Does Yoga end relationships?

Okay, a little dramatic for a thread title, I’ll admit.

I’m just wondering if it is customary, or if anyone has had experience with feeling the need to end or modify unhealthy relationships as a result of their practice.

Right at the end of my shavasana today, my consciousness drifted to a teacher telling me something about chaos that I don’t quite remember, but I remember he repeated the word “chaos” many times and gave me the impression that I need to minimize the chaos in my life. And when I returned, I felt a very strong urge to end my marriage. LOL…no drama there!

My relationship with my husband was great for the first two years we were together, but then just months after we were married, I experienced a major spiritual awakening, and unfortunately he did not come along for the ride. I changed from the wild, over-sexed, party girl he met to a more conservative, philosophical, grown up. Lol. And the only thing that really changed in him is that he became irritable and resentful. I don’t blame him. He married one type of girl and expected me to stay that way and I didn’t. From there, many things happened, not all good, and our marriage has just been deteriorating since then. We’ll be married five years this May.

We try to give it the good effort and keep things together, it’s not like we argue that much. It just seems like neither of us is invested much in the other person’s life. Add that to past hurts and resentments, and well, a hectic work schedule and financial woes, and well, there just isn’t much glue holding us together anymore. And because I have been on a spiritually oriented path and he doesn’t contemplate those things much, we have barely anything in common anymore.

Truth be told, I stay for my kids and no other reason. I feel trapped, really. I love my husband unconditionally, like a family member who I just can’t turn my back on. I guess it’s loyalty? But I’m pretty sure that is only one kind of love a wife should feel for her husband. I feel like there is a lot of passion in me that just sits in my own little internal prison because when I let any of it out, it simply isn’t well-received. It feels suffocating, really, that there a great big part of me that is left unexpressed.

Anyway, I guess maybe that’s too much information. Sorry, I’m feeling a little vulnerable today. :oops: But I was just wondering if anyone else ever experienced a strong urge to make major life changes due, at least in part, to their Yoga practice and what they did about it. Any advice or comments are welcome.

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Yoga teaches us about relationships, it doesn’t end them. Starting them or ending them depends entirely on how we wield the teachings. In fact the Yoga Sutras focus is on teaching the aspects of three relationships; to self, to others, and to the planet or universe.

A yoga practice that is actually a yoga practice, rather than an asana practice, can effect change on many layers of consciousness. And, of course, an asana practice is necessary (too). So transformation from the path should be continual. Our mission is to continue to grow, for things that cease to grow are things that are stale and dying, by one definition or the other.

There are three elements to be considered in your post GT.

The first is the concept of making choice and living with outcome. This mandates we cultivate the most important of yoga precepts; discernment. Without that there can be very little growth as we are just bouncing from one thingy to the next in some rote fashion without direction or purpose. Without discernment we’d have no way to know what IS for us and what is NOT for us.

The second is finding the right soul for our life path. That does not mean finding someone who fills a void in us or completes us but rather being a complete and finding another complete to be with in a healthy way.

And the third is the way we determine one and two, and that is to go to the heart center and explore then live our dharma - our life’s purpose, the very reason that our soul has occupied this body.

For me yoga teaches a way to live in integrity and I try to apply that framework to all my living. In some places I do that well, in others I do not. When one person in a relationship is committed to change and the other appears committed to the sofa it can be challenging and I’ve seen a lot of “adjustments” amongst my peers during 2,000 hours of training. I found it best (for me in my life) to openly discuss what was going on. Each person deserves the opportunity to be heard and decide what may happen in terms of the course of the relationship. Again, personally, I like to be able to say I did everything in my power to maintain a healthy relationship so in my mind the last effort is couples counseling. The neutral view of a qualified counselor can be very helpful in clearing the fog.

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Same thing… my hubby is too far away from spiritual seeking and growth. very hard to keep my lifestyle and diet with ignorant person in the house.:slight_smile: and very upsetting that you do not have soul mate in your husband…

It is karma, we deserve that kind of people and we have to lean to live with it… overcome it and we will never have to deal with this kind of problems in posterior re-incarnation Remember, adherence to duty - is the one of aspects of yoga.

Well, think that way, when you become a vegetarian you did not cut all your relationships with horrible-killers- meat-eaters:)) …

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Namaste!

