10 Mar Why we need yoga and community more than ever
By: Jessie Lucier
There is something to be said about a practice that has not only survived, but also thrived for more than 5,000 years. Of course, I’m talking about yoga. While the journey, development, alteration and movement of the practice have been as varied and nuanced as any individual practitioner’s over the centuries, the basic intent of yoga remains steadfast. Yoga encourages us to go deeper—to tap into the true energy, essence and creativity that is us. In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, considered by many to be the authoritative text on yoga, Patanjali describes yoga as “the progressive quieting of the fluctuations of the mind.” Through the practice and the cultivation of detachment, Patanjali believes that one can stop identifying with the thoughts, feelings and sensations that cause pain and open up to the truly authentic and blissful experience that is life.
The idea of quieting the fluctuations of the mind might seem like an outrageous and even impossible idea, especially in today’s fast-paced, multi-tasking, strive to excel culture. It can also become harder to tap in and find solace given the political, social and environmental landscape that is causing many of us pain, fear and uncertainty. This is why we need yoga and community more than ever. While yoga may help us quiet the fluctuations of the mind, practicing yoga in community can be a truly nourishing, healing and transformative experience. Through community and the sharing of breath, movement and a mindful practice, we can expand our consciousness and connection to others.
The meaning of yoga literally translates to union—the bringing together of all into one. Even for the most advanced and committed practitioner, however, this feeling of oneness can feel like it’s slipping away as our communities, country and the world become increasingly polarized. With talk about building a wall, both political party lines and lines within political parties increasingly divided and the heightened uncertainty about what will come next, people are feeling disconnected. Add to that the uncertainty about healthcare, climate change, racial, sexual and gender identity issues and unstable diplomatic relationships, and even more people are experiencing fear. It’s often been suggested that the world would be a better place if all people lived their lives from a place of love rather than from one of fear. And, while this is a sentiment that I visit everyday, in a political, social and environmental terrain littered with uncertainty, it can be difficult to maintain a feeling of connection and stay committed to walking the quiet, peaceful path.
While at its core, the practice of quieting one’s thoughts is a highly individual practice, there is a reason why millions of contemporary yogis head to a studio for yoga rather than moving and meditating at home. There is comfort and comradeship in the community practice. This is where yoga festivals come in. Yoga festivals provide a safe, nourishing and sentient space for practitioners of all levels to raise their consciousness, connect with their breath and bodies and practice collectively to uplift the world.
Deepen Your Practice And Community Connection At Hanuman This Year
Colorado is well known for playing host to yoga festivals in locations from Snowmass to Telluride to Estes Park to the super yogi-friendly town of Boulder. Alongside the Boulder Creek and just a few minutes walk from Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall, yogis will spend four days taking a reprieve from the busyness, uncertainties and political upheaval that promote disconnection and, rather, connect. In a beautiful, supportive space, yogis will connect to their bodies, breath, music, inspirational words and, importantly, to each other to create collective change. Mohandas K. Gandhi is well thought to have said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” And while these inspirational words are found on bumper stickers all over the world, there’s question as to if Gandhi actually said them. Gandhi is, however, verifiably quoted as saying, “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him … We need not wait to see what others do.” Hanuman Festival 2018 gives you and thousands of other yogis desirous of effecting change in their lives, communities and the world to do just that. Rather than waiting to see what others do, we get to practice together to heighten consciousness, connect deeply, raise vibrations and affect the change in our own lives that can ripple through the world.