Ever since I made the move to Colorado, I have had a difficult time securing a core group of friends. I seek a consistent and reliable relationship similar to the one I have with my friends from home in NY. Where the love is unconditional and even though we might not talk all the time, we continue to show up whenever we need each other.
Boulder has always been a fairly transient town. During my five years in Boulder, I had different groups of friends through work, business school, kickball, other friends, boyfriends, etc. and some friendships withered almost as quickly as they blossomed. At the same time, Boulder was filled with people that I knew and that knew me. Yet, as much as I felt alone, I also felt claustrophobic and it was time to try somewhere new.
I moved to Denver for numerous reasons but even after 18 months, the city feels relatively new and unfamiliar. Even though I like my new environment, I tend to feel something is missing. It might be caused by the relationship I have to the city overall.
Unsurprisingly, the one relationship that continues to show up time and time again is the relationship I have with my yoga community.
Over the years, I have practiced at almost every studio along the front range. I have taught at 8 yoga studios, 2 fitness clubs and 2 cross fit gyms. I have reached multiple audiences ranging from high school students to CU football players to corporate employees. I have studied with the best teachers, been inspired by my peers and learned immensely from my students.
My asana practice is consistent but not daily.
My mediation practice is spotty but improving.
And my sangha (community) practice might be the piece I value most.
I come to my mat to reflect, to let go of self criticism, to release fear, judgment and insecurity. I connect with those around me who come together in community for the same purpose. We greet one another with sincerity and love.
We practice for patience.
Most importantly, we are inclusive and welcome anybody and every body.
Last weekend, I attended the 5th anniversary of The Hanuman Festival. As an original member of the Hanuman team, I was happy to see the festival thrive. I took classes with festival all stars Kia Miller & Rod Stryker and festival newbies/yoga pioneers Rodney Yee & Colleen Saidman. I walked around the Vendor Village and caught up with fellow teachers, students, and some of the original team members and investors of the festival. It was truly wonderful to catch up with my peers, get deeper into my practice and just enjoy myself.
However, when I stepped onto the festival grounds, I immediately felt the energy of the “yoga scene.” The original intention of the festival was to highlight talented Boulder teachers and bring our community together to raise the vibration of our magical town. And it quickly became a who’s who of yoga teachers, or what I lovingly call “yogalebrities.”
To be fair, I love learning from yogalebrities and events like Hanuman, Wanderlust and Yoga Journal allow us the privilege to experience stellar classes without traveling too far. I always leave inspired and filled with knowledge so I will always be grateful for that.
Still, I started to practice yoga because it wasn’t about competition. It should be about my personal practice and how my actions on the mat positively impact my actions in the world. Yet, competition and envy amongst teachers and students continues to flourish.And my yoga community starts to feel more exclusive than inclusive.
So, as those bitter feelings started to arise over the weekend, I was reminded of advice from the Yoga Sutras. Through practice (abhyasa) and non-attachment (vairagya), we will stop identifying with certain thoughts or ways of being and find our truth.
This is Yoga. Bliss. Enlightenment.
Of course, this all seems easy to achieve in theory but hard to execute everyday because we are human, filled with flaws and expectations.
So, We must find the balance of practice and non-attachment.
I will stay on my path. I will honor my truth. I will continue to study and practice. I will appreciate the contributions in my life and my practice and learn to let go when it is time. Special thanks to my yoga community for reminding me of these lessons and staying on this path with me.
I humbly bow to each and everyone of you.