My wonderful husband recently gave me a yoga card. The front has a grumpy looking cat doing his yoga asana practice. The inside says:
I meditate, I do yoga, I chant... and I still want to smack someone!
My husband followed by writing something personal and lovely to me about how he loves my teaching and supports my yoga endeavors.
The card got me thinking because it speaks the truth about me (and maybe about you too!). I do yoga, I meditate and I chant and truth be told, I do feel like smacking someone sometimes! My whole family knows that yoga keeps me happier and more pleasant and yet, sometimes, I still can be bossy and even yell (I'm being truthful here!). Since February is the month for focusing on our loved ones, I have decided to give this some real consideration.
Judith Lasater writes:
For me, the strength of my practice is
not necessarily tested during my practice of poses or breathing techniques, but in my intimate relationships. Here my anger, attachments, and fears are not so easily hidden under a mantle of denial, avoidance or achievement.
Living Your Yoga
So, the real practice is to apply the principles we practice to our relationships and life off the mat. The Anusara Universal Principles of Alignment are called Universal for a reason. We can apply them to all aspects of life, including the asanas of relationship.
Consider the following scenario with regards to the Principles: If it is a busy morning and I am impatient with my kids, wanting them to hurry up and get dressed and get their school gear together, and I yell at them to get moving! In so doing, I have started with a contraction, a form of Muscle Energy applied in a forceful, unskillful way. The kids respond grumpily and begrudgingly to my demand, but as a result of my yelling, we all end up cranky. Now, I feel even more contracted, and the rest of the family does now as well.
Now, I'll replay this scenario and use the Principles: It is a busy morning, but rather than yelling, I begin by taking a deep breath and feel my feet upon the earth. I soften and actually look at my two beautiful children, inwardly appreciating and loving them. This is Set your Foundation and Open to Grace. Then, I can ask for them to gather their belongings and get ready (a form of Muscle Energy) in an appropriately firm but loving way. Helping them accomplish this in a timely way gives us all access to more expansion, Organic Energy, in the form of time and freedom to sit down and enjoy breakfast together before we each go our separate ways.
In fact, I find that each time I allow myself to pause, soften, ground and breathe before an interaction with someone, the interaction is guaranteed to be more skillful, more pleasant, more harmonious and more efficacious for both of us.
This month, I invite you to join me in this endeavor of taking our yoga off our mat and into our relationships! To Life! To Love!
Annie Barrett. Educator, certified health coach yoga instructor.