The Yoga Path • Omaha, NE

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{ Practicing Physical, Mental & Spiritual Health }

Salt of the Path

Assignment at the bottom of this page

One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about teaching at the Yoga Path, is the community that has formed around it. People of various backgrounds show up for different reasons to take a yoga class. There is usually a tumult of chatter while students set out mats and gather props. When someone shows up for the first time, I don’t worry much about trying to make them comfortable, because I know veteran students will welcome them, show them how to set up, and make them feel at home. Sometimes I worry about the introverts (this practice seems to draw the introverts) who possibly might be overwhelmed by the overtures, thus pulling them away from their comfortable nest of anonymity. Yet this welcoming, inviting atmosphere prevails through the entire class and is consistent in every class.

While I was fortunate to come from such an environment in my training with Margaret Hahn at the Omaha Yoga School, this is not, to my experience, typical of most yoga schools. Usually in other spaces, one is consigned to the space of your mat. Those who know one another huddle up at the beginning of class and head out after for chai and tea. I don’t mean to sound critical of other schools, but the culture at the Path is something altogether unique.

We never set out to create this atmosphere. In fact if I had tried to do it, when starting the Path, I wouldn’t have had the foggiest notion of how to begin. Or to even have envisioned what it could look like. Yet somehow it evolved into a community beyond all expectations. Maybe it’s the narrow confined hallway of a studio where we practice. Maybe it’s the tea we share after the asanā practice to discuss some aspect of yogic philosophy. Maybe it’s because many students are literally family members who bring other friends and family to this practice.

In Buddhism there is the word sangha. The easy translation is community, but this doesn’t quite capture the essence of the term. Thich Nhat Hanh describes a sangha as a community of friends practicing the dharma (teachings) together in order to bring about and to maintain awareness. But also I’ve slowly learned that collectively we augment our practice in a way that we could never do alone.

Another way to look at it come from the New Testament, Matthew 5:13: “Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt hath lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted?” In this passage, Jesus describes his followers as salt. Food needs salt in order to be tasty. Life needs flavor to foster understanding, compassion and harmony. That’s why we come together in community.

ASSIGNMENT: In this time of distancing, where we need to be physically apart, I’ve enclosed this video. It reminds me of the Yoga Path sangha. Your assignment is to take six minutes and watch it, and know that you are part of this community.

Filed under: Education, Virtual Yoga, ,

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