When we make the choice to fill our heart center with unconditional love, our world blossoms into a beauty far greater than we have previously known. The greatest lesson of life is learning to give love from the abundance of our Higher Self, without selfish qualifications or limitations of any kind.

Life is the school, and Unconditional Love is the lesson.

A well grounded and consistent yoga practice or sadhana naturally serves as the foundation of such love manifesting itself in every part of life, in every relationship with others, rather than serving as a reason to abandon love in any part of our life.

Hari Om!

Adityananda

Thank you so much for the responses! I’d like to make a few brief comments.

[B]Gordon[/B], thank you for your post.

So much resonated with me and it also helped me to highlight some of my shortcomings. As far as discernment is concerned, I feel as though I have been wishy washy in my commitment to working on my marriage and/or my commitment to leaving it. The main problem was that it was a no win situation. If I stay, my kids are harmed because my husband is irritable and miserable to them, not a very loving man. (He is not their natural father.) And if I go, I throw their lives into upheaval and take away their stability. My confusion has been a question of choosing the option that is LEAST harmful to them, but I never could get a grip on which was worse. When I realized neither is better or worse, I simply took no action for a very long time. The feeling I had yesterday during that meditation is that deep down I knew what choice had to be made for the greater good and that I do need to commit to one choice or the other because wishy washy isn’t helping anyone.

As for finding the right soul, that resonated with me so much. Prior to meeting my husband, I could never be alone. I was wrought with insecurity and that insecurity is what led me to choose him in the first place. I just want to be alone with myself for a long while. If one should come along whom I feel that compatibility and strong spiritual connection with, then okay we’ll see. But I don’t want to try to make men fit that mold for me anymore.

Point three, living our purpose from the heart center, I thank you for sharing. I have always felt it was my purpose to help people to heal. All my life. When I had my spiritual awakening, I felt that with a vengeance. Yet all the while that I was trying to embrace what I felt was my purpose, my husband was growing more and more resentful of it. I tried to view it as it was also my purpose to love him unconditionally, as well…and I do. But just because you love someone unconditionally doesn’t necessarily mean you are meant to be married. I do feel that I still have much work to do in this area as my unconditional love for everyone isn’t always so unconditional. Thank you again.

You mentioned “integrity” and that is a big part of what I am grappling with. By leaving the marriage, I feel like a coward who didn’t give it my all. And I don’t want to place blame on him unnecessarily, which is something I would have done in the past. We decided together, last night, mutually, that we are getting divorced (and that isn’t carved in stone because we both do love each other) and I am realizing that my integrity is going to be put to the test because I have to accept that I failed and that in some ways I am a coward. And I have to find a way to be okay with that and take full responsibility for it.

[B]CityMonk[/B], thank you for your response. I found it ironic that you brought up vegetarianism, because that is actually one of the major issues in our marriage. He doesn’t like that I am a vegetarian. I have been buying and preparing meat for him, but I really dislike doing it. Most times I don’t complain, but there has been a time or two that I asked him to cut his own meat off the bone of whatever animal and he got upset that he had to do it himself.

I agree with what you say about “duty”. I think that is why I stayed so long. I felt committed to him and to making our marriage work. But I also have a “duty” to my children to protect them from harm and they are so affected by his negativity that it is doing damage to them. It feels like a no win situation.

[B]adityananda[/B], thank you for your response. I am working on coming to terms with what you say. I honestly don’t really feel that my relationship with my husband is ending. The marriage is ending, but the unconditional love is not. I do still love him very much.

SIGH…feeling all over the map today. :frowning:

[QUOTE=Goddess Tapping;28675]… I tried to view it as it was also my purpose to [B]love him unconditionally[/B], as well…and I do. But just because you love someone unconditionally doesn’t necessarily mean you are meant to be married. [/QUOTE]

GT, I tend to steer away from what I believe to be trite spiritual terminology. Not because it is lacking truth but because it has become a convenient veneer or “white wash” for the shadow self which is white rather than black. It can hold the appearance of spirituality in the same way flowing white robes made of hemp might.

