Lately, I’ve been thinking about how my yoga practice affects everyone I come into contact with.
For some people, it is obvious: as a yoga teacher, I help guide my students’ practice. For my friends, I’m a never-ending stream of ideas, meditations suggestions and thoughts on how to stretch out that tight calf muscle. But until today I hadn’t taken the time to think about what effect my yoga practice has had on my relationship with my partner.
Being in our mid-20s, my friends and acquaintances have repeatedly asked whether we’re “in it for the long haul” or whether “he’s the one.” (I’m not even sure that’s appropriate after a year together, but inquiring minds apparently want to know.)
And I’ve honestly never had any idea what to say to those questions. Is he the one? I don’t have the slightest clue about how I would figure that out. I’ve had the same best friends since I was seven years old and there are days when I don’t know if they are the ones—although 18 years is a pretty long set of relationships.
During a slow practice the other day, I found my answer.
But in finding the solution, I realized that I’d been trying to answer the wrong question. When we buy into the Disney version of “the One” who will somehow sweep all of our problems, faults and insecurities, we are destined to be disappointed not only in our partner, but in ourselves. By looking at “love” as a goal instead of a process, we are set up for despair and failure.
It’s the same way I started out experiencing the asana practice.
There was a goal to achieve, a form to force my body to adhere to. Palms flat on the floor in uttanasana? Shoulders on the ground in Saddle Pose? Box checked. Yoga done.
But once I checked all the boxes, something radical happened. All my little nagging aches and pains turned into painful injuries that unchecked those boxes I had spent months ticking off. My asana practice forced me to back up and keep working.
It became a process yet again. And when I rediscovered the process in my practice, I found it easier to get on my mat and bring joy with me off of it.
So what if instead of asking “Is he the one?” I asked “How can I more fully enjoy exactly where we are right now?”
This lets me focus on how I can make the relationship better, and takes away his responsibility to somehow fill the void in me. This perspective certainly hasn’t made everything come up sunshine and roses, but it helps remind me that I’m actually really happy to be exactly where we’re at right now. Asking the right question gives us an all new starting place every day and also gives us room to grow.
Each day we’re together is part of the process, an opportunity to shift perspective from “What can this other person do for me?” to “How can I more fully experience my relationship just as it is?”
So, the next time an acquaintance asks me if he’s “the One,” I’ll respond with “I’m trying”…and not even sweat the confused look.
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Assist Ed: Dana Gornall/Ed: Sara Crolick