VN:F [1.9.3_1094]The practice of yoga does not happen in a vacuum. I’ve been practicing on my own for the last month or so since we’ve been on the road and I was starting to feel a bit, well, lonely. Being in a new town every day doesn’t really offer any chance to connect to the people around you and I was missing the Mysore room back in Santa Monica with faces I knew and a room I felt comfortable in. Don’t get me wrong, practicing on my own has offered some amazing insight and I have felt my practice changing and in many ways becoming more meditative and I plan to continue doing so. However, now that we are staying in the same place for a few weeks (or months, not sure really) I have the opportunity to find and connect to the yoga community here and practice for a day or two each week in a studio with other people.
So, last night I had the opportunity to practice under the guidance of Mike Berghan, co- director of Te Aro Astanga in Wellington. As I walked in the room I could feel a sense of belonging, just being in the presence of other yogis seemed to put my mind at ease and remind me that I am connected to the world, not separate from it. I had a teacher that once said his practice took him from a place of feeling alone in the world to a place of feeling part of the world, and I couldn’t agree more. The studio was small, there was room for about 20 other people to practice and Mike’s adjustments and energy were just the right mix of finding the work and challenging the edge without going too far. Everyone in the room was comfortable in their own practice and focused.
As I travel around and meet new people and faces I get the sense that most people are looking for that same sense of connection, or Sangha. A place where they can be themselves and be nurtured along their path, whatever it may be. Every coffee shop and library and yoga studio I walk into there is a community board- people offering services or announcing events, to bring people together. For me, while I am here in Wellington, this studio is part of what helps me feel grounded and connected.