Everything you ever wanted to know about how integrative yoga therapy can help your romantic relationship 

Integrative yoga therapy works with the five Koshas, meaning layers or sheaths of the human body, 

·     The physical body – Anna-maya kosha, 

·     The energy Body – Prana-maya kosha 

·     The mental and emotional body

– Mano-maya kosha 

·     The Witness body - Vjana-maya kosha 

·     The bliss body - Ana-maya kosha 

 Photo Credit:  Enso Centre de Yoga

Photo Credit: Enso Centre de Yoga

Often times many people get so caught up in just the physical-ness of the relationship that you end up neglecting, the other layers, or human sheaths, of not only your own self/body, but also the layers of your partner – most humans don’t even know that there are so many layers!

Don’t sweat it, we are all here to learn~

The key to a thriving relationship is first and foremost, knowledge.

You need to be equipped with

  1. knowledge about yourself,

  2. knowledge, wisdom and communications skills to be able to share that information to your love

  3. knowledge about your partners layers of their body/bodies

All of which are a never ending processes of how to’s.

Each layer of the human body requires nurturance, connection and love to thrive, essentially the healing of one layer has an ultimate influence and wellbeing on the whole. You don’t have to work on all layers at a time.

Below I’m going to describe, what each layer of the human sheath actually is, where problems arise between couples on this layer, and how to fix it. 

Anamaya Kosha – The physical layer

The physical body, is the most obvious outer layer of the human body, we can weigh it, measure it, see it, touch it, smell it, heart it, taste it, experience it with all our senses. This frame structure made up of bones, muscles, tissues, vital organs needs to be taken cared of appropriately, so that your mind space is not constantly being taken up by the pain in your shoulder, the jab in your knee, the lethargy that you feel. This takes precious quality time, space and energy away from filling the mutual love bucket - it adds up majorly over time!

Your body is a temple of your soul. 

You are sharing your soul with another in a coupleship, how you treat your body is going to affect your soul and the way that soul presents itself in that relationship.  

Do not get comfortable with being in a state of meh, find the appropriate help,  and YES, there is always someone out there to help you regain, mobility, vitality and vigor.

Take it from me who has had a fencing injury since the age of 16, I have been in constant daily pain since then and used yoga to alleviate it all these years. Until only recently I learned during my integrative yoga therapy training at Kripalu (and not after my yoga teacher training), how to more permanently strengthen my body so as to build a structure stable and sturdy enough for the long run! 

Turns out I’ve been stretching more than I needed to in the wrong places~ Ohhh the time I would have saved on life had I known sooner! 

Other than the structural importance of having a frame that is supportive, these slight structural tilts, protrusions and bulging of bones, tendons and what not, have a direct influence on your physiology, like your blood flow, hormones, nervous system – it presses on a blood vessel, less blood flow and nutrients get supplied to one part of your body, the other side compensates, like that. The overall affect ultimately, more directly relates to your relationship by making you more tired, less physically and emotionally available, moody, anxious or depressed to name but a few.  

This layer of the physical body has slow gradual changes. It takes 3 months for your entire bodies cells to regenerate, be fed something new, and look and feel different.

Effort, however, little or small according to your own ability, needs to be made daily, to do something, anything, to just simply remain the same physically. If you have problem areas, you need to seek a professional’s advice.  Exercise for about 5-10 minutes a day, stretch (mobility) and work on strength (muscle structure), do something that will work on the resistance of your muscles to at least just keep them in one place, where they may need to be for optimal function.

You don’t need to start strong, it’s more about building a habit and consistency. 

Pranayama Kosha – The energy layer

We are now going to the ‘invisible to the naked eye’ layer of the human body.

If you stretch your arms out horizontally in a T shape, that’s how far your energy body extends in a multidirectional, up, down, left and right direction of invisible energy. The expression of  “She/he lights up the room” is essentially referring to the very much ‘felt’ sensation of the energetic body being in high vibration. Although you cannot see the energetic body, you can feel or sense it on a physical level – not even on the 6th sense kind of way, like legit feel it in measurable heat, frequency if you are close enough to the skin - although our instruments for measuring this needs more improvement for sure.

