Whole Life Magazine

January/February 2015

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Page 22 of 43

THE EARLY DAYS When I rst met my beau, it seemed a perfect blend of personalities and lifestyles—he's an acupuncturist and I teach yoga. As weeks owed into months, we proved opposites in everything from beliefs to behaviors. Apologies followed back-bending arguments, counterbalanced by promises to try harder. In the practice of our relationship, we kept swan diving into an abyss of darkness rather than light. Over and over, our hearts came halfway up in hopes things would change, only to fold forward in the protection of our egos and comfortable ways of being. About a year into our relationship I discovered he had let his ex-girlfriend come over and sleep in his bed. When I confronted him, he defended, "She was going through a major health thing and needed someone to watch over her through the night." My chakras buzzed in disarray. My root sense of security began to falter at the base of my spine and my creative center cra ed a multitude of scenarios he repeatedly denied. I know the universe brings exactly what you need to grow into your greatest self, even if it's not what you want, I reasoned with myself. is is a good opportunity for me to practice compassion and forgiveness. Six months later, we took a trip to Taiwan. A er dinner one night I walked into a shop while he waited outside. When I came back out he was smoking a cigarette. We had battled frequently about his occasional smoking habit, so I showed my dismay. Under a sky full of rain he bellowed, "Don't tell me what to do! You have this idea of how you think your partner should be, and just because I don't t that mold, you get upset. Aren't you being judgmental? Isn't that not very yogic either?" I gripped my umbrella to anchor me in the moment. My muscles hugged to the bones in quiet rage. My heart knew we should no longer be together. But, I questioned, what about unconditional love? What if I am being judgmental? Eventually the argument ended, and by the time we returned to the States, my focal point—the drishti on my ideal relationship—had blurred. e loving-kindness, the metta, between us had dissipated, but by doing nothing to change my circumstances, I tacitly accepted his behavior. Instead of leaving, I continued to make compromising adjustments in order to force the life I wanted to t into the life that was actually happening. In the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, he writes of ahimsa, the idea of non-harm and non-violence. It's so easy to tout this principle as something we do for others, but when it comes to ourselves, we readily forget. "Before you point your nger at anyone else, rst look to yourself," I had learned. "Everyone in your life is simply a mirror to what's going on within." And in my quest to be a diligent yogi, I believed everything was always my fault. When I stood back as witness to observe the unfolding events between us, I kept closing my eyes in avoidance of a change I wasn't yet ready to accept. One day, as another argument was brewing, a dormant part of my awareness woke up. My spirit lunged forward into the warrior I had forgotten existed within me. "Have you ever thought," I asked him clearly, my throat chakra opening, "that what aggravates you so much about me could simply be a re ection of something going on within you?" " at's really insightful and all," he shot back, "but I don't care." As K. Pattabhi Jois, founder of ashtanga yoga said, "Yoga is 99 percent practice and 1 percent theory." I practiced. I pushed into a plank of resilience, found courage and engaged my core. Friends took me in until my apartment was ready. Five days later I returned to our condo to pick up a piece of furniture. e front door was wide open. His ex-girlfriend was moving in. I thought about karma, about many things I chose not to say, and in the end decided it was the universe's way of o ering me a parting gi —to learn to always trust my intuition. Yoga is called a "practice" for a reason. ere's never going to be a point of perfection. As much as we can rely upon it to help us nd balance in our lives, the practice itself must also be balanced. While yoga genuinely saved my soul at one point in time, it also led me to more pain than was necessary in my relationship. Falsehoods and misapplications of yoga's tenets o ered a di erent lesson from what I ever expected. In the end I realized the answers we seek outside of ourselves can never compare to the truth that exists within, which is truly what yoga is about. february/march 2015 23

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