Yoga Couples: Tara and Peter Guber

Tara and Peter Guber were married and had two daughters before they discovered yoga. At the time, Peter had back problems and was referred to New York yoga instructor Alan Finger. Tara took classes, too, largely to support her husband. “Yoga gave us a place and something to do together,” she says. “It had a profound impact on me, on my body, on getting in touch with my breath, and on our relationship.”

That was more than 20 years ago. Today, the Gubers live with their two young boys (the daughters are grown) in Southern California at the epicenter of the entertainment world, where Peter is chairman of Mandalay Pictures. Tara, on the other hand, is codeveloper of Contact Yoga, a dynamic and physical practice involving two people. Her studio, The Yoga House, is on the property surrounding their West Los Angeles home. Luminaries like Marianne Williamson, Deepak Chopra, and Swami Satchidananda often speak there, and Rod Stryker teaches three times a week.

For the Gubers, a yogic marriage is a serendipitous combination in which their practice supports their marriage, and their life together enables them to devote more of themselves to yoga. Tara says of Peter’s business, “That is a very competitive, fear-based world. When your external environment has elements of that in it, yoga helps you go inside where there is compassion and love and the capacity to come from action rather than reaction.”

Tara accomplishes this with yogic breathing, accessing her feminine, or “goddess” energy—a vital commodity for a woman in partnership with a man who, by virtue of his role in the world, expresses the masculine powers of insight, focus, discipline, and manifestation in all areas of his life. “I breathe deeply from my belly, opening my lower chakras and moving the energy up my spine and into my heart,” she says. “By connecting and holding my feminine center, I don’t have to compete with Peter in his masculine domain. He can be there and I have no need to ‘fix’ him.”

Says Peter: “Yoga is a framework for attaching myself to my body and diminishing the stress and pressures of business. It also provides a common language for my wife and myself.”

Tara sees yoga as a metaphor for relationships since, after all, yoga means union. “Yoga makes you more comfortable with compromise and keeps you calm when things are uncertain,” she says. “When we come home from our yoga practice, we have a lot more ability to be compassionate and to communicate clearly. If Peter and I don’t have agreement around something and I do yoga, I always have a better feeling after finishing the class than I did when I began.”

Their practice enters most obviously into the small interactions that make up a relationship. Last summer, Tara invited a friend to join the family on vacation in Hawaii. Peter expressed concern that their holiday would involve more girl-talk than time together. “Instead of going into old modes of operation and insisting that I was right,” Tara says, “I stopped and took a deep breath. That let me listen fully to what he was asking me. What I got was that after 35 years this man really wanted to be with me.” That’s a lot different than feeling controlled or manipulated. And far more romantic.