The 5 Yamas: The Yoga of Dating and Self-Consciousness

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    Dating is a tricky game, and it can be tough to find the right balance between being honest and respectful while staying true to yourself. But what if there was a set of ethical guidelines that could help us navigate the often murky waters of modern dating? Enter the 5 Yamas – a set of principles from the ancient practice of yoga that can be applied to our relationships and help us become more self-aware and conscious daters. By exploring the 5 Yamas and how they relate to dating, we can learn to approach relationships with more kindness, honesty, and generosity, leading to more meaningful connections with others and a greater sense of inner peace and contentment.

    Ahimsa: Non-violence and Its Importance in Dating

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    Photo by Zeynep Sümer

    The first Yama, Ahimsa, speaks of non-violence towards other beings and oneself. In dating, this means avoiding any actions or words that may cause emotional or physical pain to others.

    However, we cannot forget that Ahimsa also extends to oneself. It is crucial to practice self-love and self-care, and not tolerate any kind of abuse or neglect in a relationship.

    Ahimsa encompasses more than just physical violence; it also includes emotional, mental, and verbal violence. Gaslighting, manipulating, or putting down one’s partner are all forms of emotional violence that should be avoided.

    Sometimes, we may not realize that our actions or words are hurtful to our partner. It is important to practice empathy and communicate openly to ensure our partner feels safe and heard.

    Practicing Ahimsa requires us to be mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions towards others. It is not always easy, especially in heated discussions or arguments. However, taking a step back and pausing before reacting can prevent any harm caused by impulsive actions.

    Ahimsa also means having respect for boundaries and consent. It is important to respect our partner’s physical and emotional boundaries and always obtain consent before engaging in any activity.

    Practicing Ahimsa in dating requires self-awareness, empathy, and open communication. It creates a safe and respectful environment for both partners to grow and flourish.

    Ahimsa is an essential element in yoga and in dating. It reminds us to practice non-violence towards ourselves and others, both physically and emotionally. By cultivating a culture of kindness and respect, we can create healthy relationships built on trust, openness, and love.

    Satya: Truthfulness and Honesty in Dating

    Satya, the second Yama of yoga, is all about truthfulness and being honest with oneself and others. While this principle is often associated with personal growth and spiritual development, it can also serve as an essential guideline for dating.

    In today’s world, dating has become a complicated process. People often feel lost and uncertain about how to go about it, leading to confusion and hurt. However, embracing Satya in dating can help eliminate these uncertainties and miseries.

    Satya in dating means being truthful and honest with your intentions and actions towards the person you are seeing. It entails avoiding giving false signals or misleading the other person. One should act in ways that would not be hurtful and remain true to oneself and the other person.

    Being truthful about yourself is a key element in the dating process. Instead of pretending to be someone else, it’s better to show your true self. Honesty about who you are and what you stand for will help you attract the right kind of person.

    Nonetheless, it’s important to recognize that being truthful doesn’t mean being insensitive or impolite. One must also practice kindness in dating, by not causing pain or hurting the other person with their words or actions.

    Satya also involves avoiding the temptation of using someone for your own gain. Instead, it means approaching dating as a giving process, where the focus is on mutual growth and compatibility.

    In essence, Satya in dating means staying true to oneself and others. It’s about being honest about your intentions and treating the other person with respect and kindness. While applying this principle may not guarantee a perfect dating experience, it can certainly make the process much smoother and less painful.

    Dating in today’s world can be challenging. But if we bring the principles of yoga to our dating lives, we can approach it with more clarity and intention. When we straightforwardly communicate our expectations and be open to understanding the other person, we empower ourselves to develop deeper connections.

    Therefore, embracing Satya as an essential principle in dating can make the process more fulfilling, enabling us to build long-lasting relationships built on trust and honesty.

    Asteya: Non-stealing and Respect in Relationships

    Asteya or non-stealing is the third of the five yamas, and it is an essential principle to follow in relationships. In dating, stealing could mean taking advantage of someone’s emotions, time, or energy. As such, non-stealing becomes a crucial aspect of building self-awareness, empathy, and respect in relationships.

    To practice Asteya, it means avoiding any behavior that might lead someone to feel taken advantage of, manipulated, or exploited. In essence, it requires being honest, transparent, and respecting someone’s time and boundaries. One way to avoid stealing in relationships is by being mindful of people’s feelings and emotions by treating them with kindness, compassion, and understanding.

    In relationships, it is common for individuals to have different emotional vantage points. It is, however, essential to note that each person’s emotions and feelings are valid, and respecting them is key to building trust and mutual respect.

    By practicing Asteya, individuals can develop better relational skills and empathy towards their partners. With mindfulness, one can recognize the other person’s worth and appreciate the effort put into the relationship. For instance, it might mean recognizing the importance of trust, the value of honest communication, and intentionally avoiding behaviors that might lead to emotional harm.

    Asteya also means being content with what one has and not seeking what belongs to others. In relationships, it means avoiding comparison, generalization, and seeking happiness outside of oneself. One way to achieve contentment is by focusing solely on the positives of a relationship and not fixating on the negatives.

