“Why are the two of you taking a course like the Hoffman Process?” was a question my wife Mirjam and I were frequently asked. “You have the tools of yogic and Buddhist philosophy, established spiritual practices and what seems like a healthy relationship that processes itself.”
Although these were all true, both Mirjam and I know that personal growth is a never-ending journey and no matter how deeply we’ve explored our inner worlds, there are always new perspectives that can support our evolution.
Mirjam is my co-teacher, as well as my wife, and, as a couple who work in the therapeutic side of yoga, we’re familiar with the holistic view of ourselves that Hoffman describes as the Quadrinity. This model sees us all as having four aspects; the intellect, the emotional self, the physical body and the spiritual self. Although we were aware of these aspects in our personal and professional lives, we were drawn to Hoffman by a strong desire to resolve long-standing patterns that were still present in our relationships and our teaching.
One of Mirjam’s yoga teachers, Sarah Powers, recommended the Process to her and I’d heard of it already as a self-confessed ‘transformation junkie.’ We live on the Spanish island of Mallorca, so when we discovered we could take the Process in England and the dates fitted our teaching schedules, we both jumped on board.
What Can Hoffman Offer a Happy Childhood?
I’ve always felt very connected to my parents and for the most part, I had a ‘drama free’ childhood. I have a long-standing yoga practice that keeps me in touch with my body. I meditate, chant mantras and have an open relationship to my emotions, to Mirjam and myself. So I was extra-curious what Hoffman would be able to offer me. Then I got a pre-course phone call from my Hoffman teacher and mentor Matthew Pruen, and I found out right away!
I felt an instant trust and connection to him and after some brief small talk, he cut right to the point. “Where can we go with someone who appears to have it all together?” I was unsure (clearly… this was ‘his’ job to find out!) so he offered a perspective from reading my application that the ‘amazing’ childhood I’d had may have put unnecessary pressure on me. It had created an intensity and a need for attention and perfection. Instantly, some of my walls began to crumble. I was aware that some of my patterns and perfectionist habits put excessive pressure on myself and others, but I’d never seen the cost of that in the way Matthew was able to point out so clearly. In just a few moments, I already felt seen in a vulnerable way that would soon become more apparent during the Process itself.
Mirjam had a similar experience on her pre-course call and although both of us had been confident and emotionally prepared, at this point we both gained a sense of humility and anticipation that carried us through to the first day of the course.
You’re (wisely) not allowed to do the same Process as your partner and Mirjam went first! We said goodbye in Mallorca and her courage in actively embracing even more change was a big inspiration for me. I received her last message before she handed in her phone and wished her well with her self-discovery. One week later, I was eagerly awaiting her call to say that she was on the way home where we’d have one week together before it was my turn to travel to England.
The reunion was quite special in many ways. We had a heart and soul connection from her openness. Layers of her past had been peeled away and during that week together, I can honestly say we grew even closer thanks to what she experienced on the Process.
Off I went one week later to dig into my own patterns; to dive even deeper into the shadows. The week had a profound impact and once I got home, Mirjam and I began to re-establish ourselves as a couple. Only this time we had greater awareness of our patterns, habits and pitfalls and great new tools to support each other.
Reunited – Fun and Games
We wanted to find ways to put some of the Hoffman tools into our personal lives, as we had a few weeks break before our next teaching program. We created a fun game using the ‘Feelings List’ that you’re given on the course. If anyone asks you how you are on the Process, you have to answer with a genuine feeling rather than simply ‘fine’. So now, any time either of us answered ‘How are you?’ with ‘good,’ ‘great,’ or ‘OK,’ we put €1 in a cup that we’d use to have a date night! Not only did it help change our vocabulary and sensitivity to how we were feeling, but we also saw it as a game for our inner children. Sometimes we even answered ‘wrongly’ to add more money so we could go out and have a date to encourage our playfulness!
For several weeks after the Process, we enjoyed pausing, looking into each other’s eyes and connecting to/from the heart. And we were still very human! Triggers appeared, bickering happened, fussing and accusing each other were there, but when those things came up, one of us was usually able to take responsibility for our actions and clear the tension. Our home life had a new depth that allowed us to navigate fights and disagreements with greater understanding and empathy for one another. These were tools and words we knew and used already… but the Process supported both of us in recognising the patterns sooner and defusing accusations and blaming through greater ownership of our emotions and triggers.
Greater Connection – Inside and Out
Since then, we’ve co-taught several yoga trainings and the Process tools are extremely valuable in our work. Thanks to the other students on our Processes, we can now see that each of our yoga students have a young girl or boy inside calling out to be seen and loved. We’re more aware that much of our characters are made up of patterns and triggers and by meeting emotions and intellect with empathy and compassion, we can see the spirit in everyone. The teachings of yoga, as we follow and teach them, remind us we’re essentially spiritual beings having human experiences. Our bodies are our vehicles and our emotions and intellect ask for attention but ultimately, they’re all in service to our spirit. We’d been teaching this for many years, but through Hoffman, we both gained a new relationship to that connection in our own lives and now carry that forward into the lives of our students.
For us as a couple and both of us as teachers, coming to the Process with established practices for all aspects of our Quadrinity has truly ‘deepened the dream’ of living a more fulfilled and enriched life. Bad days still come and go, we’re still triggered and fall into patterns, but some of the veil has been lifted. We now have great tools and a community to connect to while we keep making choices to follow the path of our highest potential. And luckily for us, this work seems as if it will last a few more years yet!
To support you in keeping the Body part of the Quadrinity open and healthy, we both have some videos to support you:
Rolling the Joints – an all over body practice for all levels and a perfect introduction to a Quad Check! Click here to watch
A full Online Yoga Class: Click here to watch
Free Inspirational Music: Click here to listen (the song May I Remember is very Hoffman!)
For a series of online yoga classes with Mirjam, visit: www.yogatherapymallorca.com
David is featured in the 2018 issue of Hoffman magazine. To order a FREE copy for yourself, friends or family, click here.