The Secret Exercise Routine No One Is Talking About (Episode 203)
Think you've heard it all when it comes to exercise? Well, I want to talk about a specific type of "yoga", actually, and it's not what you may think. Relationship yoga - the balance, the stretch and the pause. How do you exercise your relationships so they stay healthy and thriving?
First, let's look at yoga, and, specifically, the way we typically end yoga sessions - with that wonderful little word with so much meaning: Namaste.
Namaste, in my best translation, essentially means this:
That's pretty powerful. In order to truly connect in "namaste", we must first recognize this peace within our own souls. That, first and foremost, was opening the door to our own personal yoga practices.
Now, it doesn't just have to be yoga. Maybe you run, bike, or meditate. But it's doing something where you can get in the zone - where you can be fully in the present moment - with no one but yourself. It is 100% internally driven; that beautiful zone of deepest connection with our own zen moment.
Yoga, to us, has opened the door to finding that sweet spot in our lives, perfecting our balance, stretching our muscles so we are equipped for all forms of movement in our bodies.
Translating This to Relationship Yoga
Just like in a yoga practice, before you start, you set your intention. How often do we set our intention for our relationships? What do you really want it to look like? In our home, we created a mantra for our desire in our relationship. It wasn't even a spoken thing, but simply something we've realized has been a subconscious practice we've done over the years. Our biggest intention? Daily connection.
That's it. Daily connection - in all three areas - mental, physical and emotional. Here's a quick breakdown:
Mental Relationship Yoga:
Every day, we start our morning out with a similar focus - connect with ourselves and with each other. Nathan fixes us a morning cappuccino while I make our bed and pick up anything that was left out the night before. As we drink our coffee, we often read...although there are many times when we may only get in a few paragraphs before one of us has an insight, question or some other epiphany we want to share with the other.
This space is for us to center ourselves, and to grow. We expand our minds individually, and bring new insights into our conversations in the morning. In addition to that, we'll cover the agenda for the day and what things we want to ensure we accomplish.
In the first two hours of our day, we often incorporate reading time, yoga, a beach walk or meditation. Not only do I mentally connect with Nathan in the first two hours, but I also am stimulating my own mind with exercise and books that challenge me and are great conversation-starters for deep and stimulating conversations with Nathan.
In my quest for mental connection with Nathan, it requires me to be learning and growing personally. What mental challenges and conversation can I bring to our relationship to help us both grow?
Emotional Relationship Yoga:
Have you heard of the 60-second hug? This is something I've offered as an exercise for some of my coaching clients who are navigating too little (or too much) touch from loved ones. Getting intentional about a 60 second hug can really fill someone's bucket that needs to be touched, as well as forces a pause that is long enough to really just stop and be - and that powerful pause can be a huge game-changer for helping you navigate through an emotion you've not allowed time for.
It's hard for me to compartmentalize emotional and physical, as, for us, they are deeply connected. As a Reiki practitioner myself, I learned in my training about the chakras and the different emotional energies in each. And part of reiki is centering yourself first, and then working through the energy a chakra at a time on someone.
I always start with my hands over head and heart to help settle and calm the soul. I do this for myself, and I do this for Nathan. And what has happened is that, when Nathan and I put our hands on each other's hearts now, there is an immediate emotional release. It's a calm and a deep breath, and it's a physical reminder to feel the emotion.
Oftentimes, our emotional connection is cloaked in a physical touch of some sort, reminding us of our beautiful heart and souls beneath the surface, and stopping us in our tracks to sit with the moment.
Are you starting your morning out with such a forward focus that you don't take the time to recognize your breath, your focus, and simply bringing to awareness the rest of the world waking up around you?
Physical Relationship Yoga:
Yes, touch is clearly a critical component in our home, and very much a love language for both of us. What we have found, however, is this:
It is hard to stay emotional distant when you physically connect on a daily basis. We don't let a day go by that we don't reach out and hug, kiss, and hold each other.
Yes, we touch all the time. Sometimes it's a quick little shoulder rub or even brushing our hand across the other as we pass in a room. Sometimes, it's recognizing the tense shoulders in another and stopping them in their actions to simply breathe and release. And yes, it definitely includes intimacy in the bedroom.
