My life is full of relationships. I find that healthy relationships bring joy in life. In order to truly be in a relationship we must know ourselves and the other person. The extent to which we know ourselves, is the extent to which we can know others. Yoga and meditation give us the opportunity to learn about ourselves.
One of the classic writings on the subtle aspects of yoga is entitled the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and it’s written over 2,000 years ago. This writing consists of short concise statements called sutras. All modern renditions of this writing consist of these short statements followed by the author’s commentary. My favorite version of this book is entitled Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekinanda.
The Yoga Sutras describe two ways you can observe another’s state of mind. One way is to synchronize your breathing with the breathing of the person you wish to connect with. Our breathing patterns reflect the state of our mind. Therefore, by synchronizing your breathing with the person you wish to connect with you will begin to feel their general state of mind. This will trigger a feeling of empathy which is essential to healthy relationships.
The Yoga Sutras also mention that each individual has entirely unique and distinctive facial features. Human beings have many similarities, we all have eyes, ears, noses and mouths, but we all have specific features that make us entirely special. By concentrating on what you find distinctive in another’s face you can connect into what makes them distinctive as a person. Our bodies and minds are intertwined. Feeling this distinctive nature of another person will give rise to feelings of appreciation and insights into the other person and their state of being.
When you learn to observe others closely, you can get a feeling for their state of being. Once you feel that, then you can really communicate with them. Until you can understand another’s perspective, relationships will be very one-sided – your side- !
If you are observant and conscious of others’ states, you will have the recognition and warmth to connect on a deeper level.
In order to use these Yogic Techniques for connecting with others, you must first cultivate the ability to calm your own mind. From this peaceful state, you become observant of yourself and others. Calming your breath and thus your mind in the practice of meditation creates a type of awareness that leads to more efficient communication. You have become in touch with yourself. That awareness allows you to more easily tap into the mindset of others and communicate more easily and wholeheartedly with them.
To learn yoga and meditation requires effort and patience. I first began meditating when I was 17 years old and it has become a lifelong practice. A key element in my learning mediation was to find writings and teachings that resonate with me. I encourage you to visit our website at www.pyo.yoga and explore the videos and writings we have to offer. These will give you a solid foundation for beginning or deepening your practice.
About The Author
Sujantra McKeever is the founder of Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in San Diego, which serves over 1,000 yogis a week, and also helped create Pilgrimage Yoga Online. He is the author of five books on eastern philosophy, success and meditation. Sujantra studied meditation with spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy and has lectured on meditation and yoga in over 30 countries.