On Love and Partnership… complete with a PLAYLIST!

We think our teachers are bad-asses. Plain and simple. We think they speak truth. We think they’re beautifully honest with us, their tribes and themselves. They inspire us. So when they post something on their blogs (yeah, we’re watching) that is just what we wanted and needed to hear, we have to share it with as many people as we can. Melissa brings a new perspective to love today, now it’s your job to carry it forward to tomorrow and the next day.

  It’s all about the Metta.

Lovers, are you still basking in the glow of the recent romantic holiday? Or recovering from the I’m-so-over-it mentality you so proudly protest? Depending upon how you view February 14th, Valentine’s Day is either a hyped up “holiday” or a time to show gratitude and appreciation to the one that you love. This practice is called Metta (sanskrit), or loving kindness. Metta is is a mindful or meditative state that grows our capacity for loving kindness, friendliness and goodwill. It is not only a selfless act making your loved feel special, it’s reciprocal,  benefitting you as well. Metta opens your heart and draws the pull of benevolence and warmth in your direction.

Be a lover, not a fighter.

One historic account of the holiday’s namesake is from 3rd century Rome under the rule of Emporer Claudius II. He outlawed marraige for young men, believeing that they would make better soldiers without wives and families. Saint Valentine performed unions for young lovers in secret, but his rogue actions eventually caused the order of his death. A martyr for love, now THAT’S romantic.

Ask the Universe for your Italian boyfriend.

A day that used to hold no particular meaning for me is now one I hold quite dear. Three years ago on a wintery Valentine’s evening, I held a special heart opening yoga class. This was just one of my regular Thursday night classes, but I themed in lessons on what it means to love yourself and to be a good partner. A man attended class that night that had drawn my attention before. In fact, every time he came to my class, my world stopped for a moment and I felt the entire energy of the room shift. I was keenly aware that something important was happening and I knew that he would be someone big in my life. Being respectful of teacher/student boundaries, I kept this curiousity to myself…and all of my cooworkers. I joked with my front desk girls that he was my Italian boyfriend, he just didn’t know it yet. I put it out there, testing the waters of the Universe, to boldy bring to fruition what my intuition had already told me. I would find out later that Adam shared the same instant knowing and daydreaming. He told his friends he was in love with a woman, he just hadn’t talked to her yet. On this evening of the 14th, many friends came to class with the plan to stay and hang out, have some wine and toast our singledom after-hours in the studio. After sharing our first real hello, I invited my future to stay and join us. He did. And in a warm, cozy room full of my dearest, the stars began to align.

What a story, right?! So, in celebration of this day, I hold partner yoga workshops to share some of that love and create special moments for the taking. In guiding couples through acro yoga, the art of assisting, and thai yoga massage, we talk about what is needed for a solid partnership on and off the mat:

1. LOVE YOURSELF: In order to be available for someone, you must nourish yourself and believe that you are deserving of the things you want. Sometimes, that takes practice and unlearning patterns that have caused hurt and doubt along the way.

2. STAY ATTUNED TO YOUR PARTNER’S NEEDS: Pay attention to your partner. Know their goals and dreams. Support them and help them to grow. Love them using their love languages and yours.

3. GIVE 100%: Don’t keep tabs. You will have constant awareness of the equality or lack thereof in your relationship if you are concerned with fair shares. Giving 50/50 is half the capacity that you both could be operating on, and that’s hardly fair to one another.

4. BE A GOOD LISTENER AND CLEAR COMMUNICATOR: Seek to understand; seek to minimize miscommunications and find mutual resolve. Whether bestowed with the gifts of listening and communicating or not, it is your JOB to grow these skills and to be adept at both.

5. BUILD A FOUNDATION OF TRUST: We all need a safe place to explore who we are. We need a foundation of trust where our truth can flourish. We need to be strong and we need to be vulnerable in an environment of acceptance.

Be a fighter for your lover.

“Hold the line, love isn’t always on time”. Truth, Toto. Just like the roles in acro yoga, you will at times be the base- holding the line, making the foundation and serving as the grounding force. You will at times be the flyer- the bold and brave one, soaring into new territories, forging new paths of growth. Accept the peaks and valleys and the necessary role of both. Be with one another, hold the line, pull one another out of the trenches and raise one another up to new heights. Be proud of the partnership you have built and protect it.

Then, celebrate your love with THIS PLAYLIST!

Originally published on the blog InnerChild Art Studio by Melissa Hickok.
Cover photo cred: Wanda Koch Photography

Melissa resides and teaches in her hometown of Charlotte, NC. Her Charlotte community loves hot and fast yoga,  which is very energetic and fun to teach,  but she also enjoys diversifying her teaching styles and her own practice to encompass the vast beauty that is yoga. Check out her yoga, art and lifestyle blog at www.innerchildartstudio.com.

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