Community is the place where the power of the ego is revealed and called to die so that all may become one body and give much life. – Jean Vanier
The meditation mantra for the month is Satsang. Satsang is a community of people gathered together, seeking more truth, more light; practicing together. Whenever you show up for a yoga class, you are part of a satsang, whether you know it or not. I have not always been aware or intentional about the importance of the gathered community, and to my own detriment.
Practicing yoga alone at home has it’s perks, of course. But, it is tough to do. Practicing in a community of people, whether you know their names or not, makes a world of difference. There is something to other people affirming your decision to show up by showing up themselves, and silently holding you accountable to showing up again.
I know that some people, especially if they are new to yoga, feel really self-conscious in a class full of people. I get that. If that’s you, trust me when I say that unless you are talking out loud and intentionally drawing attention to yourself; no one is watching you.
At it’s best, practicing yoga in a community of people who are all “staying on their mat”, works kind of like drafting does in a pack of cyclists. I don’t understand all the mechanics of it but I know that they ride in a really tight pack and take turns in the lead, to block the wind for each other. The leader is not there to be a super-star and break away from the pack- the opposite really. They are taking their turn working their tails off to block the wind for the pack. Once one is done leading, they can rest in the pack a little bit while someone else leads. The pack sort of pulls each other along.
I hope that’s what happens in our classes. I hope that by witnessing and mindfully encouraging each person’s practice, we are all strengthened and carried by it. I love when you can hear one person really into their breath, which pulls along the people around them, and then it grows until the room is full of deep and strong inhales and exhales. It is SO inspiring – no pun intended, I swear.
A yoga class is a funny space. There really isn’t talking or get to know you time. Yet a real community takes shape by the intention of the practice itself. You can feel so encouraged and enlivened by the people around you without having any idea who they are, where they live, or what they do with all the other hours that they aren’t in yoga class.
If you are interested in being part of this satsang of Daily Bread Yoga, by all means, come on! Check out the class schedule on this blog. The new schedule starts tomorrow. Maybe there is a class that is just right for you. I hope so. Trust me when I say that it really will make such a difference, for all of us, that you are there. We need your strength, patience, ease, courage and your plain old determination to show up! If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to drop me a note. You can write me, Rachel, a private message to firstname.lastname@example.org .
And there is a retreat this Saturday, 9a.m.-noon at Philo Presbyterian Church (105 E Jefferson – 2 blocks east of High Cross Rd.). Cost is $20. Bring a mat (or let me know and you can borrow one from me) and a bottle of water. Let me know if you are coming and how many friends and neighbors you are bringing!
peace on your head,