My boyfriend and I have been together for five years.
All five of those years, I have practiced yoga. In fact, yoga came long before he did.
As our relationship has grown, so has my relationship with yoga. Since we have been together, I have trained to become a yoga teacher, have become a yoga teacher, and continue to further myself as a yoga teacher.
He doesn’t do yoga aside from the occasional class when he feels tight and “in need of a stretch.”
As such, I feel that he doesn’t understand the infinite levels of yoga: the exploration of the body’s capabilities, the higher states of consciousness attained through breath and strange (but beautiful) positions, and the mind’s adventure as it wanders through nooks and crannies. He can’t see the layers of personality unfold amid the deeper understanding of one’s existence.
As yogi’s, we all know it doesn’t end there. There are the videos we watch, the books we read, and the conversations we have. When we are alone, thoughts of yoga flow through our mind—our practice, our teaching, or simply planning ahead to get a good night’s sleep. (Nothing seems more important than feeling good to get the most out of our practice!)
But what about him?
He is the most vibrant, enthusiastic, fun and spontaneous person I know. When I think about him my heart stirs. Behind the entertainment, dashing good looks, and spunky beard, he is the softest, most adorable and sensitive person I know.
Nobody knows him like I do and I feel honored in our closeness and shared hearts. If one beard hair is out of place, I’ll spot it. If he has endured a slight upset during the day, I’ll know before he even gets home.
We have travelled the world together—gotten lost in an Indian desert, kept each other warm as we gazed at the Northern Lights, and even rode our Royal Enfield into a bird, a goat and finally a girl. (Whoops!)
We have partied so hard we were left without words, and could only manage to interlace fingers as we finally drifted off to into sleep. We have snuck around behind the eyes of the law, simply for some sexy fun. We have shaved each other’s heads (He looked better, natch). We have eaten every dish from every country we could have possibly fit into our bellies, many times at the expense of that evening’s potential romance!
We have looked after one another through (minor) operations. Been side by side for family deaths and funerals. Broken-up in Asia, relocated as far away from each other as was possible and re-kindled in Indonesia. And throughout our colorful five years together we have laughed harder than one can laugh.
Forget comedy, this is belly-scrunching, quivering, cannot-catch-your-own-breath laughter.
Of course there were a few tears along the way too.
Our history is abounding. But what of our future?
Yoga makes up 85 percent of my constitution.
Yes I like to run, drink wine with friends, cook, have fun with my family and dance till 3am. But yoga absorbs most of my daily energy.
He and I never enjoy a class together. But more than that—it’s the lack of yoga discussion and understanding beyond asana that makes me feel so empty in our relationship. I have fallen into yoga’s arms when the road with him gets rocky—but never have I fallen into his when life is tough.
After months of practicing pincha mayurasana (feathered peacock pose) every day, I finally got it—no wall, no block. Just me balancing vertically on my forearms. This achievement, this joy, was not shared or acknowledged. It was like watching a beautiful sunset on your own, while he sat on the sofa with his head behind laptop.
There’s no feeling like a teaching an amazing class where you are tuned into your students, leading them through a profound 90 minutes of movement, meditation, music, and insight. Halfway through you take a split second to yourself to thank god that you are so in love with what you do—the way it makes your heart beat and energy buzz. But then you go home, back to him where there is no point saying a word. He just doesn’t understand.
How can I love him and yoga so much, and yet they are hundreds of miles apart?
My relationship with him feels so lonely without yoga being part of it, but yet my relationship with yoga is more alive than ever, whether he is there or not.
This spiritual practice and road that I walk, which will only continue and deepen, is a lonely one without him. His warm arms wrap envelop me every night as we declare our deep love for each other every day. As much as is shared, it is also suppressed. My heart leaks with love for him and yoga, but in separate chambers of my heart.
Yet my yoga practice can be found within him. Living mindfully side-by-side, he is my balance, spontaneity, ego-buster training, and he helps me keep my life light. He is my tool to bettering myself and serves as a constant reminder of how to act, think and be. He is no great Guru but just watching him can be like looking at my own reflection with certain truths staring back at me, forcing me to improve where I am at. This is yoga.
You cannot push a square peg in a round hole. He cannot connect or commit to yoga. Yoga would welcome him if he ever wished to dive in rather than just dip his toe. But he does not even want to speak about yoga—he feels it is an obstacle between us, an obstacle that organically grew.
Because of this, we gravitate around each other but never become one, as we once used to be. Yoga has and continues to fulfil me to my highest potential and happiness. But it has caused me to question my relationship, and wonder this: Can a yogi live in a harmonious and satisfied relationship with a non-yogi?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editorial Assistant: Lizzie Kramer