As yogis who have studied collectively for over thirty-seven years, we are filled with information, from ancient to present teachings, about the art of conducting relationships. Yet as we sit here thinking about a Valentine’s message on relationships, we both choose the importance of being playful together!
The simplicity of having fun carries a lot of value in a relationship. When we are playful, we laugh. When we laugh, we are experiencing a moment of freedom. We are present. Laughter lowers levels of stress by altering cortisol levels, creating happiness and a special connection with your partner. Conversely, stress is kryptonite for any relationship. It makes us uninspired to be romantic and keeps us alienated from one another, leading to a disinterest in sex, which then causes all sorts of other problems. But let’s keep this article playful 😉
Children tend to laugh three times more than adults. Being playful brings out that wonderful child-like quality within us which makes us feel light-hearted. Laughing with someone creates a bond, and bonding is continually needed in order for a relationship to flourish and to feel trust with your partner.
Since many people complain about their partner not being present or engaged in the relationship, playfulness can reinforce that your partner is with you and you are with him/her. Take a moment to reflect if you are the one who might need to add some playfulness to your relationship. If so, here are some fun suggestions we do together to ensure our relationship stays alive, healthy and present.
1. Give each other silly, sweet nicknames so that when you say their name or hear your name, it automatically makes you softer and sillier.
2. Watch a movie or TV show that makes you both laugh hysterically. Rewind a funny moment and watch it again. Crack up at each other cracking up!
3. Do things together that you would do as kids … bike ride, skateboard, kick a ball around in the park, go to Disney World, play dress up (in whatever way you want to interpret that.)
4. Play games when you’re doing mundane, routine things, like driving, or eating dinner at home. For example, play eye spy, license plate games, or sing songs together.
5. Remember your teenage years, when you might have been a bit more adventurous and willing to do rebellious things that now as an adult you might never do? DO THEM ANYWAY!!! Pinch your partner’s butt cheek in public, dance, or step away from a party to go make out!
6. When you see your partner stressed out, make them laugh in any way you can. Make silly faces, speak in an accent, tickle them and talk gibberish. Lighten the mood with your presence.
These are just a few ways that help us stay young and exciting during the ups and downs of a relationship. Be the couple that plays, stays engaged, interactive, in the moment and creative.
Every day will be your recess and the world will be your playground—all while hanging out with your BFF!
Written by Rina Jakubowicz and Eric Paskel
Rina Jakubowicz and Eric Paskel are both students of the foremost Vedanta teacher in the world, Swami Parthasarathy. Rina and Eric are published writers and international touring teachers. They have owned and operated multiple studios and have led retreats and trainings worlwide. Rina and Eric are currently based out of Los Angeles where they somehow find sanity amongst the “cray”. For more information, check out rinayoga.com and ericpaskel.com or electricsoul.yoga.
As we sit here on a bus in India on our way to hear a lecture about “When is Enough Enough?” from our teacher Swami A. Parthasarathy, we reflect how we have gotten to this place together.
Two strangers who happen to be in the same elevator at a Yoga Journal Conference in Hollywood, Florida over a year ago have now joined together in their own spiritual journeys to walk alongside one another.
Part of this “spiritual” walk includes our first trip to India together, which we booked during the dates of February 1 to 15. Neither one of us thought that the trip would fall during Valentine’s Day. We placed our emphasis on a common, higher ideal for ourselves; we knew we needed to see our guru and the time was now.
When we were asked by elephant journal to write our first joint article about what we were doing for Valentine’s Day we chuckled because Valentine’s Day isn’t important to us but we knew we had to do it; not for PR but for RP (Right Purpose). We hope that after reading this, you may have a difference outlook as to what this holiday means to you.
Valentine’s Day can be important, not necessarily to exchange dinners, jewelry, flowers or the like, but to remind ourselves what love is and what it means to give it.
The philosophy of Vedanta explains that true love is neither preferential nor personal; it’s selfless and universal. According to the teachings, when we love correctly, we assess and accept ourselves along with others. This allows us to begin to see ourselves in all creatures, which is called identification. Therefore, our Valentine’s Day gift to each other is making ourselves better people every day, while learning how to love with these definitions in mind and all the while respecting each other’s struggles and natural ways.
These Vedanta teachings are what have helped us create our short yet powerful relationship together. Without them, we wouldn’t have made it thus far.
On this Valentine’s Day, we are at an ashram, sleeping in separate beds in a small room, waking up at 5:00 a.m. to study, wearing the same uniforms, eating the same foods and unable to display public forms of affection due to respecting the Indian customs.
To us, that makes every day romantic, sexy, and a beautiful expression of love because we are engaged not to each other but to discovering something more profound…our true Self.
Authors: Eric Paskel & Rina Jakubowicz
Editor: Cat Beekmans
Photos: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr