Thursday, August 8, 2013

Kundalini Yoga and Knapp's Relational Development Model

by Haritej Kaur

Ages ago I used to teach Interpersonal Communication as a graduate assistant.  One of my favorite topics is Knapp’s Relational Development Model.  This model describes how a relationship forms and falls apart as participants in a relationship go through different stages:

Initiating: Relationships begin at the point where people make initial contact with each other (“Hi, my name is John, nice to meet you”). Often times the deciding factor on whether a relationship will continue beyond this point is physical attraction (sadly, it is true for many cases).
Experimenting: People try to get to know more about each other. This is where people “test the water”, finding out each other’s likes and dislikes, discovering each other’s personality: Do we share anything in common? How different are we?
Intensifying: The relationship deepens after learning more about each other. Participants in the relationship begin to share more personal information with each other like feelings and personal history. This is also where intimacy (physical and emotional) is developed.
Integrating: The relationship becomes more intimate. Participants become a unit; joint identity is more significant than individual identity.  
Bonding: “Sealing the deal” in a relationship. People agree to see each other exclusively or move in together, get married. 
Differentiating: This is where a relationship begins to fall apart. Participants in the relationship begin to feel the need to reestablish personal identity.
Circumscribing: The relationship is starting to cool down. Participants communicate less with each other, spend less time together.
Stagnating: The relationship is in a rut. People follow the same old routine. There is no growth or passion in the relationship.
Avoiding: People starting to avoid seeing or spending time with each other when stagnation becomes unbearable. Conflict is common in this stage.
Terminating: Participants are unable to handle the deterioration of the relationship and decide to end the relationship. 

What does Kundalini Yoga have to do with this model? 


First, why do relationships fail? Relationships fail because many people are unable to commit to it. Yogi Bhajan said that we are unable to commit because we don’t know who we are. We let our ego run everything instead of living from our higher consciousness. We act out of fear and insecurities (instead of relying on our inner wisdom), form bad habits, and hardly stop to consider how our communication patterns are affecting each other.  

If we want to have an authentic relationship, what we need first is to understand who we really are. Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of awareness which can help us to see the truth in us (our Sat Nam). When you are your true self, you are able to act out of your consciousness and your divinity. You see the divine in everything.
Kundalini Yoga also helps you to be aware of your own habits, helps you to change self-sabotaging habits, improve communication, and build better relationship. Yogi Bhajan said, “The real strength in you is when your own consciousness stops your own emotion and commotion, and let you give a chance to your intellect and intuitive creativity” 

So if you want a good relationship, work on yourself first. Connect with your own soul, your true identity. Remember that you are the living light of God, and this light of God is in the other person as well. Always keep in mind the first sutra for the Aquarian Age: Recognize that the other person is you. Live from this consciousness, and make an effort to improve your communication.

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