This morning I might have had my best yoga practice ever. Not because my body was very flexible and I hold the poses like on an example picture. Not because I was totally focused on myself and forgot everything around me. No, not at all. It was because I felt deeply connected with and supported by the beautiful Mindfulness community I’m living in right now.

So full of love I can’t fall asleep

I had troubles getting out of bed this morning, because I had a hard time falling asleep after a wonderful partner meditation the night before. I felt so full of love and one with my meditation partner, the people surrounding me and even all other people on this planet. It energized me a lot and I couldn’t find sleep.

But the person sleeping next to me helped me to wake up and get out of bed. And I’m so incredibly thankful he broke the morning silence to talk me out of bed. Was I really this tired? Did I really need more sleep? Or could I handle the gentle yoga class? (We knew it was Taylors turn to teach, and his classes are always soft and tender.) So I decided to get out of bed knowing that I would feel guilty all day if I didn’t give myself this moment of tuning into my body and mind. During the practice I could always come back to child’s pose anyway, or even just spend the entire class in shavasana if I really felt too exhausted at all…

Joint strength

It’s only 08:00 AM now I’m writing this blog, but I know joining this yoga session is already the most favorite moment of my day. I felt so incredibly strong during this class. But it was not because of my own strength I felt incredibly good after this yoga class. It was the strength of our group.

We ended this yoga class in a circle in which we could stretch our arms half. We began doing tree poses with our eyes opened standing on our right leg, our tree trunk. Then we placed our left foot on our ankle, our calves, and finally in our thigh. Next we did the same with our eyes closed. I was shaking a lot and falling out of the position very soon. Others just fell straight away. We were not able to do this on our own.

But then the magic happened. We started to touch hands, so we could steady each other. And that was all that was needed. Everybody was able to stand in tree pose with their eyes closed. First on our ankles, then on our calves and eventually on our thighs. And we stood there for – I don’t know how long, but I felt we were as stable as an ancient forest.

Sometimes I lost my balance but I was supported by the others, so I never fell. And now and then I felt my neighbors wiggling, but they always kept standing because of my gentle support. Just a little help, the smallest assistance was enough to empower us all. It didn’t take a lot of our personal strength. We all gave and got a little to and from the community. Yet the result was immense: a thousand times greater than the force that we put into it individually.

Yoga Tree Circle

Community living

And that’s a beautiful metaphor for the way we live in the Mindfulness Project. All individuals coming here are definitely able to live on their own and to travel alone. But when we are having a hard time, we are feeling out of balance and need encouragement we definitely need each other. We need each other’s support. And like the yoga practice showed: it doesn’t have to cost a lot of effort. There are times when you are the supporter and other times when you need encouragement. It’s mutual and reciprocal. And this is only one of the benefits I experience of community living in the Mindfulness Project, of these beautiful deep connections we are making here.

Most of us live in a society where we don’t even know the name of our neighbors. Nonetheless we need deep connections to feel supported, to make our shared dreams come true, to flourish and grow. This is definitely a lesson I’m bringing back home. I think it’s beautiful how this yoga practice taught me this lesson. I often experience yoga as an individual activity: calming my own mind, relieving stress and pain, detoxifying my body, improving my posture and so on. However yoga literally means union and I think it’s wonderful how in a culture that tends toward isolation it not only connects individual bodies and minds, but it can also cultivate the experience of connection with each other.