Yoga Diary: It Takes Two

Before I met my current boyfriend, Nick, I had a series of breakthroughs in my yoga practice—a
deepening of breath, a new joy in each pose, and a renewed commitment to attempting difficult arm
balances. A deeper connection to my sense of self also played a part in bringing a positive romantic relationship into my life. I was overjoyed when my new partner said that he wanted to try yoga. No boyfriend of mine had ever been interested in it.

So when he began to show up to class regularly, why did I feel so restless—almost angry—by the end? My teachers complimented him on his good attitude, and it is true that he tried everything right off the bat, smiled a ton, and cheerfully put up with being the only guy in class and with sweating so much that he needed to towel off between every sequence. But I found myself slipping into critical mode: Who did he think he was, trying Headstand in his third week? It had taken me six months to muster the guts to go upside down!

The dirty truth is that I got competitive. I had been using yoga,
at least subconsciously, as an ego boost—not in a good way. I feared that once Nick adopted a practice, he would no longer be impressed with me, Ms. Great Yogini. I imagined him asking, “Five years, and you still can’t stick a Handstand in the middle of the floor? What a waste of time!” Nick was supportive, and I realized that I had to solve this problem myself. My habit of constantly scanning and evaluating was working against my own peace of mind. His coming to class helped me concentrate much more on my own practice.
So now, thanks to him, I keep my eyes and my attention mostly on my own mat. But I’m trying to let his can-do spirit help me along into poses I find scary. Forearm Balance, here I come!