OK, I’m being provocative, but it’s true—no amount of meditation is going to help you in your relationships or the practical aspects of living unless you consciously extrapolate the principles into the way you live and interact with others. You can’t meditate your way through the day. No, you need to integrate and apply the principles of the practice for it to really make a difference. Not everyone knows how to do that—or even that it’s necessary.
Over many years of teaching yoga, I’ve seen that what happens during practice is only worth something if we carry the principles off the mat and into our lives and relationships intentionally. Without understanding the why of practice and consciously applying its principles, yoga, mindfulness exercises, and meditation won’t effect major changes in your life.
Meditation, yoga, and mindfulness exercises, like any potentially transformative practices, are tools for cultivating greater awareness and integration in ourselves, for a clearer perspective and a more connected way of life. They are paths, not a destination. Practice on the mat is nothing without the conscious application of the principles.
As all kinds of meditation and mindfulness practices over recent years have taken hold culturally, the mechanics of various contemplative practices have been, at times, glossed over, perpetuating an unwitting ignorance of their depth and subtlety. Let’s look deeply at just a handful of the myriad things meditation, yoga, and mindfulness exercises teach us and how to apply those principles to consciously improve your relationships.