Yoga Plus Friends
The classic image of a Yogi is the person sitting by themselves, alone in meditation and removed from the world.
Yet, it wasn’t always this way. One theory about the earliest practices of yoga is that it was first done to create group consciousness in a tribe or community.
The guide, teacher, or healer in the community would lead others through a series of chants, body positions, and breath work that would end in a group meditation and connection with the Oneness of the universe.
These practitioners, through developing a group consciousness through early yoga practices, were able to achieve a universal consciousness.
And while we may think of yoga as the ultimate solo journey, it can certainly be easier and more rewarding when we can join with others on the journey.
This understanding was the foundation for ashrams, monasteries, and spiritual communities so that the individual consciousness could join in group consciousness which led to the experience of universal consciousness.
My first experience of this process was my residency in a Kundalini Yoga ashram in 1974 where I joined about 30 other yogis to learn to teach and practice yoga in group consciousness.
While it was certainly not all bliss and light (“Who drank my orange juice?”), the daily practice of yoga in the pre-dawn hours created a sense of belonging that turned the nuclear family upside down.
It was true. Yoga was better – much better – with friends and a collective consciousness that supported you in your individual journey.
My teacher training journey in that San Rafael, California ashram was perfect for a recently psychedelicized hippie looking for enlightenment in all the wrong places.
Most of the yoga ashrams were vanishing by the 1980s, yet group consciousness, community, and friends are all as vital today for the aspiring yogi as it was hundreds, thousands of years ago.
And where can you find that yogic group consciousness today? In the middle of a yoga teacher training program is a great place to begin.
In our 25 years of facilitating Kundalini Yoga teacher training, we have learned this: You may come for the yoga, or for the chance to become a teacher, or to improve your own practice, but what you leave with are friends and a community that always supports you.
A Supportive Community
Our in-person Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training program begins this month. A great way to reinvent yourself and set the energy for the year ahead!