I have often wondered what it would be like to live every moment feeling fully alive and deeply connected, in love with life and humanity, the way I feel sharing Partner Yoga. These past few months have been an opportunity to deeply investigate this possibility.
As the new year begins, I am completing my ﬁrst exploration into the world of online teaching, with a program titled ‘Being Love: A Virtual Immersion in the Art of Relationship.’
Because the course was presented over a three month period, I included the intention to ‘dissolve separation between our practice and our lives’. It seemed a worthy, although perhaps naive intent, and one that has proven both deeply revealing and emotionally challenging for me personally.
Like everything in life, virtual formats have their pros and cons. On the pro side, I was quite surprised by what I received personally, primarily because my experience was more inwardly focused than it is when I teach live events.
On the con side was the fact that I was not able to directly see and touch those participating, which is obviously an irreplaceable aspect of Partner Yoga. Virtual formats are by their nature, a self-directed experience. Each of us had to draw upon our own motivation, our partner’s presence, and our commitment to the process, in order to fully receive the available content and experience.
I also wanted to highlight, primarily through contemplating the principles, the recognition that we are always practicing partner yoga – whether we are conscious of it or not. Each moment we are holding a physical and mental posture, while at the same time in continual relationship with the world around us.
What I know about the transformative power of intention is that we often experience the opposite of our intent in order to clearly see what is in the way, especially if our intention reﬂects our heart’s deepest desires. The clearer and more committed the intent, the more revealing our experience.
This course was a powerful reﬂection of this intentional process and revealed to me the need for both clarity and compassion to activate the inner change we long for.
Before each of the six webinars, as well as before the ‘Integration’ session, I went through unexpected emotional catharsis and experienced what felt like the exact opposite of ‘being love.’ I shed lots of tears as I encountered parts of myself that felt wounded and traumatized, that wanted to put the bed covers over my head and hide from the world.
It is not like I had never seen and felt these parts before, but for whatever reason, I experienced a more direct encounter during these recent months.
I recognize from my own experience, how often our deepest wounds become our greatest gifts. Principle-Based Partner Yoga was developed out of my own deep yearning for safe and sacred connection and it continues to build bridges between what has felt like very disparate parts of myself.
What felt diﬀerent, and empowering, during this course was a deepened capacity to witness and welcome these parts of myself, instead of trying to ‘get rid of, ﬁx or transcend’ in the name of personal or spiritual development.
In the last webinar, we explored the idea of ‘welcoming everything’ in our inner and outer realities – a very courageous and powerful practice where we face into, rather than away from what feels painful and uncomfortable.
This practice, perhaps more than any other, teaches us to trust that all of our experience, particularly those emotionally intense experiences, are opportunities to know and unconditionally accept ourselves.
This is not something we need to do alone, and it is often the unconditional and compassionate presence of another that helps us access and stay present with what we want to turn away from.
It is so easy to feel separate and alone with our painful emotions and experiences – and liberating to recognize that all humans suﬀer the same. In the words of the Dalia Lama,‘we all want to be happy and free from suﬀering’. We just need the skillful means to do so.
Learning to be present with and welcoming of all of our feelings and unmet parts of ourselves, is the work of a lifetime, but having a conscious container to turn up the heat can be transformative and provide tools that last a lifetime.