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Kripalu is a c 3 nonprofit. Your gift helps create a more awakened, compassionate, and connected world. For more than 49 years, Kripalu has been a leader in yoga- and mindfulness-based education. More than just poses on a mat, we believe yoga is an accessible practice that inspires connection, compassion, and joy. Come visit the Kripalu campus, nestled in the breathtaking Berkshire mountains, for a nourishing retreat full of yoga, nutritious meals, mindful outdoor experiences, and more.
Now online, Kripalu offers a variety of teacher trainings and certifications to deepen your practice and share your passion with the world. From dynamic presenter programs and workshops to virtual healing arts offerings, explore all Kripalu has to offer you in the comfort of your home. From psychic readings to positional therapy consultations, come experience personalized online sessions from the comfort of home. Kripalu experts and visiting faculty share their views on yoga, health and wellness, nutrition, relationships, creativity, and spirituality.
My mind started scrolling through a list of my favorite practices. Was it nadi shodhana? My experience of Ayurveda? Slightly stumped, I replied that it was probably some combination of these practices that created the most impact. Several weeks later, I was still pondering the question. What part of my practice had created the most healing and transformation? As I reviewed my experiences as a yoga practitioner, a host of memories flooded in: moments of insights and emotional release, a nurturing sense of being a part of something greater than myself.
These moments, fostered by my formal yoga practice, had all been powerful, and certainly healing. Yet there was something more. As images of yoga mats and meditation cushions began to fade, other images emerged—of people who had supported, challenged, moved, and consoled me. Moments with friends, teachers, partners, and parents. A time when conflict merged into greater understanding. Some of these faces were directly connected to my formal practice; others were, surprisingly, not. But they all had one thing in common—they had changed my life. In a tradition largely focused on personal healing and transformative growth, I was surprised that so many of my most transformational moments came with another person attached.
It got me thinking: When it comes to healing, how important are relationships on the spiritual path? From birth, we require connection to survive. They cry more and sleep less. Human contact and engagement is as fundamental to our survival as food and water. The impact of relationships on positive brain development goes well beyond infancy and far into adulthood.
Studies show that certain types of therapies can change the brains of people with depression, borderline personality disorder, and trauma. A therapeutic relationship can produce changes in the brain equivalent to and sometimes lasting longer than medication. These studies point to the power of relationships to heal the mind. Intuitively, this makes sense. Our biggest wounds most likely happen in relationship.
Painful experiences of loss, betrayal, and abandonment can bring us to the cushion or mat to try to navigate through these difficult feelings. For many, yoga and meditation bring relief. Yet, can these wounds be completely healed on the yoga mat? Might not a wound that occurred in relationship need to be healed within relationship? Ultimately, this is a question each of us will need to answer for ourselves. There is no straight line on the path of healing.
What do healing relationship experiences tend to have in common? For one, they require our full availability. How often are we fully present in our interactions with others, rather than thinking about the 10, other things we need to do at the same time? Second, they require vulnerability and exposure. The more we allow ourselves to be truly seen and known, the more we open the door to healing. That person may accept your apology, or not; your friend may understand your sensitivity about her comment, or brush you off.
The transformation arises not from the outcome but from being honest, open, and willing to receive and be impacted by what comes from that authenticity. Hearing these stories wakes me up to how important relationships are in personal and spiritual growth. Being in relationship with others, moment to moment, is a deep form of yoga practice.
To be human is to be connected. Even if we cultivate a largely solitary practice on the mat, we will always bring our relationships with us. All rights reserved. To request permission to reprint, please e-mail editor kripalu. Give Now Kripalu is a c 3 nonprofit. Donate Now. Learn More.
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