Is Romantic Love Possible for a Yogi?

As I practice yoga so many deep longings are always stirred. Sometimes, and more often than I would like to admit, the longing for my “true love.” The longing for passion, romance, and the one who will complete me.

A few years back I gave up on the idea of the romantic love and in finding the one. I focused on my yoga – the endeavor of practice and non-attachment. And then it happened as it always does when you stop looking for it. I met my true love.

I allowed myself to be fully invested, fully present, fully available and non-attached to the outcome. The Himalayan Masters define love as non-attachment and non-attachment as love. I wanted to explore and own this idea as much as I could. Everyday I reminded myself of the impermanence of life, of things, of relationships and that everything is temporary. We practice yoga together, traveled together, cooked food together, worked out and ran together, and deeply honored each other and there was always a mutual feeling of wanting more. For one year I was in absolute bliss.

Then we broke up.

Having experienced a lot of physical pain in my life, the pain from this was the worst I had ever experienced. For the first six months, I over-ate, worked non-stop, gained weight, and developed horrible sleeping disorders. It took me another year and half to be completely free, and still to this day when I close my eyes and remember, I can feel the crack in my heart.

Since this experience, I have asked so many yogis over the years, is it possible to for a yogi to have a romantic loving partner and experience true moksha and every single one of them has said yes. However, not one of the yogis I asked was in a long-term healthy loving relationship. But they did agree on one thing, non-attachment was the key.

On further discussion with my friend Archimedes, I asked him why I was in so much pain from this separation and what he reminded me of was profound. A relationship is a union, and disunion causes us pain. This is the essence of the teachings of yoga – right?
Krishna said, become the turtle and close off the world, or become like the ocean and experience the world. So a Yogi can choose to live in the world or can live in a cave. Either way, the tendency and pull for true love is always there. I am still not clear if it is possible for a yogi to experience the powerful romantic all consuming love for another that is cultivated with time and remain completely unattached, but I can try.

–Yogi Aaron is the Yoga Director for Blue Osa. A Yoga Retreat in Costa Rica on the Osa Peninsula.

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2 comments

  1. Yes. It is possible: http://www.abhyasayogacenter.com/essays/ethical.html
    We are still together and now have a three year old daughter.

    However, this idea that you are going to remain “completely unattached” is futile. Be attached. Love. Its OK. Yes, it hurts when it doesn’t pan out. But when it does, nothing is better. As my teacher says: “Family life is the yogic cave.”

    Hang in there.

  2. I think there are a lot of different interpretations of ‘yogi’ that need to be understood before the question can really be answered. On one hand, a true yogi is so immersed within the practice that he can not be looking for an external love, the only love is moksha and perhaps the ishtadevata. On the other would be a bhogi, who finds union through the gratification of the senses. But if we aim at the renunciant path, then no, I don’t think it is possible to have romantic love(brahmacharya). That is like Mohini distracting the yogi. And it leads only to heartbreak. Perhaps the Tantric path is best, offering a bit of both, and in which case lovers, spouses and family all make better sense.

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