Finding solace and support in a yoga community can offer a sense of belonging, healing, and self-discovery.
However, the search for the right yoga community can be overwhelming due to the vast array of options available.
This article aims to guide you through the process of finding a yoga community that aligns with your values and needs.
- Embracing belonging: the basics of community
- Choosing a yoga community that aligns with you
- Online versus in-person yoga communities
- Celebrating diversity
- The Value of a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Community
Read on with us.
Embracing belonging: the basics of community
Although many yoga studios claim values of inclusivity, diversity, and community, in truth, most yoga studios in the Westernized world cater to cisgender, middle to high-class, able-bodied white women as their clientele.
With that in mind, most yoga studios and gyms are not welcoming nor accessible to many people, making it difficult to find a yoga community for those who do not fit into that description.
There are many ways to describe what a community is.
Brené Brown‘s work often centers around human connection and the power of vulnerability in building meaningful relationships.
In her view, a community is not just a group of people who happen to be in the same place, but rather a space where individuals can show up authentically, be seen, and belong without the need to conform or hide their true selves.
For Brown, a community is characterized by:
- Connection: A community is a place where individuals can connect on a deeper level, sharing their experiences, stories, and vulnerabilities.
- Vulnerability: In a true community, individuals feel safe enough to be vulnerable, and to express their fears, struggles, and uncertainties without fear of judgment.
- Belonging: Belonging is a fundamental aspect of a community. It’s about feeling accepted and valued for who you are, not for what you do or how you appear.
- Empathy: Empathy plays a crucial role in community building. It involves understanding and sharing the feelings of others, which fosters compassion and deeper connections.
- Support: A community provides a support system where individuals can lean on each other during times of need, whether that’s through emotional support, advice, or simply being there to listen.
- Shared Values: While communities consist of diverse individuals, they often come together based on shared values, interests, or goals that create a sense of common ground.
Choosing a yoga community that aligns with you
Selecting the right yoga community that aligns with your values and goals is essential for a fulfilling practice, and can help you stay consistent.It may take a little bit of trial and error, but here are some tips:
- Whether it’s physical fitness, stress relief, spiritual growth, or something else, knowing your goals will help you find a community that supports them.
- Different yoga styles cater to different needs. Research styles like Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin, Kundalini, and more to find out which resonates with you.
- Consider what values matter most to you in a yoga community. Is it inclusivity, diversity, spirituality, or something else? Look for a community that shares your values.
- Take time to learn about the teachers’ backgrounds, certifications, and teaching experience. Well-trained instructors can significantly enhance your yoga experience.
- Attend a class or observe online sessions to get a sense of the atmosphere. Do you prefer a serene and meditative environment or a more energetic and upbeat one?
- If you’re attending in-person classes, consider the location’s proximity to your home or workplace. Accessibility and convenience matter.
- Do you prefer a large, bustling community, or a smaller, more intimate one? Think about the kind of interactions and connections you want to have.
- Many yoga studios offer trial classes. Take advantage of these to experience the community firsthand before committing.
- Read reviews and seek recommendations from friends or online platforms to get an idea of the community’s reputation and vibe.
- Check if the community offers retreats, workshops, or events that align with your interests. These can provide deeper immersion and learning.
Online versus in-person yoga communities
The choice between online and in-person yoga communities adds another layer to the search for the right fit.
Each option has its own set of benefits and considerations, allowing you to choose what suits your preferences and circumstances best:
Benefits of Online Yoga Communities
- Flexibility: Online yoga communities offer the flexibility to practice from the comfort of your home or any location with an internet connection. This is particularly advantageous for those with busy schedules, caregivers, or folks living in remote areas.
- Global Connections: Connecting with practitioners and teachers from around the world enriches your yoga experience by exposing you to different styles, perspectives, and cultures.
- Variety: Online platforms often host a wide variety of classes, ranging from traditional yoga styles to niche practices. This allows you to explore different approaches and find what resonates with you.
- Accessibility: Online yoga communities can be more accessible to individuals with physical disabilities or health concerns that make in-person attendance challenging.
Considerations for Online Communities
- Technical Requirements: Reliable internet access and compatible devices are necessary for online participation. Poor connectivity can disrupt the flow of your practice.
- Personal Connection: While online communities facilitate global connections, they might lack the personal touch and immediate feedback that in-person interactions provide.
Benefits of In-Person Yoga Communities
- Physical Presence: In-person classes provide the opportunity to immerse yourself fully in the yoga practice, guided by a teacher who can offer real-time adjustments and personalized guidance.
- Energetic Atmosphere: The collective energy of a room can be invigorating and motivating. Practicing alongside others can enhance your sense of belonging and motivation.
- Social Interaction: In-person classes foster face-to-face interactions, allowing you to build deeper relationships with fellow practitioners and instructors.
- Structured Environment: Attending in-person classes creates a structured routine, which can be helpful for individuals who thrive on consistency.
Considerations for In-Person Communities
- Location: Finding a convenient studio location is essential, as commuting can impact your commitment to regular practice.
- Time Constraints: In-person classes are subject to set schedules, which might not always align with your availability.
- Intimidation Factor: Some people may feel less comfortable in group settings, especially if they are new to yoga, and finding the right fit can take a while.
The choice between online and in-person yoga communities ultimately depends on your preferences, needs, and circumstances
One of the primary reasons people seek out yoga communities is the desire to belong.
A sense of connection and shared purpose can foster emotional support and personal growth.
When looking for a yoga community, consider:
- Studio Culture: Research the studio’s philosophy and values. Does it emphasize inclusivity, kindness, and a sense of community? A welcoming and supportive environment can significantly enhance your experience.
- Class Sizes: Smaller class sizes often allow for more personal interactions and a stronger sense of connection. This can provide opportunities to engage with instructors and fellow practitioners on a deeper level.
- Events and Workshops: Participating in workshops, retreats, or community events organized by the studio can facilitate connections outside regular classes, helping you forge deeper bonds with others who share your interests.
- Diverse Representation: Look for a variety of instructors and practitioners from different backgrounds. This representation fosters an inclusive environment where everyone feels seen and valued.
- Cultural Sensitivity: A respectful approach to incorporating cultural practices and symbols into yoga classes is essential. A diverse community appreciates the origins of yoga while avoiding cultural appropriation.
- Accessibility: An accessible yoga community ensures that yoga is available to individuals regardless of physical ability or financial constraints.
- Physical Accessibility: The studio should be physically accessible to people with mobility challenges. This includes ramps, elevators, and adaptable spaces for wheelchair users.
- Financial Accessibility: Look for studios that offer sliding-scale pricing, donation-based classes, or scholarships. These options make yoga more financially attainable for everyone.
The Value of a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Community
Yoga can be a powerful tool for healing, especially when practiced in a trauma-informed or trauma-sensitive manner.
If you’re looking for a yoga community that prioritizes trauma sensitivity:
- Staff Training: Research whether instructors have received trauma-informed training. This ensures that they are equipped to create a safe and supportive space for all practitioners, especially those who have experienced trauma.
- Language and Cues: Trauma-sensitive teachers use language that is mindful of potential triggers and emotional sensitivities. They provide choices and options in their cues, allowing practitioners to make decisions that feel right for their bodies.
- Consent and Boundaries: A trauma-informed yoga community respects personal boundaries and offers consent-based practices. This creates an environment where practitioners can reclaim a sense of agency and control.
Finding a yoga community that aligns with your values and needs is a rewarding journey that can greatly enhance your well-being.
Whether you seek belonging, trauma-informed practices, diversity, accessibility, or a good work-in, doing some research and trusting your intuition will lead you to a community where you can thrive, heal, and connect with like-minded individuals.
To learn more about the different yoga styles to help you find a yoga community that aligns with you, check this out next.