So my rephrasing is to focus on manifesting light in the physical body (which is Aurobindo’s work of brining light into matter) and seeing others for the light that they are. In that context I can learn to see the light in all, without having to BE with them in an intimate relationship. I can see the light of others without having to spend time with them at a bar. I can see the light in others without having to dine with them on animal flesh…

Cowardice doesn’t come into play here. It is only about mindful choosing relative to your dharma. One needn’t badger or punish themselves when something clearly has little efficacy in their living. Attachment and Ignorance are obstacles to our path (known as Kleshas). To remain in an unhealthy situation when a choice is present might be an embodiment of both.

The Peace and Love that we experience is generally
proportionate to the Peace and Love that we freely
offer to all unconditionally.

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti!

Adityananda

I think I view things a little differently.
firstly, I was in your situation not long back, and I left her so I could practice, it was either one or the other.
for me it was the difference between spending my life pretending to be what she wanted me to be, or doing what I knew in my heart was right.
this did not come about easily, and was a painful process for both of us.
but I firmly believe that we cannot change other people, only ourselves.
in fact we have no right to change or in anyway impose on the liberty of another.
I would rather be alone with self wrought Karma and a good stable practice than married but with a sack on my head and a heart full of repression and anger.
But thats just me

Goddess,
Yoga practice just ‘is’. It does not end relationships, or begin them. What it may do is offer moments of clarity where you come to some realizations about your life - what is working and what is not.

thats a more sensitive way of putting it yes

One of the most important aspects of having a teacher who has delved deeply within themselves is so they can come from a place of compassion and understanding when students have experiences such as these.

Yoga can certainly lead to deep introspection, “awakenings” and new levels of understanding. However, that path is often littered with us bullshitting ourselves and projecting on others. One of the biggest jobs of the guru is to hold up the mirror for the student.

So many practitioners of yoga get upset with me when I say that there’s a lot of bullshit in yoga. Funny thing is, the bullshit is part of the process and it’s not really something to get upset about. The problem arises when there aren’t enough realized gurus to hold up the mirrors for the metric shitload of yoga practitioners out there going deep within themselves. The result is, well, concerning at best.

As such, I see countless beautiful relationships destroyed because one person is “awake” and the other person is no longer good enough and the awake person just can’t stand that the other person hasn’t “seen the light”.

“Why can’t you be like me honey, as I HAVE SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN THE LIGHT!”

If someone was trying to change me rather than accept me for who I AM, I’d maybe feel irritable and resentful as well. Our lives are full of being judged, who wants to be judged by the loved one who supposedly loves us unconditionally? Or maybe I’d simply be patient with my resentful, irritated, judgmental loved one who was projecting on me and hope that I could create the space for that person to realize what was really going on. The problem is, in most relationships, both people are constantly judging and projecting, whether one is a practitioner of yoga or not. Nice thing is, you don’t have to practice yoga to work on these things. It’s not about compromise as that mean neither party really gets what they need and want. The key is to come to mutual agreement by means of profound communication that brings about awareness and understanding. Most couples aren’t willing to make the effort to have such profound levels of communication. Funny thing is, if you do, you’re practicing yoga together. And who knows, maybe you’ll even experience it, you know, in union…

Is any of this happening here? I have no idea. But I wish you all the best.

This certainly is a thread that I sort of read twice to get the meaning of what has been said. My husband is very supportive of my passion, yoga, but not into it really. Maybe I am blessed with a good man to be with. Yoga has made me a better person, more patient and understanding of relationships. I found peace when I started meditating and yoga. I hope you find yours too.

Only if you want those relationships to end.

Yoga also teach us respect for the paths of others and I think that is important to apply. My partner in life is on a totally different path than mine and neither is better than the other. All paths are equal and no matter how we may judge it, it is always the most appropriate path for the individual.

I agree with Pandara. Relationships come and go if we allow them to come and go. Whatever happens to the person is the path that he or she is to take. I hope you insights from the blessed individuals here enlighten you and others. Om Shanti Om

[QUOTE=Goddess Tapping;28675]
Most times I don’t complain, but there has been a time or two that I asked him to cut his own meat off the bone of whatever animal and he got upset that he had to do it himself.
[/QUOTE]

Seriously :confused:

Is he a child? Who cares how you eat or he eats or whatever? My wife doesnt agree with all my heavy weight lifting or the way I eat but I don’t throw a tantrum if she doesnt like something I do.

