Yoga in Practice: Cultivating Healthy Relationships

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

In Yoga meditation, we look for answers within, and open our self-awareness, but we still have to relate to those around us. Relationships are a mystery to some of us, while others handle relationships like an art form.

This is not to say that quantity makes up for quality relationships. For example: It is possible for a social butterfly to have a large quantity of dysfunctional relationships. On the other hand, it is possible for someone else to be an introvert and have healthy relationships.

The key to establishing balanced relationships starts from within. No matter how much we try to improve our behavior, the proof shows up when we interact with others. Let’s look at the anatomy of a healthy relationship.

1. Mutual Trust: If trust does not exist, caring is limited. When the relationship is tested by the stress of life, it will not hold up without trust. If you cannot be honest with a friend, co-worker, family member, lover, or spouse, this places severe limitations on communication.

2. Freedom: Some relationships are like prison sentences. You cannot have a healthy relationship, when one or both parties are trying to establish control, demanding, or placing unrealistic expectations on each other.

At the same time, both parties should never feel trapped. A healthy relationship is not a form of confinement. When a relationship is consistently unhealthy, both parties should be free to withdraw or part company.

3. Acceptance: A relationship must be taken at face value. To be happy with what you have is a form of Santosha (contentment). You have every right to correct your children and teach them good manners, but trying to change a friend puts a strain on both parties.

If one person has a “check list” for another to fulfill, there will never be happiness in the relationship. Some people feel that their spouse must think, speak, and act, according to their standards. The irony is that we would feel very bored if everyone agreed with us all the time.

During your next Yoga session, when you begin to meditate, it would be healthy to contemplate a relationship that could use some extra care. What can you do to improve it? What should you avoid doing? Why do you want to improve it?

The actions you take should be ethical and rooted in mutual benefit. It is one thing to improve yourself from within, but it quite another to be patient, avoid conflict, spread happiness, and be tolerant of others.

Always remember that you can influence relationships on a daily basis. Yoga practice teaches us to put our ego in the “back seat.” Take the time for self-realization and bring healthy solutions to your relationships.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

Yoga in Practice: The Secret Arts of Yoga and Meditation

By Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Would you like to learn the secret arts of Yoga? The real truth is – there is no secret to: “Study, practice, study more, and practice again.” Yoga is a lifelong journey, which for some Hatha Yoga students may start much like a gymnastic event.

Then, over years of study, Yoga training evolves into self-realization and transformation. Below is a question and answer session, with a student, who is seeking to find the answers to the mysteries of Yoga and meditation.

Q: Is doing meditation by oneself safe?

A: Yes, meditation alone is fine, provided you receive some basic foundational instruction from a teacher or Guru. Books and DVD’s can also be very instructive. Please research the style of meditation before taking up the practice.

It should be noted that a student of meditation should preferably practice one style, with one teacher, long enough to understand the basics. Impatient beginners do too much hopping around from teacher to teacher.

Invest time in research and practice, for ten to twenty minutes per day, for a month, before adding more time to a session. You could always practice longer, but beginners have a tendency to “burn themselves out.” Meditation is preventative medicine for a balanced mind.

Q: How can negative thinking be minimized?

A: The only way to keep negative thinking under control is to fill your mind with good thoughts. Mantra, japa, prayer, and positive affirmations will help. Instead of focusing your mind on what you should not be thinking, fill your mind with positive, happy, and compassionate thoughts. It is impossible to be a happy pessimist.

Q: Can I stay completely free from stress with Yoga?

A: No, stress is a part of life. Too much stress is not healthy and must be reduced. Every style of Yoga is capable of reducing stress levels. Please remember that moderate stress can be healthy, but overwhelming stress is potentially harmful.

Q: Are there any internal powers in our body?

A: Yes, there are internal powers within all of us. If you spend time with the right teacher, you can find it, and feel it, within the same lesson. For some students this may take longer, but your Yoga teacher is a helpful guide.

Q: How can we feel it and in how many days?

A: A feeling of empowerment without ego can easily be felt. A feeling of presence, during practice, can be realized. There is no specific time frame for these processes to take place. If time is a major concern, you should train under the guidance of a competent Yoga teacher or Guru. In this way, your teacher will guide you through the “learning curve.”

Q: Is there any spiritual link between meditation, Yoga, and God.

A: Yes, there is definitely a healthy spiritual link between meditation, Yoga, and God. Yoga is filled with information for spiritual health and growth. It is true that some people do not believe in the concept of God. In this case, spiritual and ethical growth will still be realized with regular practice.

Some Yoga teachers only address Asana for the physical body, but there is much more. All you have to do is continue your meditation practice, while putting the concepts of non-harming, compassion, patience, mindfulness, tolerance, and happiness into practice during your daily life.

© Copyright 2008 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications