12/16/2015 05:16 EST | Updated 12/16/2016 05:12 EST

5 Ways Yoga Will Improve Your Relationship

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Ever wonder if what helps you out on the mat can help you out when your partner forgets to take out the trash... again?

Our yoga practice is a wonderful tool for feeling better, but our "yoga high" usually only lasts a couple of hours. Here are five steps for taking your yoga practice off that mat -- and into the real world.

1. Take five deep breaths.

At its very core, yoga philosophy states that your true nature -- your essence (atman) -- is revealed when all the stuff in your mind quiets down. We usually get a glimpse of this expansive and quiet space in Savasana. But when we hit relationship friction, all of our stories suddenly ramp up again. Next time you hit a challenge, recreate your Savasana space by taking five deep breaths and clearing your mind. Reconnect to the calm beneath the storm. And then decide if him forgetting to get the groceries is really that big of a deal.

2. Stop expecting him to change

We just love to place our happiness on the external world. Doesn't it seem easier to get the world out there to behave than to change our expectations? Trouble is, the world won't change for us -- and neither will he. Accept him for who he is and let go of your need to make things different. Now, this doesn't mean that you can't ask for what you need, but letting go of your emotional attachment (raga) to the results will free you of the anger and fear that comes with pinning your sense of self on something else.

3. Practice trust

Practice trust (shraddha), not fear. When we give our partner the benefit of the doubt, we let go of the storytelling that gets in the way of being present and connected. We trust that they are doing the best that they can with the current skills and experience that they have. By creating the space with our partner to be curious -- rather than demanding -- we create room for greater intimacy and honesty.


4. Let go of blame

Being right feels so good! But as soon as we find ourselves in a right/wrong game, our ego (ahamkara) is running the show. And our ego would far rather feel self-satisfied than connected. The right/ wrong game exposes our mind's attachment to being a smarty pants and derails true compassion. Instead, change the "right/ wrong" conversation to a curiosity about factual accuracy, and watch how the blame game dissolves.

5. Practice self-love

Most relationship issues arise when we need our partner to be a certain way in order for us to feel safe and secure. What if we felt safe and secure regardless? When we give ourselves the love and care that we need to feel OK, we're less likely to get (or stay) upset when our partner upends our expectations. So nourish yourself: take a walk, eat good food and (yes!) get to your yoga class. As you invest in your own self-love, blame and fear will fall away, leaving a vibrant and loving space for deeper connection.

Meet Rachel.


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