Practicing yoga connects us deeply to our truest selves. We can connect to the unique parts of us we want to share and have nurtured in relationships. Lessons we learn on the mat can be applied to relationships to make our connections with our partners more fulfilling.

The best yoga practice has a strong foundation in basic skills. Poses develop from our connections to stable foundations that create freedom for our breath to move, and for our bodies to explore our practice. In our relationships, we need to develop a connection to our partner that is based in a solid foundation of caring and trust. This connection gives us the freedom to fully express and explore in the relationship.

A practice of regularly scheduled classes/personal practice is much more rewarding over the long run than the occasional workshop or retreat. Workshops and retreats are great additions to our regular practice, and provide chances to learn new things, but occasional workshops alone cannot sustain our practice.

In relationships, regular contact and communication ensures deeper connections and understanding than the occasional exciting weekends away. Weekends or shared vacations are great times to learn more about each other, and to enjoy new experiences. However, ongoing contact keeps the connection between partners strong and growing.

Pacing our learning on the mat is critical to developing a safe practice. Going deep too quickly, in or out of an advanced pose, opens us to the risk injury. Going slowly in our practice allows us to feel how our bodies respond to subtle changes, and allows us time and experience to adapt to the nuances of our own experience.

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Going slowly in relationships may seem old fashioned, but taking time to get to know someone gives us time tap into our responses and experiences with a new partner. If we're quick to jump into bed with someone, or a new partner begins to plan for the distant future too soon, someone is going to get hurt.

Long holds in poses take us deep into the sensation of each pose. We feel for the movement of breath and the responses from our bodies, minds, and emotions. Staying in a relationship over time gives the relationship permission to evolve. Being willing to take time together to see what we can create together is worth the investment.

Our practice includes times of stillness. Whether in a lengthy inversion, a resting pigeon pose, or savasana, we take time to be quiet and present with ourselves. With a partner, it's special when we can be still with each other and allow for the depth of feelings that come with simply being present to another person.

What lessons from your yoga practice have you applied to your relationships? What would you be willing to try for love?

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