    Asteya teaches individuals how to relate to others respectfully and treat them with empathy and kindness. By avoiding any behavior that might lead to emotional harm and respecting someone’s time and boundaries, individuals can build stronger and healthier relationships. Developing self-awareness, empathy, and respect is essential for any relationship to thrive, and it starts with practicing Asteya.

    Brahmacharya: Delayed Gratification and the Journey of Self-discovery

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    Photo by Clemens van Lay

    Patience in dating is necessary for those seeking a deeper connection with their partners. This is what brahmacharya is all about. Brahmacharya, defined as ‘delayed gratification’, is a concept of self-restraint that can be applied to any aspect of life, especially dating. The idea behind this principle is to develop self-control, to curb one’s desire for immediate gratification, and to form a deeper connection with oneself and others.

    Practicing brahmacharya in dating means taking time to know your partner before getting physical or committing to a relationship. It means holding back on rushing into intimacy and taking the time to build trust and emotional intimacy with your partner. This can feel challenging in a world where instant gratification is the norm, but it’s necessary to allow us to grow both individually and as a couple.

    Brahmacharya can help us to examine our intentions and desires in relationships. This principle asks us to question whether we seek a relationship for mere physical pleasure or a deeper emotional connection. By taking time to know ourselves and our partners, we can avoid making impulsive decisions based solely on physical appearance or chemistry. This intentional act of restraint can lead to a healthier and more balanced dating life.

    Delayed gratification is not only necessary in dating but is also essential in developing self-consciousness. To develop self-awareness, we must learn to understand our emotional responses and reactions, and identify the root causes of our wants and needs. In doing so, we can identify any tendencies to seek immediate gratification and learn to control them.

    Through this practice, we learn to live in the present moment and be fully aware of our thoughts and actions. The journey of self-discovery begins with the practice of self-awareness and delayed gratification in our dating lives. As we deepen our relationship with ourselves, we begin to attract partners who align with our values and lifestyles, leading to more fulfilling and long-lasting relationships.

    In essence, practicing bramacharya in dating translates to the practice of mindfulness, the art of being present in the moment. As we approach dating with intent and mindfulness, we can learn to appreciate and connect with ourselves and others on a deeper level. We can form relationships based on mutual understanding, respect and love, which lead to an emotionally fulfilling and healthy dating life.

    The practice of brahmacharya can help us to slow down and appreciate the journey of self-discovery in our dating lives. This practice of delayed gratification in dating and self-consciousness sets the stage for mutually respectful, long-lasting, and fulfilling relationships. As we move through the world, we can practice non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-covetousness, and delayed gratification to develop a more intentional dating and self-consciousness practice.

    Aparigraha: Non-covetousness and Generosity in Dating

    When it comes to dating, we often have a tendency to focus on what we can get out of the experience. We seek physical attraction, emotional validation, and the prospect of a long-term relationship. However, the fifth Yama, aparigraha, reminds us of the importance of non-covetousness and generosity.

    At its core, aparigraha means practicing non-attachment. It asks us to let go of our possessiveness and the desire to accumulate more than what we need. This principle applies not only to material possessions but also to our emotional attachments and expectations in relationships. By letting go of our desires for a specific outcome or person, we open ourselves up to experiencing and appreciating the present moment.

    In the context of dating, non-covetousness means approaching our interactions with a giving mindset. Instead of seeking to take or possess, we can focus on the joy of giving. This could mean giving our time, attention, or simply a kind word. When we shift our perspective to one of generosity, we create a more positive and fulfilling experience for ourselves and our partner.

    Non-covetousness also encourages us to let go of our attachment to certain ideas of what a partner or relationship should be. By releasing our expectations, we allow ourselves to be open to new and surprising experiences. This mindset helps us to avoid disappointment and enjoy the journey of getting to know someone new.

    Finally, aparigraha reminds us to practice non-possessiveness. This means approaching dating without the expectation of ownership or control over another person. Instead, we can focus on building a connection based on mutual respect and admiration. By letting go of the need to possess, we create a more equal and balanced dynamic in our relationships.

    Aparigraha encourages us to approach dating with an open heart and a generous spirit. By focusing on giving, letting go of attachment, and avoiding possessiveness, we can create a more positive and fulfilling experience for ourselves and our partners. When we practice non-covetousness, we allow ourselves to connect more deeply with others and appreciate the present moment for what it is.
    Incorporating the principles of the 5 Yamas into our dating lives can be a transformative experience. By practicing non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, delayed gratification, and non-covetousness, we can approach relationships with more mindfulness, empathy, and respect. These principles encourage us to reflect on our desires, intentions, and behaviors, ultimately leading to a deeper understanding of ourselves and our partners.

    Dating can sometimes feel overwhelming and chaotic, but incorporating the Yamas into our approach can help us build healthier and more meaningful connections. By embracing the practice of self-awareness, we can approach dating with intentionality and mindfulness, focusing on connecting with ourselves and others on a deeper level. So, let’s embrace the 5 Yamas and bring the power of yoga into our dating lives, creating deeper connections and fulfilling relationships with ourselves and others.