The word вЂњmeditationвЂќ often brings to mind the image of a solitary individual sitting in quiet retreat. Meditation for couples, however, makes the sense of centeredness that many individuals find in meditation into a shared experience. Unlike running or weightlifting, this form of mental and spiritual fitness is not always a precise practice; experiment with numerous forms of meditation, including exercises of your own design, until you find what works for you and your partner.
You can perform couples meditation by sitting in a traditional meditative pose - such as the lotus position - facing your partner with your knees touching, sitting side-by-side or positioned back-to-back. Meditation and yoga instructor Shawngela Pierce recommends clasping your hands, placing them over each other's hearts or lying on your back and holding hands. You may sit cross-legged or in a chair, with your spine straight. Most meditation exercises for couples place your focus on your partner's eyes. As in solitary mediation, your concentration lies on slow, regular breaths. Sessions typically last between 1.5 and 30 minutes - Pierce recommends, as an ideal figure, 30 minutes of couples meditation per day.
Bruce Capuchettes and Francine Capuchettes Beauvoir of the Pasadena Institute for Relationships note that traditional solitary meditation derives its effectiveness from the вЂњimmediate-next-of-nowвЂќ principle; as the human brain - a survival-focused вЂњanticipation machineвЂќ - relaxes as a result of a predictable environment, meditation calms the limbic system via the predictability of in-and-out breaths. This mutual focus on calming and mental stability, which may carry over into thoughtful and measured dialogues, helps couples avoid the escalated emotions of fear and anger during high-tension moments in their relationship. According to the Capuchettes, focusing deeply on your partner becomes a form of reciprocal relational practice.
The Counseling Center at Heritage purports that вЂњcouples who meditate together stay together,вЂќ noting potential benefits including increased empathy and heightened brain activity. The Capuchettes take this principle further, claiming that relational meditation allows couples to feel more vulnerable in each other's presence. The Simplicity Meditation center of Montreal reports more open communication, increased honesty and a less frantic approach to life in couples who meditate. Neuroscience expert Dan Siegel touts вЂњThe Magic NineвЂќ benefits of meditation: attuned communication, emotional balance, fear modulation, response flexibility, insight, empathy, body regulation, moral judgment and intuition. These personal improvements offer clear benefits to relationship health when shared by both partners.
Professional counselors remind meditating couples that the practice is not about pushing thoughts out of your mind; this includes nagging relationship-related thoughts. Meditation instead involves letting thoughts come and go until your concentration lies wholly on the current moment, typically anchored through breathing. Some practitioners recommend adding a spiritual element to couples meditation via the recital of prayer, chants or mantras. If you need help getting started or perfecting your couples meditation regimen, seek assistance from a certified meditation instructor, couples retreat program or couples counseling center.