Like an asana, a healthy relationship requires flexibility, commitment, and alignment with our internal sources of vitality and well-being – loving ourselves unconditionally, for example – even while enduring periods of discomfort. I am always grateful when my yoga teachers push me to stretch beyond my comfort zone, but stop if I encounter pain.
This is an important lesson for relationships. Many people confuse discomfort and pain and, consequently, their relationships suffer.
Those who mistake pain for discomfort are often unwilling to do things for or with their partner that are unfamiliar, not to their liking, or personally inconvenient. In refusing to put themselves into a moderately uncomfortable position, they miss out on an opportunity to experience the pleasure that comes with overcoming perceived limitations, and giving of oneself for the benefit of the relationship.
Constant pain is a sign that something is amiss. However, discomfort, if experienced in proper alignment, can eventually give way to flexibility and even pleasure. That’s why making yourself a little uncomfortable for someone you love from time to time will stretch the relationship into new levels of health and vitality. Such is the yogic way.