For the last 80 years, the longest study on happiness ever recorded has been following the lives of a group of men. What they have found, has been considered revolutionary when it comes to an understanding of what constitutes a happy, wholesome life. According to the study, it is not money, power, success, or even physical fitness that leads to happiness; it is the quality of our relationships. In fact, those who were most satisfied in their relationships at age 50, were actually the healthiest by age 80. Robert Waldinger, the latest director of the study, stated ‘taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation’. It shows that building a strong, supportive community around you is a vital ingredient to long-lasting joy and contentment.
Luckily, yoga can give us a way to achieve this, and many yogis form genuine and fulfilling relationships through practice. As we are living in a world where digital communication is the norm and most conversations take place from behind a screen, it can be difficult to connect in the physical realm. Sharing movement and breath with a room full of like-minded individuals is a compelling way to connect. Yoga strengthens our ability to experience the present moment, in turn making us more responsive to our environment and the beings in it. Cultivating a greater awareness in the present moment helps us to build new friendships as well as strengthening old ones.
A good yoga practice will energize, yet relax us. In the end, we feel open, calm and peaceful. In this state, sharing and expression come more naturally; the fear of judgement is decreased, and we are less likely to feel intimidated by those around us. Being close to other humans in this way is healing. Through sharing your most authentic self, you can find liberation.
In cultures through time and across the globe, the healing power of community is expressed through dance, rhythm, and music. It is reflective of the rhythmic flow state we all live in. In a yoga class, our bodies move and breath to the same rhythm. It builds dialogical relationships with those around us; including yourself, the teacher and the other yogis. The unification of breath creates a sense of empathy and freedom.
Begin on your mat. Come into synchronicity with your body and your breath and foster a new relationship with your own self. Once you begin to love yourself fully, loving and connecting with others will come more naturally. It will leave you feeling physically attuned through the experience of joy and connection.
Our community of fellow yogis is there for users to take advantage. Be sure to share your heartaches, dreams, stories, and visions, but most importantly, learn from each other. Put on your best pair of high-waist yoga leggings and move together to shake off your egos and all the habits that no longer serve you. We are together on this journey we call life, and it is better when we are there for each other.