Yoga is often seen as a solo pursuit. One of the key purposes of yoga is to unite the breath with the body, the body with the mind, the mind with the breath. How else to achieve this but to turn inwards, to close our eyes and take time to focus on ourselves. An essential and much-loved part of every yoga class.
But our health and happiness also depends on our connection with others, on living within a supportive community. A face-to-face, eyes open, caring, sharing community. We heard this recently with the report that people living in small regional towns are the healthiest, happiest Australians. We know from studies such as that described in a book I’ve been reading recently, The Village Effect by Susan Pinker, that people who have more face-to-face contact with others live longer and report greater happiness levels than those who live online, or live with little contact with others.
In yoga, the word for community is Sangha: a Sanskrit term we use to describe a small group of like-minded people. This is a group of people who understand the need to move, stretch, soften, relax with no pressure to perform or be anything other than ourselves. Perfectly imperfect as we all are.
In a small town like Clunes, a Sangha is easily achieved. Classes rarely start or finish without a hug, a natter or just a smile in shared understanding. We connect and we offer the chance to be understood. If just for a moment we understand that we each need this time - whether it’s for exercise, to reduce anxiety, or to learn relaxation techniques. We wobble and shake, fall out of a balance - then we catch someone’s eye and share a laugh. We push ourselves or we take it easy and no one judges, no one minds. Sometimes we share a cuppa after class. A supportive community indeed.
If you’re looking for a good way to meet new people and get healthy, or if you’ve ever wondered whether yoga is right for you, give me a call on 0459 13 87 97. I’ll let you know which class would be best for you to start off with and I will offer you your first class free during the month of August. Classes in Clunes are supported by the Clunes Neighbourhood House. Information on classes can be found here.