I’ve just come out of a year being surrounded by divorce.

Angry divorces. A complete surprise for one person divorces. Planned for over 12 months divorces. Perfectly amicable divorces. Rock solid on the outside but clearly not on the inside divorces. Friends, family and famous people. Like some sort of divorce superbug.

As usual I tend to see much of life through the lens of yoga, not just when I’m teaching. The different perspectives and philosophies drawn from yoga infuse all decisions, both life changing and miniscule. I aim to also do this when I’m teaching. So I spend time drawing parallels between postures, to give students a different vantage point.

From my lens I see downward dog as an upside down boat pose. I see plank in the same light as tadasana. I see cat/cow and bridge as the same movement. For some students, these different vantage points show them how to finesse the posture. They see it differently and feel it differently. Their understanding deepens, empathy grows and judgement turns to curiosity.

So with this curiosity I thought I might spend some time looking at marriage, or rather divorce through the eyes of yoga.

Marriage, divorce...all super unhelpful labels.

I know a couple who have spent years changing their status, being together then splitting up, the relationship working for a bit then falling apart in a loud Dr Phil type heap. They are now technically married but live apart. They also hold hands when they hang out. Weirdly wonderful but the removal of labels seems to have done the trick for them. Not really married, not really divorced but finally happy.

Forward bends, backbends, inversions, twists. They all mean different things and invoke different responses in people. “I hate backbends” or “I can’t do inversions”. When we only see the label, we tend to focus on what we need to accomplish, not what it feels like. To do a successful inversion blah, blah, blah needs to happen.

The label marriage looks like this while divorce looks like this. My friends now just hang out because they like each other. Simple.

Simplicity is a great adhesive.

A 15 minute walk around the block every evening or luxurious but infrequent weekends away…which one is more beneficial to marriage? The walk is regular, dependable and easy to make happen. It’s the perfect opportunity to clear up tiny problems and tweak arrangements that no longer work.

Some of the most satisfying yoga practices involve nothing more than laying on the floor, hands on belly and observing your breath. Exquisite.

Some days it’s just shitty.

You know that practice, the one where you keep falling over in your balances and downward dog feels like you’re being stabbed in the shoulders. When you start feeling really bloody angry and tap your fingers while you wait for stupid savasana to be over. We all have those classes. Sometimes it’s every class for a month and then you’ll sail into perfectly balanced, stab-free shoulders and peaceful savasanas for a while.

The good practices are so good but the bad practices, the uncomfortable ones are the best teachers. But only when you reflect on why. When you sit for a moment after the stupid savasana and reflect. Marriage and divorce, good bits and shitty bits. Both spectacular teachers. But only when you sit for a moment and reflect why.

You bring the parts, marriage brings the collective.

Work yourself out, in the same way we work out how to spell and how to count. What you like, what drives you, what you’re not prepared to accept. What pisses you off. The other person does the same. Hopefully. Then marriage becomes about the fine art of weaving these together.

You can read a book about how to do a yoga pose. It will give you the technical, step-by-step instructions. You can You-Tube how to do full yogic breathing. You can get better at the parts but the practice of yoga is merging the parts together into a smooth, intuitive, strong and flexible dance.

Marriage is beginning to have an air of elusiveness. Like a rare and endangered animal. This is further confirmed by the fancy ceremony put on by the city for those rare couples still enjoying (insert surviving) marriage 50 years on. It even made the evening news. Fancy that.

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