Yoga and Marriage

I'm a little high strung. I know, for those of you know know me well, this is hard to believe, right? I come off as such a go-with-the flow, mellow gal. Ha! We all know that's a joke. I'm wound pretty tight by nature and have spent most of my life being anxious, nervous and controlling.

In my old age I've relaxed. I suppose that life experience has taught me that I can not control everything and that things will work out even if not as originally planned. I also contribute my ability to breathe and relax to practicing yoga, something I've done now for almost ten years.

I started taking "power yoga" in graduate school. It was more of a challenge than a practice at that time. I was still pretty limber from youth and years of dance and I was able to contort my body into just about every position the teacher told me to. My body and lifestyle has changed greatly in the last decade but I've continued with yoga. I found, after having Caroline, that I had more body than ever before, meaning I had to think before maneuvering into each and every yoga pose. It was at this time that I truly began to understand what yoga is all about.

We can practice yoga day after day, month after month and year after year and each time have a completely different experience. It depends on our moods, our physical status and our concentration. Yoga is about connecting our body and breath. If we don't breathe, we can not bend. If we do not inhale and exhale we are immobile, inflexible. Some days in class I can stretch my arms high, lean forward and touch my ankles. The next week I can barely reach my knees. I've never been able to touch my toes. But, I keep trying. I go to yoga class each week and I forgive my body and accept it for what it is able to do at that current moment. It doesn't matter what I did last week or last year. Yoga has taught me about practice, perseverance and acceptance.

I've been taking a pre-natal class all winter and all of my classmates have now had their babies, leaving me to a weekly private session. The owners of the studio are a husband and wife team and ironically, over the past several weeks, the husband has taught my class. He is a quiet man, maybe in his sixties and I don't know too much about him other than his name, his interest in Tai Chi and Buddhism and that he practices yoga. Somehow last week we started talking about relationships. I, of course, told him about my blog and he told me about his marriage lows and triumphs. I'm the same age as his kids, he's been marriedfor forty years and is on his third marriage. In between downward facing dogs and cobbler poses, we discussed the challenges of compromise, managing finances, staying in love and growing as a couple. I was surprised to hear him say that he was the one to push marriage the third time. I'd think that after two marriages, a person may decide it's just not worth it anymore, that it's easier to be alone. I also thought that the third time would be the charm and that he'd have no problems with this wife. Who knew that some of his marital challenges are the same ones I have?

Listening to my yoga teacher reminded me that marriage is a lot like yoga. It changes every day. We can't expect our relationships to stay stagnant. We can't forget to breathe. If we do, we become inflexible. We have to be willing to take each day at a time. Some days are better than others but we have to embrace each moment for what it is. Relationships are about practice, perseverance and acceptance. We may have our moments with our partners when we are so in sync, it's like we can almost touch our toes. There are other times when when are in a funk and relating with one another only gets our stretch to our knees. Yet the toes are always the goal. They'll always be there and we, as spouses, should always keep those toes in mind. We may never reach that perfect yoga pose and we may never have the perfect relationship but we have to keep breathing and keep trying.

Namaste.

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