Updated: Mar 14
In recent times, as a human race, we have witnessed so much of technical advancement; one of the things that has taken a serious hit is our relationships. Earlier we had fewer and slower modes of communication but still had better connection with people. In stark contrast, now we have a wide variety of instant communication channels covering the whole globe, but we find it really hard to connect heart to heart. One of the things that this observation points to is that although progress is making our lives comfortable on a physical plane but is a bit skewed in nature and is not able to fully catch up on all the other dimensions of life especially emotional planes. Human beings are a fine balance of physical, mental and emotional dimensions; anything that causes imbalance in one of the three aspects is bound to create troubled personalities.
So the solution to this problem would be something that brings in harmony to the three planes of human existence. To the best of my knowledge and understanding, only yogic philosophy gives a complete solution to the problem that is highlighted above. The very purpose of yoga is to unite the different layers of human existence into one coherent balanced experience.
As we delve deeper into the yogic philosophy and its applications in real life scenarios along with practicing the various tools and techniques as laid down in the classical texts of yoga, we start to know our true self and that is where everything else starts to fall in place. Our mental image of ourselves or our identity is the force that steers our thought process and subsequently our actions in a particular direction. The larger our identification is, the more selfless our actions and intentions will be; the narrower our identification is, the more self centered or selfish they will be. It is this width that determines how our participation in a relationship will be. So one of the ways how yoga helps in developing healthy relationships is by widening this self image perception or ego.
Today, expectations have become the key measurable indicators on which people constantly judge and rank each other in a relationship. More often than not, people either find others falling short of their expectation levels or the bar of expectations keeps rising high all the time. A person, who is on the path of inculcating the yogic value system in his life, becomes slowly aware of the fallacies of the ego and mind and keeps the expectations at a working minimum level.
Yama and Niyama are manuals that prescribe the personal and social behavioral norms of a person which go a long way in improving the relationships.
Ahimsa involves non-violence in thoughts, words, actions.
Satya involves being truthful in letter and spirit and not just refraining from lying.
Asteya in a relationship would mean not taking what we haven’t received or earned.
Brahmacharya comes to be associated with just sexual abstinence but can be broadly understood as non-indulgence and practicing self-awareness and self-regulation.
Aparigraha in relationships would come to mean non-attachment and keeping a realistic view of the transient world.
Santosh would mean having minimum expectations from others and be content with whatever circumstances come in life.
Tapa is one of the most important Niyama which helps to absorb and smoothen out any friction which may arise in a relationship silently and not act in a reactionary mode to further aggravate an issue.
Swadhyay is the study of one’s own behavior in light of all the yogic principles that we study as part of reading good literature. It gives us an opportunity to contemplate and reflect on our behavior with others and make any corrections in future if required.
Ishwar Pranidhan would mean surrendering to the divine will and unconditional acceptance of the circumstances we are presented with in life. This would help us to reconcile with any situations that are beyond our sphere of control and influence.
Connecting the body and breath has a very impactful healing effect which enables us to connect easily with our inner world. Meditation has a calming effect on the mind and makes us more mature in handling difficult life situations with ease by becoming an observer rather than getting involved in the turbulent emotions. Better connection to Self and having a higher purpose in life are benefits which directly impact the quality of relationships that we are into.
Hence we see how yoga as a practice and as a philosophy of life helps us to improve upon how we react and respond to situations in life and positively impacts our relationships.