Most yogis, at some time or other, have tried partner yoga. It’s a lot of fun and can be a great way to connect with another body and explore different shapes and ways to support each other in yoga postures.
It can also be so much more. When a yoga therapist facilitates partner yoga with the clear intent of supporting better relationships, it crosses over into Couples Yoga Therapy. Note the “yoga” in this term. Couples Yoga Therapy is not a substitute for Couples Therapy; at the same time, it can often be all that is needed to strengthen a relationship and make it more fulfilling for both people if the relationship is in reasonable shape to begin with.
Couples Yoga Therapy is generally delivered as a tailored, guided, and facilitated experience for an individual couple or as a more generic group experience with several couples participating.
For almost 30 years, I’ve been offering “Yoga Therapy for Couples,” ranging from sessions for individual couples and group workshops to professional training programs to teach yoga therapists and psychotherapists how to help people deepen their relationships through yoga experiences. It has been an important part of my work as a yoga therapist as I have consistently observed some key relationship benefits. These have often been more profound than I imagined, making it very exciting to offer this work and follow the outcomes. These specific outcomes are not exclusive but are the ones that show up consistently.
- Couples feel more “connected” and safe with each other
- Partners become more accepting of each other as they are
- They begin to value and appreciate their differences and see them as strengths in their relationship rather than as hindrances
- Their deeper awareness of each other begins to have an impact as they see and value the unique ways of being human. Not just for each other but often spreading to other people, individually and in relationships.
- A spiritual deepening of the relationship occurs, often accommodating differing beliefs and giving rise to a homegrown and natural appreciation of diversity.
What I’ve learned over several decades is that the approach to Couples Yoga Therapy that has the most significant positive impact needs to be very skillfully facilitated with clear boundaries, guidelines, and dialog processes but which also need to be delivered with compassionate understanding and not be rigidly imposed or intrusive to the process.
Doing this skillfully is the product of good training but also a level of emotional, mental, and spiritual maturity. The individual’s practice (yoga, meditation, contemplation) and willingness to embrace the edges in their personal relationships and work with them consistently are the best supports for this development process.
I was fortunate to realize many years ago that my relationship with my spouse was the most important aspect of my life and a primary source of my growth. It has been and continues to be a gift that keeps on giving, and I am so pleased to have discovered its value.
As John Lennon said:
“When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.”
May your relationships also reward you with a way of being in life and the world that serves you and create a greater appreciation for love, acceptance, and compassion for all beings on our planet.
A COUPLES YOGA THERAPY WORKSHOP
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