Yoga and the Power of Community
Ever wondered if yoga really is for you?
First class. You’re hovering at the door, unsure, almost ready to turn back. Then you catch someone’s glance. A smile, encouraging you to walk in. You smile back. You roll out your mat and your yoga journey begins.
Maybe you’re one of the lucky few who feel at home straight away. But then again, it’s far more likely that your first class is not exactly what you expected. You may find the poses challenging and little awkward at times. Or you may feel that the pace is too slow and different from the ‘more, faster, better’ corporate culture that is so common in the workplace. Either way, something about the yoga draws you in and you schedule your next class. That something may very well be the power of the yoga community—accepting, non-judgmental, open-hearted and friendly.
Here’s how to embrace your yoga community.
At first, you may be tempted to look around and compare yourself to others, but your teacher continuously reminds you to focus on your own practice, choose what’s right for your body and connect with your own breath. Gradually, you’ll relax into a different way of thinking and you’ll even learn how to feel more. You’re no longer trying to do better than the person next to you. There’s no need to put on a mask. No need to compete or hold yourself to an impossible standard. You’re welcome here just the way you are.
Become one with others
When you keep on coming back, it’s not too long before faces become familiar, and strangers turn into friends. You’ll meet people of all ages and backgrounds. Some of them you may not normally meet elsewhere—your paths seem too far apart—but as you practice yoga together, you find that you have a lot more in common with them than you ever thought possible. The sense of community dissolves the perception of separateness. You realise that no matter where we come from and where we are going, underneath we all have the same joys and struggles. We are all connected.
The sense of peace and oneness is not reserved for your yoga class only. You’ll find yourself taking it home with you and incorporating it into your every-day relationships. You’ll be more accepting with your partner, more patient with your children. You will have new found energy to give to your community.
Change the world
Solid scientific evidence demonstrates group meditation can reduce crime, violence and other social issues. Studies, conducted in different countries, have indicated that when enough people meditate together to stimulate peace within themselves, their collective effort affects the world around them—crime rates, death rates in war and even the number of road accidents inevitably go down. As the size of the group increases, the results become so statistically significant that they can’t be written off as pure coincidence.
Yoga is meditation in motion, and the feeling of peace it brings is undeniable. By sharing your practice with your yoga community, you’re amplifying its power to help make the world a more peaceful place.