As a scientist, it’s important that I don’t say things that don’t make sense, hahahah or is so woo-woo you have way of relating to me since I have clearly fallen off the wagon. After all I do have a Masters in Science of Control of Infectious Diseases and have been quite academically trained, and I’m not even satisfied with my own answer. This one below does do it for me though,

If you look at a cell under a microscope, it has a vibrational frequency of about 52-76Hz. Now imagine a bunch of cells make up an organ, and visualize the combined vibration of that organ, then, expand that again to the entire human body which then is made up of multiple visualized combined-vibration present organs.

To the very core of your being, you are essentially a giant ball of energy, the entire body is made up of vibrational cells. So when people say we are not even matter, we are just energy, they are not too far off depending on how you look at it! 

The energetic layer/sheath of the human body, is where I see couples have the most conflict on. I would say quite distinctively, men and women most differ in their energy bodies, yes, I said that, even more so than their physical bodies, and that’s really saying something because their anatomies are quite different in shapes, sizes, and functions.

Men’s energy is similar to the full day sun, bright, brilliant, full, and in your face, all-the-time. Women’s energy is more similar to the moon, it has phases, it waxes and wanes, it ebbs and flows and also has periods of potent energies during peak phases – like the full moon, the female has peak energy phases that can over power all of life and makes everything go wonky, metaphorically speaking and otherwise.  That’s literally what is going on in a woman’s body too, so don’t be scarred, just learn the pattern, it is similar from month to month ~

The greatest mystery of mankind lies in this layer of the human body. When the female gender releases large amounts of vital life-source energy monthly on a cyclical level, you cannot expect them to have similar energy levels as to their male counterparts - that just doesn’t make any logical sense. Iron and hemoglobin, the part of the blood that gives you sustenance, feeds your organs with oxygen, sustains your life, is being drained constantly for several days, every single month – not to mention the healing and rest needed from the giant massive internal scab.

We don’t really understand how much this impacts the quality of all of life.

Try giving blood every month of the year, for the majority of your fertile lifetime, you will soon learn that you will not be able to keep up with that life on a regular - even the metaphor is still not quite the same.

Problems arises when one is low on energy, and the other is in its peak (well constantly) you are bound to have misunderstandings. A simple example of going out, 

Male: “Let’s go to dinner”

Female: “Babe, I don’t feel too good I want to stay at home” 

Male:“ It’s Saturday, it’s my day off, I want to go do something fun! I’ve been cooped up in the house all day, I need to go out.”

Woman feels guilty, pushes her below-negative energy out of the door, tries to be supportive, feels like death once she leaves, begins to feel resentful, gets angry of why he just doesn’t get it? she calls it an early night, both don’t speak on the ride home, he is wondering what he did wrong, she just craves the sanctuary of home, both are frustrated and confused, so much love for each other, but zero common grounds for understanding in this moment, what to do?

Sound familiar? 

The key here in this energy layer of the relationship, is that ladies you need to get real familiar with your cycles, and males, you need get to know the rhythm of your partners cycle even better than they do, know when they need what, when, and how - like don’t be scared, I get how dragons have been released before, but from today onwards, its a new day. You don’t need to tip toe around that period of time, which is beneath the nobility of both your souls, just talk about a game plan, simple.

Literally, chart it – trust me, there is nothing I am more confident in saying that this will be the single most powerful thing you guys can do for your relationship, to understand each others energy patterns, learn to adapt to them, allow and accept them for EXACTLY what they are, and then on top of that, have a plan B for when it changes – because it does! 

Let me know if you have any questions, I’m always here to answer :)

In the up coming blogs (link below), we will explore the mental/emotional body, the Witness body and the Bliss bodies of a nurturing relationship! Let me know if you want more information on any of the layers.

Everything you ever wanted to know about how integrative yoga therapy can help your romantic relationship Part II

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Nahal Haghbin is an Integrative Yoga Therapist in training in Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy and a globally certified Yoga Alliance Yoga Teacher based in China.  She conducts lectures, private and group asana and consultations on Yoga & Integrative Yoga Therapy in person and online. Book an online couples yoga session with her on Yoga Avec Moi website or find her in person at her Yoga Studio based in Tianjin, called Moments Lotus Yoga Studio near Italian Style street.