tara guber explores the yoga of relationship
Yoga, translated literally, means union – union with the Divine, a Universal Consciousness, your personal idea of bliss. Achieving that union is an arduous journey with many roads leading to the same destination but, ironically, yoga is a single practice. We may go to a class, surrounded by people and stacked mat-to-mat, but the practice itself, and the journey that accompanies it, is a solitary one. By cleansing and aligning ourselves from the inside out, we positively affect others by showing up for our relationships in a healthier, more loving and vibrant way. Sounds good. But what if that idea was taken a step further? Contact: The Yoga of Relationship, beautifully addresses that question.
The book’s author, educator Tara Lynda Guber, says “Everybody wants to be loved and to find a partner they feel good about, but they don’t know how to do that. People move into relationships for all the wrong reasons. They don’t ask themselves about trust, laughter, forgiveness, honesty or surrender to union; they ask themselves frivolous questions like, ‘Is she pretty?’ or ‘How much money does he make?’ We have an epidemic of divorce because people don’t work on relationships.
They don’t have a map for that but yoga is a perfect map because it is an inside job. Contact Yoga takes you inside so that two people can come together and open their energy bodies. It really is Tantra but I don’t like to say that because people think Tantra is all about sex, which it is not. Tantra is about opening every energy vortex and chakra from root to crown at the same time as your partner so that your breaths connect and together you move the energy. That is the ultimate outcome of Contact Yoga.”
Contact Yoga is a dual practice in which two bodies become one through harmonizing their intention, energy, breath and movement. By moving through the postures prescribed by the practice, each of the Seven Points of Contact are activated and signify a building block of relationship. Matched to the seven chakras, the Seven Points of Contact are located along the spine: Trust is located in the root chakra, Passion is in the genital area, Commitment lies in the belly, Love resides in the heart, Communication is in the throat, Vision is behind the third eye and Union sits at the crown of the head.
The practice is divided into postures that concentrate on each point individually, although all the elements are necessary in order to truly be in Contact in each pose. The Points of Contact are accompanied by a variety of poses to choose from for every level of yogi. From basic standing poses for the beginner to gravity-defying flying poses for the advanced, anyone can benefit from the fun challenges presented.
“There are poses that require more trust, like flying poses, and poses that open the heart chakra, like backbends,” says Guber. “In all the postures, clear communication with your partner is necessary, which some people find difficult. ‘I feel like I am going to drop, this frightens me’ ‘Do you feel secure? Am I in the right place?’ Once you move into Contact, the points show up in every posture. Once you embrace Two Become One, in every posture you need Trust, with a Passion for pleasure, with a Commitment to be responsible, with Love to be forgiving, with Vision and clarity to move into Union where you surrender.”
A devoted yogi who has studied with masters around the world for the last 30 years, Tara Guber created Contact Yoga after developing her own partner practice 15 years ago with her Kripalu teacher, Tesh (Ken Scott). “One day we were practicing and I suggested that we twist and stretch each other. From that idea came a partner yoga I had never before experienced. We went deeply into a yoga flow and spontaneously moved from one posture to the next – totally unconsciously. Our bodies were in complete Contact so that the two became one,” she explains. “Contact Yoga was born out of my inner intention and not my outward yoga practice.”
The sheer exuberance of the practice has attracted yoga’s most renowned practitioners and teachers, many of whom appear in Norman Seeff’s breathtaking black-and-white photographs throughout the book: Shiva Rea, David Life, Sharon Gannon, Seane Corn, Vinnie Marino and Steve Ross are joined by Cheryl Tiegs, Elizabeth Berkley, Jennifer Grant and Harry Hamlin among others.
The merging of yogis and celebrities is something not easily accomplished gracefully, but throughout her 41-year marriage to Hollywood heavyweight producer Peter Guber, Tara has nurtured authentic relationships in both worlds. She says, “It took me a long time to feel that I am living the ‘yoga life’, but I realized that when you are in your yoga body and live yoga as a lifestyle not an exercise, you open up to your pure potential – your authentic self. When you are in that place, you’re able to move through any world.
Tara takes Contact Yoga with her as she travels through her various worlds. Contact for Kids act as a follow-up to her phenomenally successful YogaEd curriculum, which uses creative play to teach the philosophy and postures of yoga to children in over 150 public schools across America. And now Corporate Contact is being developed in response to interest from Loyola Marymount University’s Department of Education and Lifetime Television, which requested Guber’s enthusiastic instruction at their upcoming board meetings.
In all relationships, whether with family, friends, lovers or co-workers, Guber says, “the word that exemplifies Contact Yoga is ‘fun’: laughing, surrendering, opening and connecting fully to yourself with another.
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