Creating Community by Reaching Out

Emily Dickinson Poem

By Angela Noel

April 13, 2017

I practice hot, sweaty yoga. I love the quiet, dark room filled with other people. We start and end each session in savasana, or corpse pose. The yogi leading the practice provides an intention, the only voice in the room, as we begin. He or she might share a quote, a song lyric, a poem, or a riddle. I’ve both giggled, and allowed tears to flow. There’s something about yoga that opens up possibilities in me.

No competition. No expectations.

Akin to a spiritual revival, the bunch of us sweat together, breathe together, slurp quantities of water after six sets of chaturanga dandasana (four-limbed staff pose) together. But this feeling of community doesn’t happen by accident.

My yoga studio, Modo Yoga Minneapolis, goes out of its way to foster a sense of belonging. Modo is driven by values–putting people first.

Modo (also known as Moksha in Canada) Yoga was built on the dream of having independently owned and community-driven studios that share their ideas, their love of conservation, an awesome hot yoga series rooted in the traditional teachings of yoga and yoga therapy concepts, and a passion for our 7 philosophical pillars. Today, studios are community hubs where yoga is just the beginning.

The Seven Pillars are a philosophical extensions of what inspired and intentional living can look like. There’s even fun videos to illustrate each concept.

On Modo’s Inspired Life blog, they’re featuring a series of posts about the Seven Pillars. A recent article discusses the beginner’s mindset, part of the sixth pillar, Live to Learn. Each post uncovers more ways for all of us to put philosophy into practice. The fifth pillar, Reach Out, particularly spoke to me. The piece I wrote for Modo’s blog compliments Speaking and Listening: The Power of Truth. It offers five ideas about how simple things can make a big difference.

Modo Pillar: Reach Out – Modo Yoga Minneapolis

Reaching out is an extension of self. It’s an effort to go beyond the comfortable, or the normal, and do something extraordinary. Folks like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, Bill and Melinda Gates, Amma, and Martin Luther King do big things and impact millions.

You don’t have to be a yogi to love what Modo is doing. They host many community events open to all, as well as work to support their members’ creative journeys–mine and others. For example, after class one day I found Dave Driver, author of The Bottom Turtle: A Christian’s Journey Into Yoga, in the lobby ready to talk about and sign his book. No friendlier or kinder face could greet a student after a steamy workout. A yoga instructor and member of Modo, Dave writes for everyone (not just Christians) about how, as one reviewer put it, “we can all find the good and grow together.”

Find the good and grow together. Filled with possibilities, that phrase perfectly describes what yoga, and community, mean to me.

Your turn: What does community mean to you? How do you reach out to support others?

 

Author: Angela Noel

Seeker and promoter of awesome people and ideas.

23 thoughts on “Creating Community by Reaching Out”

  1. I work in a little vintage shop downtown in my city. The downtown has become a village within my city of around 92 thousand folks. I love how those who live with in the “village” visit me on a regular basis. It always reminds of the sitcom “Cheers” song. Where everybody knows your name and their always glad you came.

  2. I use to do Pilates regularly and whilst I know it’s different from Yoga, I used to feel the same with regards to the community vibe during classes. It was great as when I first started we were all beginners, so we all grew together. It was lovely 👍🏻

  3. I’m a yogi enthusiast also (just not hot yoga, but no matter). When we’re all in the room practicing yoga, breathing together, stretching and posing and meditating, ahhhhh yes, we build community then. We breathe in peace and breathe out love for all. Great post here!

    1. Thank you for reading it, and sharing your own experience. Yoga is one of those things we can do both alone and together at the same time. Like life, it’s up to us to do the work, but it’s with others that the work has more meaning. 🙂

  4. I think these forms of exercise are not only good for health and well being, but give a sense of community too. I used to do martial arts back in the day and I remember that aspect very strongly. The Uni happened… my bad!

    Personally I prefer not to exercise alone, I don’t feel the same drive or mental zone there. With others there is a supporting edge that makes me carry on where I might stop otherwise. I really ought to look into some groups round here. This post might be responsible for improved fitness levels; obviously I shall blame you now 🙂

    1. Blame away! I also love learning that you did martial arts back in the day! We were thinking of getting my son into some form of martial arts. I did Tae Kwon Do for a minute–I had trouble punching or kicking the dummy. I knew it was a dummy, but still. I’ve heard it’s great fun and good for kids. What do you think?

      1. Ha,ha…I will then 😊

        Martial arts is excellent for self discipline and fitness. My only caveat would be to find the right dojo and trainers. There are some proper Cowboys now unfortunately, the right ones teach self defence as the final option, not the first. They teach you to control anger and avoid situations before they happen. In those you learn so much more than just the martial art. Breathing, meditation, self awareness and self esteem. That said, it’s often not obvious until you get to higher grades. But then, as you said, it takes effort to reach that part.

        I’ve done karate and Ju-Jitsu. Although now, I think something less energetic and meditative might suit better!

      1. He is still giving classes, 4 days a week, and does one to one consultations too! If you are ever near us you should let me know! He does it as his ‘community service’ giving back to the world, you know!

  5. My whole family was introduced to Yoga in the past year. It was a way for us to be more mindful, less stressed, and healthier all-around. We all absolutely loved it. So much so that when we went on a long vacation last March, my daughter (6 yrs.) led nightly yoga in our camper. She was quite the leader, displaying what she had learned by guiding us on our nightly journey. Very fond memories. We’ve fallen off the Yoga train this summer with all of the summer hubbub, but I’m itching to get back to our quiet evening ritual. Thanks for the reminder! Your yoga place sounds like an awesome place to practice!

    1. Okay, that sounds super adorable, first of all. Secondly, my yoga studio has classes just for kids and I’ve wondered if I should take Jackson there sometime. He’s probably love to be the instructor of a daily yoga session at my house too! Thanks for the idea!
      Modo is a great place to practice–they do a lot for the community and that’s particularly awesome.
      One of my first dates with my husband was hot yoga, now that I think of it. Why did I think hot and super sweaty was a good date idea? hmmm Maybe that was when we were pretending to just be “friends.” 🙂
      I hope you guys get back into it–if only because I love the idea of a little girl teaching the class. Too cute!

      1. Well, they say that sweat has lots of good pheromones in it, so maybe the hot yoga sealed the deal! 🙂 Also, have Jackson try the Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube. Jamie is a great instructor and she brings the kids (and parents 😉 ) on fun yoga adventures.

  6. I actually have a post on friendship and community that’s going up tomorrow!! To me, community is making the effort to reach out and make meaningful connections. When I meet new people, I try to learn at least three things about them and give them 100% of my attention- people connect with people, not a disinterested human! Wonderful post 😊

    1. Awesome! I’ll look forward to reading your post. I think a 3 new things goal sounds amazing. Also, giving 100% of your attention makes such a difference. I know I’m guilty of missing the mark on this sometimes, but it’s so important. Thank you for sharing!

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