We are members of a body, not only when we choose to be, but in our whole existence. Every member serves the whole body, either to its health or its destruction. This is no mere theory; it is a spiritual reality. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
For better or worse it is difficult to be anonymous in my yoga classes. The class itself is just not so big that you can go unnoticed. I promise not to talk to you personally throughout the class, but I do want to know your name and I want you to know the people around you. The benefit of practicing yoga in a class is more than just a “live” teacher in front of you, instead of on the t.v. or computer screen. The bigger benefit, I hope, is the community you are practicing with. Each class forms it’s own little “sangha” or practicing community. Sangha has been the meditation mantra of the month for July but I just recently found the quote I have been searching for to talk about the significance of community. I love the above quote by Dietrich Bonhoeffer because it speaks to that crazy truth that your presence will always make a difference in a community. Even the choice or effort to be anonymous has an effect on the community. I have wanted to be anonymous in many yoga classes over the years. In my (oh so clever and self-aware) mind I think it’s because I want to be left alone, as if there’s a huge risk of a stranger talking my ear off and getting all up in my business during the middle of a yoga class?! I assume a cloak of invisibility and think that my presence has no effect…I can just slip in and out. But, in effect I am rejecting everyone, maybe even the teacher, in an attempt to be anonymous. I want to be there – but I don’t want all of you people there, so I will ignore you. To be clear, I primarily do this when I am feeling most insecure, most lonely, most intimidated, and most afraid.
I say that Daily Bread Yoga is community of people who practice yoga together. I don’t call it Rachel Yoga because you are getting a whole lot more than just me for your $5 bargain-basement yoga class. These days there are only a few people who came to yoga because of me. The grand majority of people have come to Daily Bread Yoga because their friend, neighbor, or sister in-law comes. I’m not trying to diminish the significance of my teaching when I say, if it was all about me I don’t think people would keep coming like they do. They keep coming because of the supportive, humble, and light-hearted people they have come to know in some strange way in the sangha, the community of people in which they practice yoga. AND if we all “let” you be anonymous, I don’t think you would come back either. I never really want to be anonymous. I want someone to ask me my name and tell me theirs. Despite the smug look on my face, I really need someone to acknowledge me, smile, and make a connection – even if it is about the weather.
If you are part of the Daily Bread Yoga Sangha, know that I am so grateful for the ways that you humbly and consistently connect with each other and with new people. YOU are what makes Daily Bread Yoga a wonderful community to practice yoga with regardless of the physical space we are in. Daily Bread Yoga is a community, not a yoga studio with beautiful hard wood floors, mood lighting, or majestic paintings on the wall. We “just” have each other – the sangha. And in that way we most definitely have a beautiful and majestic space to practice yoga. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Blessed is she who is alone in the strength of the fellowship and blessed is she who keeps the fellowship in the strength of aloneness. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
***my class & retreat schedule is up to date on this site. Please check it out! If you are interested in doing private sessions or have me lead a Saturday Morning Retreat in your community, please contact me as soon as possible so we can get the date set! I hope to see you soon.
Peace on your head,