Is Your Yoga Practice Keeping You From Finding Your Soulmate?
If you’re a modern day woman and a modern day yogi in search of the man of your dreams, your yoga practice might be keeping you from him. What? Yes, it’s true. Let me explain. And don’t worry, there’s a solution.
After years of failing miserably at love, I finally found the love of my life a few years ago. Or rather he found me and much later than he should have according to our cultural norms. Over the years I tried everything to figure out why lasting companionship was eluding me and I learned a few things along the way.
Number one, timing is individual and the less comparison you do between you and societal standards the better. Having said that, you don’t want to create unnecessary delays by getting side tracked by the wrong guys. And what I’ve learned is that attracting the right man has little to do with him and everything to do with you.
Secondly, almost everyone has an essence that’s either primarily masculine or primarily feminine. A small percentage of people have both equally but that’s very rare. Masculine and feminine aren’t gender specific either. Though most women have a feminine essence and most men have a masculine essence, there are exceptions where a man is genuinely more feminine at the core and a woman more masculine.
"If in your heart of hearts living out your human life without experiencing a deep, loving, and lasting bond with an intimate partner feels like more of a tragedy than not discovering your purpose and living it out, then chances are, like me, you have a feminine essence."
Of course we all have both elements. The important thing is to know what’s dominant so you can attract the perfect reciprocal in a mate. By the way, even though I’m gearing this to heterosexuals because that’s what I am, this applies to other sexual orientations as well.
So how do you know whether you’re more masculine or feminine at the core? If in your heart of hearts living out your human life without experiencing a deep, loving and lasting bond with an intimate partner feels like more of a tragedy than not discovering your purpose and living it out, then chances are, like me, you have a feminine essence.
This doesn’t mean you don’t also have a purpose and a mission in life, but intimate relationship takes priority. You’re guided by emotion more than logic, you love movement, the dance of life, sparkly things, and your heart longs to be witnessed and claimed by a strong masculine presence who’s worthy of your radiance.
The problem is that most modern women have a masculine shell around their feminine essence that makes it hard if not impossible to attract the man who would really satisfy them. And guess what? Modern day yoga isn’t helping!
It all began in the 1960s. The sexual revolution gave men permission to be feminine and the women’s liberation movement gave women permission to be masculine. This was needed, but many would argue the pendulum swung too far the other way and we are still reeling from that imbalance. In combination with society at large, the overly feminine fathers and masculine mothers of the last five decades have perpetuated floundering sons who can’t find their direction and highly motivated daughters who are afraid to be soft and open for fear it means they’re not a real woman.
"...As I discovered through self-exploration and some very gifted teachers, my feminine core was being neglected. And I was repeatedly attracting feminine men who were drawn to my sense of direction because they didn’t have their own."
Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. For me, I was an independent woman who supported myself financially, directed my own life, and pretty much did what I wanted. There’s nothing wrong with this, but as I discovered through self-exploration and some very gifted teachers, my feminine core was being neglected. And I was repeatedly attracting feminine men who were drawn to my sense of direction because they didn’t have their own.
In all of these relationships, pretty soon the resentment would set in because I had to be the “man” (more masculine) in the relationship and I didn’t want to. I went through many cycles of blaming the guys before I realized it was me who was putting out the energy that attracted them. Hello!
That was a major turning point and with some diligent work on my part in retraining and rewiring from the inside out, I ended up with my version of a knight in shining armor and you can too!
How Yoga Can Help (Or Hurt)
On this quest for the perfect mate, yoga in its ever growing popularity, can help or hurt us. According to statistics (and I can verify this as a teacher) the woman to man ratio among yoga students is 80/20. A large sector of the female population is practicing some form of yoga. And while most people if asked would probably say they think of yoga as feminine, that’s not the case in most instances.
"If I’m a woman who already due to habit and conditioning leads from the masculine even though my essence is primarily feminine, possibly the last thing I need is a pumped up, hard core power yoga workout."
The most popular form of yoga these days, vinyasa flow (or power yoga), embodies many of the qualities of a masculine fitness routine with its focus on rigorous, strength-building movements designed to sculpt the body. Many female yoga practitioners therefore may unknowingly be reinforcing an imbalance of the masculine and feminine within them.
If I’m a woman who already due to habit and conditioning leads from the masculine even though my essence is primarily feminine, possibly the last thing I need is a pumped up, hard core power yoga workout. But don’t worry, if you love your chaturangas you can still keep them. There’s a way to bring more feminine energy into your body and mind even in more masculine classes.
Here are a few ways:
- Focus more on your breathing. Deeper breath leads to greater release. Release is a feminine quality. Breathe in as much as you can on the inhale and exhale slowly. Do this especially during the more rigorous points of the practice.
- Soften whenever and wherever you can. There’s always a way to let go and still maintain the form of the pose. Letting go will invite the feminine to the forefront. Look for ways to let go in the jaw, the shoulders, the pelvic girdle. Maybe keep your knees and elbows slight bent instead of always straight.
- Relax your eyes or close them as much as possible. The eyes can be soft while focusing on a gazing point (or drishti). Try not to strain or hold a hard gaze. Always remind your eyes to relax. You can even close your eyes at certain times in the practice to cultivate more an inward focus and get into more of a feeling mode.
- Practice for the experience, not the results. The masculine grows through challenge, the feminine grows through praise. So if you want to cultivate the feminine, forget about going to the edge and just enjoy yourself and give yourself large doses of mental praise as you practice. When you find yourself going into a linear taskmaster mode or pushing yourself, maybe just back off and tune into a specific area of your body. You could also smile in those moments to bring back a sense of contentment (santosha) with what is.
These practices will help you cultivate your feminine essence and dissolve any masculine cloaks. Doing these things on your mat, will leave impressions that show up off the mat as well. Even if you’re not looking for a soulmate, it’s still good to bring balance into your yoga practice.
After all, most of the styles we practice in the west fall under the umbrella of Hatha Yoga. Hatha is a combination of two Sanskrit words - ha (sun, masculine); tha (moon, feminine). The name tells us that hatha yoga is meant to bring these different aspects of our being into balance.
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