How can Partner Yoga practice be used to shift us out of conﬂict, and back to sweetness with those we love – the space we would all rather hang out? Most of us have experienced when triggered into anger, how we get caught in our thoughts and story about how our anger is justiﬁed, and how the other person is clearly WRONG.
Depending on the situation, and our conditioning, these situations often catch us by surprise and can lead to a variety of unskillful responses. Responses that range from angry, hurtful words, to punishing withdrawal, to traumatic ﬁght/ﬂight/freeze reactions.
What if instead, we were able to connect with the part of us that wants to return to love rather then be RIGHT? The part of us that is at least WILLING to see the situation differently? The part that would rather forgive then hold onto painful resentments?
This of course, is a very big ASK of ourselves. The most challenging part of any real shift in perception is the WILLINGNESS to not only see the situation differently, but to see our part in it. This willingness takes humility and a commitment to the deeper Truth that is going on, rather than to our current version of the story.
Justiﬁable anger can be very seductive, giving us a false sense of power and control. We have all spoken and acted from this place and felt the damaging effect this can have on our closest relationships. Anger in itself is not the problem. Anger, like all emotions, can be a great ally for insight once the reactive part of us calms down.
In the deeper, quieter part of us, we know we would rather be at peace, connected to our own, and our partner’s essential goodness, then hold on to our anger and resentment.
The next time conﬂict arises and you ﬁnd yourself willing to try something new, experiment with this exercise:
Choosing Connection over Conﬂict
- As soon as you notice conﬂict arising, ask your partner if they would be willing to sit quietly with you, without words, to see if it is possible to perceive the conﬂict/ situation differently.
- If they agree, begin by sitting back to back, ﬁnding a stable alignment and solid sacrum connection. (Download a free video or scroll below for short instructions)
- Once you are connected in a balanced and comfortable position, silently acknowledge yourself and your partner for your willingness to choose love, knowing that you have just accomplished the most challenging part of the practice.
- As you sit quietly, feel your own and your partner’s presence. Notice how you can calm disturbing thoughts and feelings simply through relaxing the physical sensations of tension in your body.
- Notice how when we sit together in this way, supported by and connected to our partner, we relax. Our defensive stance softens as we relate from this deeper, more soulful aspect of our being.
- Continue sitting together in this way until one or both partners feels an obvious shift in your feeling state. Ask your partner if they feel complete or would like to stay connected longer. Slowly turn and sit facing your partner in silence and openness.
- Sense the shift in energy between you and agree to come back together at a later time to share thoughts and feelings related to how you were able to see the situation differently. It may be helpful to then use ‘Active Listening’ the ﬁrst practice in ‘The Pleasures and Principles of Partner Yoga, to slow communication down and deeply listen.
Note: If for whatever reason, Sacrum Connection is not accessible to you or your partner, ﬁnd a way to sit together where you are physically touching. Back to back is ideal as it softens our projections and connects us to our essence through spine to spine contact.
Back-to-Back Sacrum Connection
This practice is best understood as a powerful connection between sacrum bones, rather than a back-to-back sitting pose. It is important that we do not lean on our partner but instead feel the support that comes from alignment and connection.
- Begin in a back-to-back seated position with your partner. Lean forward and shift your pelvis back until you contact your partner’s sit bones. Slowly sit upright and align your torso on top of your pelvic bones.
- Draw your wrists into the hip sockets and squeeze the shoulder blades and elbows together, lifting the sternum. Maintain this lift through your spine as you relax your hands back onto your knees.
- Bring your breath and awareness to the connection between sacred bones. Unhinge the jaw and relax the body. If you notice your partner leaning back, gently tap your partner’s hips with your ﬁngers to remind them to keep sternum lifted.
- Continue to relax and receive the support of both your partner and the ground. Notice how your partner’s presence brings you more deeply into your own being.