What do you have on your mind when you sign up for a yoga class? Is it to relax? Stretch? Get stronger? See friends? While our personal impetus for going to a yoga class is often egocentric and self-care driven, the practice makes us better, more functional people in the outside world too. When we have met our needs for self-care, service, and self-love, we are able to share that care, service, and love with others.
Radiating kindness is not just a lofty aspiration for more zen-like people. A consistent yoga practice can help us get to know the best version of ourselves. We are all capable of embodying the virtues we admire. Yoga gives us that path to mindfulness. Having said that, some days we walk into the studio and just don’t feel great. In those times, it’s important to show ourselves kindness and remember that making time to practice is the first step. When we’re in class, it’s hard to ignore that our combined effort of practicing together is greater than the singularity of any one of our individual energies.
Although COVID-19 forced many of us into isolation, we have been able to access classes virtually and, with some planning, in studio too. Hearing people’s deep ujjayi yoga breathing helps ground us in class. It’s incredibly valuable to tap into that togetherness in a time where we are being told to keep our distance. Being mindful of practicing yoga helps fill our tanks with the message that we’re all trying to be better. When class is over, we’re also in a position to take the love we’ve shown ourselves and share it with our outside world.
While our past few months have looked quite different than any other time in our lifetimes, working remotely and maintaining social distance has had some silver linings. Depriving ourselves of physical contact from others has underscored the importance of connecting with our community. Luckily, there are many increased channels of connection such as virtual learning opportunities and other ways to be involved remotely that may benefit the environment, social justice, and other causes near to our hearts. This season, let’s allow our practice to shift our attention off of ourselves. As we step off our mats and head out into the world after class, let’s open the door to allow the uniting energy of yoga to make our world a better place.