Hi all,

I just want to disagree fully with some of the statements here about ‘duty’:
It is not your duty to survive a relationship which is not what you would like it to be. Relationships, like everything in life, evolve. If your partner will not evolve with you, move on! This idea of marriage as a lifelong duty - where does it come from? does it really ‘feel right’ to you?
I urge you to reconsider this idea of duty in relationship. Our only duty is to be happy, and to spread that happiness so that the world can be a part of it too - I fail to see how remaining in the confines of a narrow relationship can achieve that.

With love,

Ben

[QUOTE=Goddess Tapping;28675]

I agree with what you say about “duty”. I think that is why I stayed so long. I felt committed to him and to making our marriage work. But I also have a “duty” to my children to protect them from harm and they are so affected by his negativity that it is doing damage to them. :([/QUOTE]

You can not isolate your children from the world. They go to school, interact with different people and those people are probably can teach them bad things and promote inappropriate life style. My mom is very spiritual person and my dad was an alcoholic and atheist , I saw those two different world living together for 40 years. I do not know what she did but Finlay my father quit drinking, and smoking(!)…it is amazing how my mom was taking care of that spoiled man and finally she win. It was so much easier to file for the divorce…

[QUOTE=benralston;30766]Hi all,

I just want to disagree fully with some of the statements here about ‘duty’:
It is not your duty to survive a relationship which is not what you would like it to be. Relationships, like everything in life, evolve. If your partner will not evolve with you, move on! [/QUOTE]

This is an egoistic approach, let others struggle, even if they deserved it…

But many people prefer to enjoy their convenient life and send only good thoughts and blessings from the shining heart center:)

And if you think you are suffering in those relationship - change your mind, anyway walking away would not solve the problem

Letting others struggle? We have no real doing in the failures or successes others – each us does as we will, and from a Yogic point of view, each of us are complete as individuals with our own karma, dharma and samskaras. We have all seen, in our own lives, that a parent cannot live life for their child, a husband for his wife, a sober person for an alcoholic. Believing and acting otherwise is the real ego-building practice in my eyes. Staying is often an act of pride and [I]avidya[/I] (delusion). But…there are those rare souls who stay in the most troubling situations with a truly peaceful heart and mind, knowing that another’s pain is exactly their own, it just differs in the details. Knowing too that whether we are stay in or leave the challenging relationship, that building a friendliness and loving-kindness to our own ugliness is the only way to being peaceful in the company of another’s ugliness. I practice committedly with this, mostly I struggle in this practice, but it is bringing about a new softness in the reactions of my mind and body when I am feeling provoked by others.

And truly – outside of food, shelter, safety and our love – what can any of us really DO for another human being, or any sentient being for that matter? Our only real chance to benefit others is to attempt to lessen and cease any violence in our own hearts and minds. We can DO this for others whether we stay or leave, whether they demand that we leave them, or whether we force ourselves to stay.

Negative thoughts and emotions
are violent,
in that they cause injury
to yourself and others,
regardless of whether
they are performed by you,
done by others,
or you permit them to be done.

They arise from greed,
anger, or delusion
regardless of whether they
arise from mild,
moderate, or excessive
emotional intensity.

They result in
endless misery and ignorance.

Therefore, when you consistently cultivate
the opposite thoughts and emotions,
the unwholesome tendencies
are gradually destroyed.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali II:34 ~ Mukunda Stiles

[LEFT]This is not just a Yogic teaching, but within Christianity too: Let there be Peace on Earth and let It begin with me. I cannot quote other philosophies or faiths, but I believe that this idea is universally shared.

With a deep bow,
Nichole
[/LEFT]

[QUOTE=Nichole;31088] We have no real doing in the failures or successes others – each us does as we will, and from a Yogic point of view, each of us are complete as individuals with our own karma, dharma and samskaras. We have all seen, in our own lives, that a parent cannot live life for their child, a husband for his wife, a sober person for an alcoholic. Believing and acting otherwise is the real ego-building practice in my eyes.
[/CENTER][/QUOTE]

Yes, we can not live for our relatives, but should we help them when they need help? Of course if they have good enough karma to accept and understand that help. I spend years to get my husband in to yoga. He was ignorant, sick and stressed, addicted to bad habits, … I could just walk away.