This fall and winter, invited presenters at Kripalu seem to be arriving in pairs. We figured that teachers who are partners in life as well as work would have a few pearls of wisdom to share about how to keep the home fires burning—particularly since many of their programs focus on love and intimacy. So we asked them what everyone wants to know: What’s the key to a happy and healthy relationship? Here are their answers.
Kate Feldman and Joel Feldman: Be an intimate team. Find ways to collaborate, compromise, and work together. Touch one another regularly in and outside the bedroom. Use all kinds of touch: affectionate, sensual, as well as erotic and sexual. Talk to each other. Learn to ask for what you need; learn to express what is in your heart. Make space for differences and discuss them with respect and curiosity.
Randal Williams and Patricia Williams-Pin: Balance. Finding balance between individual self-expression and joint expression in partnership. Balance and play between individual independence and interdependency in partnership. And lots of laughter.
Elsbeth Meuth and Freddy Zental Weaver: Through practices such as synchronized breathing, heart-to-heart connection, and circulation of our life-force sexual energy with each other, we drop out of our busy, judgmental mind into our heart centers and bodies, allowing for love and intimate connection to show up effortlessly. Coupled with authenticity, clear agreements, and a sense of humor, these practices are fundamental to creating lasting fulfillment in relationship.
Catherine Calderon and Paul Calderon: We’ve been together for 35 years, and while trust, communication, and respect are all are very important, we’d have to say that to keep a marriage vibrant and joyous, the key ingredient is shared ecstasy—lots of laughter, dancing, and especially great, passionate, luscious sex!
Colleen Saidman and Rodney Yee: Direct communication, honesty, and listening. When there’s a disagreement, take time to step back—but not too much time. Then come together and talk and, as the Dalai Lama says, go ahead and argue, but not about the past. The rule is that you aren’t allowed to bring up anything from yesterday. A couple of standing poses focusing on a broad back and a soft front body will help to keep you grounded and receptive for the conversation.
Charlie Bloom and Linda Bloom: For our second book, Secrets of Great Marriages, we interviewed more than 50 couples who had been married for an average of at least 30 years, some as long as 65, all of whom had exceptionally fulfilling relationships. There were a number of common threads that ran through many of their stories, but the one that stood out, that all of them shared, was that of “enlightened self-interest”—that is, the awareness that your own happiness is inextricably linked to the happiness and well-being of your partner. Those couples that recognized this lived in a spirit of mutuality, generosity, and goodwill that deepened over time. Many of them told us that “giving to my partner and the delight that he (or she) takes in my gifts provides me more pleasure than anything else in my life!”
Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt: Replace negativity with curiosity and acceptance, and nurture the relationship daily by exchanging at least three appreciations. If you slip and exchange a negative transaction, repair it quickly, followed by a one-minute hug.
Kimberly Larson and Terrel Broussard: When you’re in a clear and stable state of mind, you can make rightful decisions. When two individuals share this clear and stable frame of mind, they have the ability to communicate in a way that fosters love and healing.
What do you do to keep your relationships thriving?