A close friend and recent guest teacher wrote an article in the Huffington Post’s Lifestyle section about the importance of a strong yoga community. This is a topic that resonates with me and one that I find close to my heart, as I often contemplate the growth of a yoga community here in Luang Prabang. Upon first setting foot on the peninsula in August 2011, I thought that surely such a spiritually inspiring and picturesque location would be host to a yoga community resembling those that I’ve encountered in Bali, Thailand and India. Alas, besides a small number of expatriates that gathered together several times a week to practice, there just wasn’t the same buzz about yoga in Luang Prabang as in other places. I’m talking about the kind of community that draws both teachers and students together from all over the world just to share the joy of yoga.
I’ve met many people here in Luang Prabang that practice on their own. I agree strongly with the Huffington Post article’s comment that while cultivating a personal practice is incredibly important, being part of a yoga community can help your practice transcend and take you places you never thought you’d end up. Within a strong yoga community, the open exchange of ideas, thoughts, personal struggles and challenges can leave you more open and accepting, not to mention the encouragement you receive from people who care. A safe community where teachers can learn from teachers, teachers can learn from students, and students can learn from each other encourages us to be nonjudgmental and helps us to let go of our ego and fear.
The Luang Prabang yoga community is gaining momentum, and it is important to mention that as communities get larger, so does the challenge to keep it unified. I believe the key to creating and preserving a close-knit community lies in our ability to uphold the principals of the practice of yoga and apply it not only on the mat, but also off the mat. As my friend reminded us in the Huffington Post, yoga means “union” of the body, mind and soul. This union furthermore applies to our relationships with each other and ultimately our relationship to the universe in which we live.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Click the following link to read the Huffington Post article:
A Stong Yoga Community Makes all the Difference to Your Practice, by Bhanu Bhatnagar
Blog post by Julie (juliehana.com)