Sample from the Fall 2005 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine

An Interview with Iyanla Vanzant

A frequent guest on “Oprah,” a former host of “The Iyanla Vanzant Show,” and most recently a life coach on the Emmy-winning daytime show, Starting Over, Iyanla is a renowned author, spiritual life minister, and all-round inspirational guide to many. In part one of this two-part interview, Iyanla talks about the path to healing oneself and one’s relationships as well as the pitfalls on that path…

Integral Yoga Magazine: Do you practice Yoga?

Iyanla Vanzant: In meditation one day, I heard a voice telling me, “Yoga will save your life.” So I started this kind of intimate practice. I’ve always been drawn to Yoga, always. I would go to class. I didn’t know the difference between Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, but I love Integral Yoga.

IYM: You teach that, “The only person you ever meet in a relationship which is yourself.”

IV: And that’s because I believe there is only one Light, one Spirit, one Being. It expresses in various ways, in various frequencies and vibrations. Since relationships are healing opportunities, what we meet in a relationship, what we meet in a partner are those parts of ourselves that require healing, growing, loving, forgiving. That’s what we meet in our partner. And the partner shows up to reflect that back to us–giving us the opportunity to grow, to heal and love. Unfortunately, if we get caught up in trying to fix the partner’s defects, we won’t even recognize those as just parts of ourselves that require healing. When you have a partner who is not open and willing, or when you have a partner who can’t see something, it’s your own resistance. Wallace Black Elk said: “There’s only one man and his name is all men. There’s only one women and her name is all women. There’s only one child whose name is all children.” This only reinforced the belief for me that we are all one. So, it all starts with being in right relationship with yourself.

IYM: What does right relationship look like?

IV: It looks like awareness, acceptance, acknowledgement and forgiveness. Awareness of who you really are. It’s not something that is a 24-hour alertness of, “I’m here to save the world.” It needs to be an awareness of who you are–first of all–as a divine being and creation of God. That’s number one. And also an awareness of the responsibilities God places upon you as well as the gifts and blessings that He bestows on you. You are a child of God and a unique expression. This means, you need to ask: What do I come to give? What do I come to receive? What do I come to learn? What do I come to heal? What have I come to know? What have I come to release?

IYM: How does one discover that?

IV: I think that the easiest way is through yielding, listening, meditation. Because the instructions are inside of the product–inside of you. If you can go inside, you can get the instructions. But also the instructions are on the outside of the box–the ingredients and the instructions. If you just look at your experiences you begin to see who you are–how you move through certain things, knowing your strengths, knowing your weaknesses. You will begin to know what triggers you, what brings you joy and happiness, knowing how you handle yourself, your life, your situation. All of that is knowing who you are.

IYM: You also say that life is always offering us the opportunity to get it together. How does it offer us that?

Read the rest of this article in the Fall 2005 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine.