMENT is within me.
This was a tough one for me to learn. I came to my yoga mat hoping that the practice would heal my hurts. What yoga ended up teaching me is that healing power already exists within me, I just needed to become present enough, quiet enough, to tap into it. We often blame our marital dissatisfaction on the failings of our partner. Once we acknowledge that contentment comes from within our self and begin the process of tuning into that, we can begin to find the joy in every moment of our marriage. Even in times of great stress, high emotion, disappointment or tedium, we can have internal contentment and peace. Watch as that spills out into all aspects of your life.
What a blessing this learning has been for my marriage! It has blessed every aspect of my life. There are so many ways to learn these lessons, not just in a yoga class. Walk in nature, learn to meditate, practice mindfulness throughout your day, take a painting class... And then love on one another from an overflowing cup.