I started getting into Yoga my freshmen year of college. There was a class every Friday evening at our fitness center. I had tried Yoga once before at my gym back home, but I couldn’t quite get the hang of it. I hated the meditation. I couldn’t quiet my mind like the instructor told us to, nevermind lay still for that long. I had little flexibility and would get frustrated when my limbs just wouldn’t bend the way I wanted them to. I turned to other activities at the gym instead, like Zumba and Kickboxing, classes I felt were more my speed. But as a freshman in college, settling into a new environment, meeting new people, and taking challenging classes put a lot of stress on my body and mind. And that is when I found Yoga again. Although my first class of yoga as an older, more mature me seemed a little daunting at first I needed an activity that would relieve some of the stress I was feeling by the end of week. But little did I know that as I practiced Yoga more often I would not just be improving my strength and relieving stress but I would also learn quite a few lessons that would help me when it comes to love and dating. Yoga gave me three key ingredients that have been valuable when it comes to dating.
Commitment is key when it comes to practicing Yoga. It’s not just so that you can improve your practice and become more skilled at the poses but commitment is always needed in order for your body, mind and soul to receive the full benefits of Yoga. Without commitment practicing Yoga won’t move you in the forward direction. You’ll simply stay in one place, never progressing. The commitment doesn’t have to be huge either. Your level of commitment can start off small, maybe 30- 60 minutes once a week. It’s all about what you need. This commitment might sound selfish at first. You’re basing it off of your needs and your time and where you are at in YOUR life. But in the long run, the commitment you build in Yoga will follow you into other parts of your life. Like love for instance or dating.
Commitment is also key in this part of our lives. It might seem self-explanatory. We’ve all heard how commitment is needed to build a healthy relationship. But I’m not just talking about our significant others. Dating takes a certain level of commitment as well. It takes effort to meet new people, build up the courage to ask them out, think of an interesting date night, and get to know them. For some people, myself included, it can seem quite daunting. Dating is a lot to think about, therefore it needs commitment. Now, if you’re not into the dating point in your life yet, or you’ve been there done that and are now just loving the single life, there is nothing and I mean nothing wrong with that. But for those who are looking to meet interesting people to spend your time with then commitment is key. And just like yoga your commitment can be as small or as big as you want it to be, as long as you listen to what you need.
I’m sure we have all heard the phrase, practice makes perfect. Well in Yoga this is close to the truth. Practice will increase your balance, your flexibility, and your ability to meditate. Practice will improve your understanding of yourself and your connection with the world. It just won’t make you perfect. Yoga isn’t perfect. It is a reflection of ourselves, and we certainly aren’t perfect. Our practice of Yoga helps to improve ourselves but there will always be something worth working on. One week it might be our balance that needs practice, and the next our muscles might feel extra tight and unbendable.
This practice comes with commitment because in order for your practice to have any kind of effect you need to be committed to the practice. This idea translates into the world of love quite well. Love isn’t easy. Relationships aren’t easy either. Practicing yoga is like gaining experience. If you commit to a little practice you will see a change. Working on communicating and connecting with people is tiring but it can be incredibly rewarding if we just put in some effort to improve our relationships with others. Building a healthy relationship can take practice. You might not find the one on your first try. Most of us make mistakes and have to try again when it comes to relationships so having the mind set that practice will only lead to a better relationship or a better date the next time can help us deal with rejection, break-ups, and mess-ups.
The final ingredient I learned from practicing yoga is respect. Yoga teaches us respect for our bodies, our minds, and the people around us that may be practicing also. It is important to know and respect your limits, mentally and physically. Yoga is not about pushing ourselves to the point of injury. It’s about pushing ourselves to do better, to work our way past our limits so that we can create new ones. Yoga also requires a sense of respect for those around us, especially if we are practicing in a class. If we have our own limits so do the people around us and they most certainly won’t be the same. Limits are unique to every person and respecting that fact can improve our own practice as well as theirs. Yoga isn’t about comparing our selves to one another.
Much of this can be said about dating. Respect is needed on all sides when it comes to dating. Each individual needs to respect their limits without being afraid of stepping outside their comfort zone every now and then. It’s important to respect your past as well and how experiences you’ve gained from practice effect the limits you have today. And of course we need respect for our partner in our dating experience. Whether it’s one date or many the respect we show for ourselves must be the same for the other person involved.
Combining all of these key ingredients can really improve our dating experience. Now, I am certainly no expert but these are just a few things I have noticed to make a difference in my life. The more I practice yoga the more a I realize, yoga can look a lot like dating.
Feature Image: Julie Blaustein, Creative Commons