July 12, 2012

To date, or not to date a yogi? That is the question. ~ Justin Dees

Wikipedia describes dating as, “a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by two people with the aim of each assessing the other’s suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or as a spouse.”

So, I’m actively dating again. Hooray? Let me start out by saying that dating can be very rewarding. On the other hand, nothing causes more anxiety and sheer frustration than “getting back out there.”

Dating men, to me, is much like potty training a puppy. They can both be cute, sweet and loving companions. They can also be totally annoying, won’t listen to a damn thing you say and can do things that make you want to choke them out. Fortunately, only one will piss on your rug (if you’re lucky).

It’s been exactly two years since me and my ex broke up. It wasn’t an awful relationship, but it was pretty bad. It took me a while to feel good about myself again, to love myself. My yoga kula, along with my close friends, definitely were the ones who lifted me back up where I needed to be.

I literally told myself, out loud, “You will focus on yourself and get back on your feet, emotionally.” And, I did. So, yes, as of this very day, I’m extremely content with my life. I have a good job, good friends, my yoga practice is better than ever. I’m good!

I truly believe that when a person is happy with who they are and where they are emotionally, others are drawn to them. And, that’s exactly what happened. Over the past six months, I’ve noticed that I have been approached a lot more by men, and more opportunities in my daily life have presented themselves to me. It’s funny how that works. I’ve actually had people ask for my advice in how they can improve their state of minds. The only thing I can tell them is, “Go take a yoga class.”

But, here’s my “problem” with dating. I find it hard, sometimes to relate to other gay men who aren’t in the yoga community. I’ve actually used to get anxiety about it. For the past two years, I’ve found solace in the yoga community. And, I’ve met some amazing gay men along the way. I’ve seen the gay community in a different light with yoga. They are extremely sweet, supportive and are incredibly hot in handstands. They are a good example of how I would like the entire gay community to be.

Gay pride just passed a few weeks ago, here in Los Angeles, and one of the first things a friend of mine told me about Pride was, “Happy Pride! Use a condom!” This is not what I think about when I think about Pride, but unfortunately, it’s a reality.

There were countless parties to go to all around town, and I was invited to several. But, when I was considering actually going, I became anxious. I’ve been to the parties where everyone is loaded on alcohol or cocaine. It’s extremely hard for me to relate to a “community” like this these days. Because it’s just not me.  I’m not saying everyone who doesn’t do yoga, puts cocaine up their noses. There are exceptions to every rule, of course. Yogis aren’t perfect either.

I’m just saying that my life is so different since I started my yoga practice. I have a 16″ Nataraja murti wrapped in Mala beads, in my bedroom for God sake! Anyone that I date just has to understand that I’m going to do be doing yoga three to four times a week as well.

It’s not just exercise. It’s become a part of my life and it keeps me smiling. It’s taught me to care more about people, try to find the good in everything, and not to be quick with judging others. It would be nice to find someone like that as well, ya know?

I spoke with a friend of mine, who is a yoga teacher, and is also gay. And, I talked with him about my dilemma about dating a yogi or a non yogi. He told me something that really resonated with me, and opened my eyes a bit.

“My practice too, has changed me, much like yours has changed you. We just have to remember that there are so many great people out there…all different types, and everyone has something to offer.”

For a long time, I would judge people without really getting to know them…especially if they were like west hollywood boys, party drinker boys. I didn’t think I was judging, but I was…I was just looking at that aspect, and writing them off…I thought I only can date someone who is x, y and z, and is interested in yoga, spiritual things etc.

But then I realized there are so many ways people connect to life…and although they may not all have an asana practice or this or that, my criteria grew into, is this person being authentic?  That’s really all that matters.”

So, with that, I’m keeping an open mind and heart for someone… authentic and caring.

I’m ready.

On the tail end of a breakup, Justin Dees took up yoga at the local gyms to keep himself focused and occupied. He came across Karen Lane, a certified Anusara teacher, who took his practice to places he could never have imagined. She also kept a permanent smile on his face during his difficult transition. She introduced him to an Anusara kula who became another family to him. They provided a sense of community, love and support during every step of his journey. After this, he was hooked! Justin found his “home” with Anusara yoga. Every day that he is on his mat, he grows physically AND emotionally for the better, and has the best time in the process! Justin’s teacher once told him, “You have to try and find the light in even the darkest places.” With his Anusara kula, yoga mat and his bare feet, he is doing just that! Justin is blogging at Justinsjourney.net. You can also follow him on facebook here and on Twitter @JDYogi.

~ Editor: Hayley Samuelson.


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