I write this second introduction during the Covid pandemic that began in 2019 and continues into the year 2022. Although we have been advised to socially distance, we know we cannot continue the social separation and that we will need to find a way to live with any virus that presents itself. Connection is a basic human need, perhaps the most basic, after air, food and water.
I have learned so much over these years of sharing Partner Yoga in the world. One of the greatest challenges I have faced is learning to teach something that I did not have to learn. The forms and practices of Partner Yoga were a gift given to me to share, as natural as walking or talking or breathing.
I believe this practice, like all spiritual understanding, is more of a remembrance than a learning. Most all of us have been conditioned away from our natural capacity for embodied, intimate communion with others. In fact I have seen that most people are uncomfortable with the most basic of human encounters, such as simply seeing and being seen by another.
We have learned to relate from our minds, and from the thoughts, beliefs and stories we tell about ourselves and each other. This situation has of course wreaked havoc on our capacity for authentic connection. Partner Yoga practices are a way to return to and remember a more natural and easeful way to relate and to go beyond our minds, connecting much more directly, energy to energy.
Energy does not lie in the way our thoughts and words sometimes can. When we sit back to back with another, we are given an opportunity to see and be responsible for the quality of energy we show up with. We get to choose whether to be open or closed, trusting or fearful – in posture and in life.
Moreover, I continue to see clearly how alike we humans are. No differences in language or labels can change the fact that we all want to be happy and free from suffering. And that we all want to love and be loved.
From my perspective, conflict and disconnection arise from two main causes. One, we all have different ideas about what will alleviate our suffering and bring us happiness. Second, and perhaps more important, we believe that we are separate beings with competing goals and that our happiness is not inextricably bound with each other and this precious planet that sustains us.
Partner Yoga is a potent experience of human connection, broadening our definition and understanding of what intimacy with others is. One Partner Yoga experience, skillfully guided, can change us forever – because once the door of perception and possibilities opens, it can never fully close again.
My work as the developer of this practice continues to be to clear the misperception that Partner Yoga is for lovers only – and to welcome everyone, to experience something that may initially feel out of their comfort zone.
The practices of Partner Yoga provide a context to recognize the truth of what wisdom teachings from the beginning of time have told us , that separation – from others, from Nature, and from Life itself is the root cause of our suffering.
Partner Yoga is both fun and profound. It is a way to play with form and energy, and to let go of the ways we defend and resist against the very thing we most desire – true connection with ourselves and others.
It has been almost twenty years since the first edition of this book as I believe The Pleasures and Principles of Partner Yoga was published ahead of its time. I am happy and hopeful to see this mobile version finding its way in the world.
May reading this book and exploring these practices bring peace, pleasure and beauty into your life.