students learning together at a recent Kula Jam
|“A healthy social life is found only, when in the mirror of each soul the whole community|
finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of
each one is living” Rudolf Steiner
When I first started taking Anusara yoga I was so happy to find a feeling of a 'home' in a yoga class. People came week after week, we smiled at each other, we knew each other's names, and we supported each other as we partnered together and made our way through the journey of each class. When my teacher stopped teaching I was forced to find other classes. They were fabulous classes taught by talented teachers, but the connection I felt to the others practicing with me in my Anusara classes was totally lost in my new practices. I felt the loss heavily.
One of the main distinctions of Anusara yoga from others is just this sense of connection and community. In Anusara, in sanskrit, we call it Kula. Kula being translated most easily as 'community of the heart.' It is the community of individuals that chooses to come together to support and uplift each other. What is so fabulous is that the kula extends from individual classes into the larger Anusara force in each city, and extends from there into the entire Anusara world. So when I go to a workshop in a different city and I know no one I'm not worried at all. I know that I will be accepted and supported in my yoga and people will genuinely be as interested in me as I am in them.
The kula is one of the driving forces for my journey into becoming an Anusara teacher. The loss and disconnection I felt when my teacher left was so profound that I felt called to provide that same heart space for others by building an Anusara community here in RVA. Kula building is one of my main areas of focus and I'm seeing it pay off already. (I'll blog more about our kula building efforts in later posts).
In the practice of this yoga we're really creating a community of the body/mind/heart. We're bringing all the parts together into a collective and cohesive whole to manifest the beautiful pose for an instant before it dissolves into the next form. We celebrate all body parts as equal, all thoughts as meaningful, all emotions as valid and in that way the whole person is brought to the practice in all her/his light. It is a very affirming and loving way to practice.
Tonight I close my first series and we'll focus on community. That even as we come to an end, the community we've built by practicing together over the 6 weeks will continue to live on in our hearts and in our bodies each time we come to the mat. And hopefully we'll keep expanding as we move into part 2 of the series in two weeks.
Contemplation: Where do I feel most connected to community? Who do I want to build community with?
And to follow up from yesterday... On my NOT TO DO LIST TODAY: