The longest study on happiness ever conducted (spanning almost 80 years and still going!) claims that the happiest people are not the richest, most successful or even the fittest. They have concluded that happiness comes from the quality of our relationships, and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health. In fact, the people who were most satisfied in their relationships at age 50, were the healthiest at age 80. This does not just mean our romantic relationships, it encompasses our friendships, family relations, partners, colleagues and lovers. Director of the study, Robert Waldinger, says “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation”. Building a strong supportive community around you is a key ingredient I think!! This is where yoga comes in.
Yoga gives us a way to form fulfilling, long-lasting, genuine relationships. In a world where digital communication is starting to become the norm, meeting people on a physical sense, but also sharing movement with them, is powerful way to form a strong connection. Yoga can help us meet and bond with people who share our goals, dreams, visions and perspectives on life. As yoga makes us more responsive to our environment and the people in it, it primes us to build new friendships aswell as strengthening old ones.
At the end of a yoga class, you feel energised yet relaxed, open and peaceful. In this state, expression and sharing comes easier and there is less fear of judgement or intimidation. Intimacy is healing; being able to share your authentic self with like-minded individuals around you is an invaluable part of life. In a yoga and meditation we are supported without judgment throughout the entire process.
In many cultures – modern and ancient – around the world, the healing power of community is often expressed through music, rhythm, and dance (reflecting the rhythm and flow state of all living things). In class we move and breath to the rhythm of the teacher’s instructions, building dialogical relationships with both the teacher and the other yogis around us. Our united breath fosters a shared sense of freedom and understanding.
Our mats are the easiest place for us to begin. Coming into synchronicity with our own bodies and with those around us ignites a new relationship with ourselves. We leaves feeling physically attuned with an experience of connection and joy. We are fully present in the moment and safely able to access our sensations and emotions.
Take advantage of your community of fellow yogis. Share your dreams, heartaches, visions and stories; learn from each other. Move together to shake off the egos and habits that no longer serve you……Creating a sense of a journey together….. the feeling of allowed to be anonymous but the feeling of being all connected at the same time… therefore always feeling part of it… the actually practice and holding of your space on the mat!!
“Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved” – Winnie the Pooh.