The more we address the physical with a goal of connection, and the more we practice it, the more we pave the way for deeper connection - and confidence - in our own skin.
When was the last time you made out with your partner? When have you given them a massage, or held hands with them when you walked?
What is the Mantra for Your Desire?
Just getting a bit deeper with our own inward process first, here is a quick insight into the different chakras we have in our bodies. Remember, for deeper connection with others, we have to be willing to go deeper within.
This little clip here is taken from a children's show, Avatar, The Last Airbender. It's a great little explanation of what can block our chakras and how/why we would want to open up all areas of our life for a beautiful flow:
If you want healthy relationships, you absolutely cannot ignore what is going on within. It will, in some form or other, manifest outwardly in your life. Whether it results in a physical manifestation, like when my stress resulted in shingles, or builds up an emotional dam that bursts with an explosion, facing what is going on within as it happens allows life to flow vs. a buildup of emotions that may be too much to handle.
Stuffing things in and holding on to fear, resentment and victimhood can result not only in a lack of connection within, but also creates a clear disconnect for any other relationship. Recognize when you carry things within you yourself aren't willing to face, you are accepting that you are unwilling to fully open up to your partner as well.
Prioritize the Positive
Pay attention to your give and take. Looking inward can sometimes take us down a journey that our partner cannot go on. Sometimes in the crazy of life, things will pull and take more than they give and flow. This isn't about eliminating all negativity or pain in our lives. It's simply not creating this as our norm. It's looking at the give and take in life, and ensuring we prioritize those things that recharge us and help us grow forward as our main focus.
We don't eliminate the negative; we simply shift our attention more toward what we want in life - and that means getting focused on positive deposits as much as we can.
Here are some personal deposits I prioritize every day:
- Stretching my body (at the very minimum, 3 sunrise salutations)
- Enriching my mind (reading at least one article or chapter in a book)
- Compassionate touch to each family member (it may be a quick side hug of acknowledgement or a shoulder squeeze, or a long embrace - but a non-sexual loving touch to each family member simply to connect, and never without consent)
- Always saying goodnight and "I love you"
- Shutting off work and prioritizing family time daily
Now, these are all non-negotiable deposits in my life, yet there is a lot of flexibility in these. I may stretch with a full yoga session in the morning, or my stretching may end up more at the end of the day as I stretch out the kinks in my back from the day as Nathan pops my back. I may take off in the morning for a beach walk with the family and then work later that evening.
I add flexibility in because I've found anchors work best in my life - those priorities I can flag as critical, yet not so solid that I can't adjust them to work for me. The point is to add to my life; not create more stress in it!
The more I consistently deposit, then, when I take a "withdrawal", like not stretching my body, working without any breaks for family during the day, or not reading anything, it isn't the end of the world, but a casual reset for the next day. If you think about a bank account - you have to have enough deposits before you can casually withdraw without worrying about the ramifications.
Your Little Mirrors
The final aspect of this focus is recognizing the "adulting" of parenting. Unfortunately, being a parent does not equal adult rationale. And sometimes we can really forget that we are the reactionary creatures our kids are mimicking. Oftentimes the out of control behavior we see in our children is a reflection of what they are seeing in us.
Why is is important for you to recognize the exercise routine of relationship yoga? It's because if you are not actively checking in and working on yourself and modeling that behavior, you cannot expect anyone else in your family to be reflecting it, either.
It's amazing how much we can discount our impact like nothing would be affected if we weren't there. Please oh please hear me when I say you ARE significant. One tiny decision made by you can make an impact lifetimes from now.
Choose one thing that revitalizes your soul. Pay attention to the physical, mental and emotional needs of yourself and your loved ones. What is one little thing you can do to add to your intention here?
Sometimes it isn't even about doing anything different; it's simply bringing awareness and gratitude to a routine or practice you already have in your life.
Healthy relationships don't just happen any more than six-pack abs do. If you want to thrive in your relationships, you have to look at the "food" you're putting in and the exercise you're doing to stay in shape. Look for those ways to add deposits in your life in physical, mental and emotional ways.
As you recharge, turn it outward for how you can connect with those you love. As we come from our places of peace within, we can better recognize and appreciate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste.