Most modern day yoga practitioners are considered to be “householders” by the ancient texts. That means we hold down jobs, we have social lives, we have material possessions, and we have romantic love. But what kind of romantic love do we have?
When we first start practicing, not a whole lot changes about our lives. We continue frequenting the same pubs, eating the same types of food, and dating the same types of people. But, if we stick with yoga for long enough, we simply can’t continue to live as we did before. The mindful awareness that we cultivate on the mat begins to spread to other aspects of our lives—and that includes our romantic lives.
It may have been acceptable to us at some point to have relationships filled with drama or lacking consciousness, but as we progress in our own self-study, those types of relationships seem less and less appealing. Sure, it’s great if your partner makes a lot of money or has good taste in wine or foreign film, but that’s not going to help when he or she can’t stay present or remain nonreactive (or, at least, less reactive) during a disagreement.
The best part of romantic love, from a yogic point of view, is that it can enable us to look at ourselves more deeply and grow in ways that might not be possible when going it alone. But that aspect of relationship becomes limited, or fraught with difficulty, if we don’t have a partner who is interested in the same.
So, maybe we should all date other yogis? Well, the problem there is that pesky dating pool. It shrinks. Especially for straight women, who so outnumber straight men in the yoga community, that pool becomes a little pond. A a rain puddle.
Is it best to just stay single if you can’t find a conscious partner? Some people I know view the challenges that come with dating someone who comes from a different set of conditioning (and I do think yoga is a type of conditioning), as ways to help learn acceptance and non-judgment. And I certainly don’t want to imply in any way that yoga practitioners are beyond reproach when it comes to matters of the heart. We fight and cry and bring all kinds of drama into relationships. But I think that most of us are willing to look at our patterns and tendencies, and work toward cleaning them up some. That doesn’t mean that people who don’t practice yoga aren’t willing to do this. But the concept might feel a bit foreign for many.
What do you think? Is your partner a yogi? If you are single, do you prefer to date someone with a contemplative practice of some kind? Or do you feel like your romantic life is separate from your yoga life? Write in and tell us what you think!