Yoga means union in Sanskrit. It is the union of many different ideas, events, movements and beliefs. It was originally instituted as a Hindu spiritual discipline, but has been transformed into a worldwide lifestyle that brings peace, love and health to the multitudes. To establish a community of yogis (practitioners of yoga) is to establish a community of peace, love and togetherness.
“Hatha, meaning literally “sun-moon” Yoga is thought of as a way of uniting opposite energies, such as “masculine and feminine” or “hot and cold.” Traditional Hatha Yoga encompasses not only physical poses (asanas), but also breath-work (pranayama), mudras (energy locks), meditation, and contemplative practice.” — Melanie Greenberg Ph.D.
HOW TO START
Yoga has become a mainstay in all towns and cities across the country. There are probably multiple yoga studios within a close radius of your home right now. There are a plethora of free how-to videos on the Internet. You can also purchase DVDs online and at many stores. There are a ton of resources out there; you just have to decide which one to use.
You can get the word out by posting on social media; in the town library, community center or senior center; local newspapers that offer free community listings. Signs can also be posted at the location where the class will take place. If school is still in session, notices can go out through notices sent home in backpacks.
Many yoga studios will want to get the word out about their classes and there is nothing like an outdoor class in a picturesque location. The nature of yoga is to bring people together (there’s that word union again) to support a positive mindset so to bring a class to an outdoor venue in your town would be a perfect opportunity. The yoga studio or yoga instructor could ask for a donation (maybe $5) and this could expose many more people to yoga inexpensively. Many times these classes are promoted as community classes.
“This need not be an esoteric metaphysical labour. Instead, it can be sociological: analysing the ways in which society shapes us to be functional. Yoga is like an inventory of the body’s habits.” — Damon Young Ph.D.
COMMUNITY CENTER/LIBRARY CLASS
Classes could be offered at local senior centers, community centers or libraries. Since yoga is a quiet, peaceful practice, many libraries have meeting rooms in which videos can be shown or instructors can hold classes. Another great win-win for everyone; the instructor gets the word out about their studio and the community builds a great group of peaceful, like-minded people. This could be offered free of charge or for a small donation.
Another type of yoga community that is not a physical, face-to -ace community, but is a community nonetheless is a Facebook community. There are many yoga themed Facebook groups that you can join, which are private groups. Within these groups, yogis post yoga challenges; words of encouragement; mindfulness exercises; online yoga class recommendations: questions about poses, yoga teacher training, props, etc…all within a supportive, like-minded community. The people who join the group all have the yoga mind set, which is very accepting, supportive, understanding and mindful. It is a great way to start online or even face-to-face friendships. Since the groups are private and there is an administrator who oversees the discussions and posts, it is a safe place to ask questions that you may not ask elsewhere.
“Anxiety, sleeping disorders, ADHD, depression, pain and stress symptoms can be helped by learning yoga techniques. Several recent studies have documented the amazing benefits of regular yoga practice on health, which occurs over a relatively short time period.” — Constance Scharff Ph.D.
People may not have the time or money to dedicate to joining a studio so all of these would be perfect scenarios for them. Perhaps starting a home practice and then trying a public class makes some feel more comfortable. Others who may be curious about yoga, but not ready to commit to a full membership get an opportunity to try it out. Those participants may become paying members of the yoga studio or they may just meet other like-minded people who they can then get ideas from for other similar activities. Who knows…lifelong friendships man ensue.
Get involved with a yoga community in your area. It will be a great investment in your self-care.