It's Either Me or Yoga!

Written by Heather Morton

What do you do if you are married to someone or in a relationship where the other person is at odds with your practice, your rituals and/or your dedication? Often it is the latter because of the time devoted to practice and your attention. It is this lack of attention to the significant other that can sometimes result in one person feeling neglected. Some people say these are the reasons why they could never date a non-yogi person. But there is something to be said about opposites being attracted to each other and maybe another ‘yogi’ is too much.

When practice is an important part of your life

When I am in Mysore the entire day revolves around practice. It is one of the best ways to deepen practice and I have always recommended it to my students. On a personal note, however, it is a good thing my husband is not here. When I shared with my teacher I would not be sleeping in on our days off (meant as a joke), he took me seriously and said, “Your husband might get frustrated if you continue this at home.”

Now, I don't really think my husband wants me to make a choice between him and yoga! No man should stand between a woman and her passion especially if there is an opportunity for them to grow closer as a result of it. Both people can give the other 'space' and does not need to feel left out. It is fundamental challenge to a loving and lasting relationship.

However, the reality is people split and tensions rise from one party having a stronger passion than the other or not being “into” it. Maybe they hate quinoa or dislike chanting. Having had a rare opportunity to hear a personal story from Rama Jyoti Vernon (one of North America’s first female spiritual teachers) in Los Angeles this was all about her ‘then’ husband and yoga.

Making a choice between your yoga and your partner 

Rama Jyoti shared the time several teachers from different traditions were coming together for a workshop. In the traditional manner she invited them to stay at her home. It was the highlight to her spiritual path and everything she had dreamed of. During the week there was one Swami in the bathtub reciting from the Vedas, another in the kitchen doing pranayama, a monk in the living room meditating, a teacher in the den practicing yogasanas and so on. Her husband, however, didn't quite get it and became very frustrated that the entire house was overrun by Swamis.

One afternoon as she was on her way out to teach a yoga class he pulled her aside and said, "Look it I cannot take this anymore. You have to decide. It is me or them."

When she told the story she paused for a moment and then asked, "So, who do you think 'I' choose?" The audience broke out laughing. The answer was obvious. And she said, “Now there is husband number two.......”

When my husband decided to marry me he was very clear about yoga's role in my life. We met in Mysore 5 years ago and since then every breakfast conversation has been dominated by yoga. During our marriage ceremony he spoke beautifully about the importance of yoga to me. His vows included him wanting to share it with me. It was sweet, honest and right from his heart.

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