When Alejand ra Sosa Siroka and Matthew Siroka of San Francisco take a yoga class together, there's always a moment when they catch each other's eye. "It might last a third of a second, but we recognize each other again—'Oh, it's you, beautiful you, next to me,'" says Alejandra, a 37-year-old interpreter, translator, and communication consultant. "Whether we're in Downward Dog or inverting, it's just a glance, and we're going through our own thing, our own inner process of growth. But at the same time, we're next to each other."

This sense of feeling connected while still being anchored in their individual selves is one of many gifts from yoga that flow from the classroom and into their marriage. "Yoga makes us more aware of how we're interacting with each other," adds Matthew, a 36-year-old attorney "We're also less quick to anger, more quick to be compassionate."

The Sirokas have found that yoga not only helps them dial down negativity in a relationship, it can also make the relationship juicier and more fun. "Just like colors seem brighter and flowers smell more beautiful when you're in this enhanced state of awareness," Matthew says, "love— the most powerful thing you can experience—is even greater, too."

Many of the skills and principles that yoga teaches—cultivating mindful awareness, speaking

Embrace your relationship as part of your practice, and let your communication and compassion blossom.

truthfully but without harm, and experiencing union, to name a few—can be applied to intimate relationships, helping you and your partner get out of ruts, resolve conflicts, and ultimately enjoy a sweeter sense of connection. And because romantic relationships have a way of evoking life's deepest pains and joys, applying a yogic structure to them has the potential to bring radical transformation.

"In a sense, your partner is your guru," says Jett Psaris, a counselor and the co-author of Undefended Love, which examines emotional barriers to intimacy and uses concepts from Eastern and Western thought to help readers overcome them. A partner, she says, "can stimulate and reflect the very best parts of who you are and the very worst parts of who you are—your edges, the places of contraction, but also the places of expansion."

That expansion can take years to identify. But just as your yoga practice is exactly that—a practice, requiring observation, curiosity, and a sense of presence—so your relationship can be a practice, too. Instead of a quest for perfection, it can be a process that takes you deeper inside yourself and connects you more deeply to your partner. As many by Valerie Reiss ft illustrations by MartaAntelo

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