As some of you know, I am in Melaque, Mexico leading a yoga teacher training and we just hit the 1/3 mark. In many ways the students have successfully moved through the most challenging part of the course – the initial getting used to the long days (13.5 hours!), experiencing and absorbing new material at a rapid pace, cultivating an increasing sense of curiosity and wonder about the science of Yoga and possibly most importantly, nurturing relationship within and with each other.

Relationships are inherently challenging, and rarely easy. They take work, time, strength, commitment, love, and so much more. In fact, relationships can quite possibly be the hardest thing you could ever attempt.

During the past several days I have been closely observing the nuances of relationships and want to share how the practice of Yoga on the mat can help on this journey of partnership – with yourself and others.

Listening: As you move and flow through a sequence, you learn to listen to your body, you learn to listen to the cessations of your mind. You listen to yourself, and calm the externalities that often matter little to your true connection with this world. The next time someone engages you in conversation, pause and really deeply listen to them – and yes, this means no phone around.

Focus. As your practice of Yoga progresses, you’ll find yourself deeply focusing on some of the more important things in life. What are they? Only you can know that for yourself – we give away our power when we let someone else decide. Increasing your capacity to focus will help you be considerate and mindful in every action of your life, especially towards those you are in relationship with.

Strength. Your mat will show you strengths beyond your greatest imagination. Asana teaches you that only after weeks, months of practice you grow STRONG. This involves conversations with yourself, even pep-talks that build inner strength to do the hard things relationships require of you. A strong belief in the long term benefits of the work.

Meditation. Moods are contagious. If you show up calm, clear, and full of only love and positivity, I can guarantee that will flow into you and those you are connected to. Ever tried eye-gazing with your partner? Pure. Magic.

Open. The vulnerability of our practice can be overwhelming sometimes. Frequently hip opening poses cause tears. Returning again and again to this open space will give you the confidence to return again and again to opening yourself up to your loved ones. Positive relationships require this opening, this softness, this vulnerability, and you’ll need strength to remain open when the natural instinct is to withdraw. Don’t retreat.

I have so often experienced how the benefits on the mat flow so effortlessly into my life and my relationships. I’m curious, how has your practice inspired how you live your life? How has your relationship to yourself and to others changed since you started practicing Yoga? Hit reply to this email and tell me more.

love & pranams,

carla