Today, when I began thinking what to write, I google searched ‘Yoga Blogs’. One of the first advertisements that came up: “OM singles.com”. Who would have thought! The world of online dating has also tried to capitalize on the ‘hot’ topic that is yoga! I laughed to myself, and yet, the more I thought about it, the more I thought how great yoga is as a platform to start dating. And no, I don’t mean hitting on the girl rocking out her astavakrasana on the mat next to you! Let me explain…..
As I’ve entered new singledom, I’ve began to think more and more about this process of dating. What is it? Why do we do it? Why is it so awkward? Or so fun and exciting? In many ways, there’s a bunch of old fashion, unspoken rules (even as a feminist, I know he’s not interested if he doesn’t at least offer to pay for the first date), but in many ways, those rules are being flipped on their head! We now have Tinder—where you can essential ‘date’ or examine over a hundred people in a few minutes! Swipe left, swipe left, swipe right, and on and on, until our ego and grasping mind are completely hooked. The choices are endless!
In reality, dating is much less complicated than we make it out to be: it is simply to process of deciding whether or not you really ‘like’ something. Analogous to trying on a dress in a store—after a few spins, do you want to buy it? Wear it every day? Wake up wrapped up it in for the rest of your life? Just like with Tinder, we have a gazillion choices to make each day; and thus I believe we are all ‘dating’ every day, in all of the different realms of our lives. Whether we are dating people, a career, a personal value, a yoga studio, a city to live in—we are constantly trying to assess the things that are worth bringing into our lives, and the things we’d rather leave behind. Dating is simply the process of making a choice!
So how again does yoga relate to dating (in the largest sense of the word)?
1). Take a deep breath. Before jumping into making a big commitment, take a minute to let the stress go, so you can let go of as many distractions and decide with a clear head.
2). Take it slow. Whether getting a tattoo, or putting a ring on it, make sure you take the time to see if it really does fit you, both now and 50 years from now. What fits us in the moment may not fit our bigger plan. And what we may think we agree to on the outside, may not be the whole picture. Take the time to unpeel the orange and get to the seeds before saying yes.
3). Use the Yamas/Niyamas. It’s helpful to have a guiding force in our life—it takes some of the stress out of decisions if we know what we value and make a decision to act in that way. Do you have to sleep with him on the third date? Yama says: Brahmacharya—is sleeping with him using your sexual energy to regenerate connection to your spiritual self? Is it using your energy in a way that may harm another? There’s your answer! Things become easy when we have compass to guide us. And, in terms of actually dating, seeing how the other person makes decisions (and implements yamas/niyamas) can help us determine if someone is on a similar path.
4). Listen to your body! I often get wrapped up in my head when trying to make a choice, when all along my body knows the answer. In our asana practice, we can feel instantaneously when something is wrong. The more I start to listen, the more I see how my body knows the answers in other parts of my life as well. Is there an uneasy feeling in your stomach? Tension in your jaw? A headache coming on? Do you need a few beers to ‘loosen up’? These can all be signs that the decision you are making doesn’t actually fit with your needs.
5). Have fun! As I often quote: Yoga is too important to be taken too seriously! The same goes for dating and life! As someone who spends way too much time stressing out about decisions, (i.e. I can spend hours in the tea aisle cross examine the benefits and costs of buying each flavor of green tea), I’m working on letting go of finding ‘perfection’, and realizing there are many paths to happiness. Buying Jasmine green instead of Ginger green will not make or break my life. Most of the things we stress about are not worth it! So I’m trying to let go of these little decisions, so my energy and attention can focus on things that really do matter. Remember: Cut yourself some slack, 100 Years from now, all new people!