In the hot yoga studio the focus is very much on our individual journeys. It is part of the discipline to focus on our breath, on the dialogue, and on perfecting our own postures. That doesn’t mean Bikram is a solo sport, however. Quite the opposite. Yoga directly affects how we relate to other people — if we let it.
How? By teaching us patience, mindfulness and compassion.
Yoga teaches us to accept where we are in every session. As we learn to accept and be patient with ourselves, we cultivate the ability to extend that patience to others.
Regular practice makes us aware of the variation in our minds and bodies. Some days we struggle, some days we fly. When we understand that, we are able to cut other people slack on their bad days.
Compassion comes from integrating mindfulness and effort. Our journey as yogis gives us a deep understanding of the effort required to be our best — and with that comes compassion for all the times we, and others, fall short.
Next time you’re debating whether or not to go to class, remember you’re not just doing this for you, you’re doing it for your friends, family, partner… the people you see on the Tube in the morning, and the clerk at the supermarket. When you let yoga transform your life it is a gift to everyone you meet.
Has yoga helped you in your relationships? Share in the comments!