By Cindy Michaels
Many of my students will often hear me say how grateful I am for the growing yoga community of Yoga by Cindy. They know that we do a lot more than just attend class together in the peaceful environment at Wrens Nest. But, it’s hard to explain if you haven’t experienced it. A lot of people will say to me, “I do yoga at home.” And, I think there’s merit to that. There are many online options available for people to learn or memorize a sequence. I actually design sequences for people to do at home at times when we don’t have class. However, what happens when you join a group, especially when that group becomes a community, is a very different experience. It’s not something that you’re doing repetitively. When you’re in a class, you might get a new idea or you might feel something different simply because you’re among others even though you’re practicing the same poses you might practice at home. The energy of being in a group is incredibly powerful. There’s simply nothing that compares to it.
When you practice alongside others on a regular basis and get to know them, you start to notice the changes they’re making and the progress they’re seeing within their own bodies or hear their articulation of what that experience was like for them. It’s a mindful, thoughtful experience. You get energy from other people, but you also gain perspective and insight. It promotes a deeper processing. Sometimes this is a gradual process. You’ll be doing the practice together, and over a period of time it will seem that you’ve suddenly dropped into a different experience. To be able to talk out loud and process what that is with other people makes that experience that much richer and deeper.
When you do a class with that same community, you develop friendships and a social support that’s palpable. It’s just very different. I believe that to really do transformative work of any level, it has to be done in community where you have that back and forth feedback. Yoga is not mindLESS; it’s mindFUL, and when you’re in a class, you can get feedback from the teacher and fellow students that promotes a deeper experience. Part of the process of yoga is going deeper into your practice, and being in a classroom environment facilitates that. Class is class. It’s always about learning something new. It’s different than when you’re doing something on your own.
There’s a sense of community that develops, as well as a sense of accountability. In the class, in the moment, when someone speaks about their experience it resonates with others. When someone is missing, we recognize it. You can feel that in a meditative way. When someone is missing in their spot, you’ll know it. Many of our students become friends outside of class, and they’ll explain why someone isn’t there or offer to check on them to make sure everything is okay. The power of friendship building and feeling a part of a community where your presence is recognized and your input is valued is thriving within our Yoga by Cindy class communities. I invite you to experience and share it with others, and I thank you for allowing me to share it with you.