The Yogic Union of Besties
Deepen your practice and friendship this year
By Jessie Lucier
The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yui, means to yoke or bind. You may have also heard yoga teachers translate yoga as “union”—the harmonizing of energetic polarities, the integration of mind-body-spirit, and the bringing together of all into one.
In the spirit of “yoking,” when I think of yoga, I think of connection. I think of the connection I have with my mat, studio, practice, yoga community and the bigger, broader world. I also think about the connections I have made through the practice—to the teachers I learn from, the affinity I feel toward a certain studio and to the dedicated, compassionate yogis and yoginis with whom I have formed friendships along this yoga journey.
We all have a yoga bestie who saves us a spot in the studio when we’re running late, who motivates us to meet for yoga on days when we’re “too busy” or would rather stay under the covers and hide, and with who we laugh, learn and grow. In the midst of political, social and often internal uncertainty, we need our mats, communities and best friends more than ever. It’s through these connections we get to breathe, thrive, stay present and continually make space for what’s to come. And, it’s a gift to have someone with whom to travel the yoga path. If you’re looking to deepen your practice this year, what better (and more fun) way to do it than with a friend? Here are a few ways you and your yoga bestie can deepen your yoga practice and nourish your friendship together.
Hold each other accountable.
Life is busy, and self-care can get tossed aside as we deal with the challenges and surprises that come up on any given day. While daily life is dynamic, the universe runs on routines—imagine what would happen if the Sun didn’t rise or set even on just one day. Creating a routine and scheduling to meet a friend for yoga makes it harder to skip out. And, when life becomes chaotic and one of you falls out of practice, make a commitment to help each other back to the mat.
Practice Seva together.
Seva, also known as selfless service or work performed with any thought of reward or repayment, was believed in ancient India to help one’s spiritual growth and at the same time contribute to the improvement of a community. Through the practice of Seva, even small things, such as reading to a child or picking up trash from the ground, can brighten the world around us. You may want to take the practice to another level and volunteer in your community. Research nonprofits in your area, decide how you could best be of service and make a “blessed action” agreement with your yoga bestie about how you’ll practice Seva this year.
Join a mindfulness-based book club.
There is a wealth of great literature that dives into the depths of the mind-body-spirit connection and the principles of yoga. Yoga book clubs are popping up in studios all over the country and are a great way to finally read those texts that have been collecting dust on your book shelf or that you keep hearing people rave about and have promised yourself to read. They’re also a great way to meet new people and develop relationships with the yogis you’ve been in class with a hundred times but haven’t ever really spoken with. And, joining a book club with your friend helps keep you both accountable to getting the reading done and gives you someone you’re close with to share what comes up for you as you’re swirling around in the ideas, philosophies and richness that the reading may provoke. If there are no yoga book clubs in your area, find one online and enroll together.
Attend a yoga festival together.
Yoga festivals are an excellent way to deepen your practice, practice with prominent teachers, connect to the broader yoga community and have a lot of fun. Set in beautiful Boulder June 15 through June 18, Hanuman, Colorado’s largest yoga festival this year, brings together world-class instructors, amazing music, inspirational experiences and the yoga community to the base of the Rocky Mountains. In the spirit of celebrating friendship, Hanuman Festival is offering a bring a friend discount from March 19 through March 26. Register together during this time and you’ll both receive $50 off your 3-day passes. Get your 2017 Hanuman Festival tickets at http://www.hanumanfestival.com/tickets.
Jessie Lucier, MA is a journalist and author with a sustainability and wellness focus, mother, yogi and mindfulness practitioner living, laughing and loving in Boulder, CO. Jessie writes about yoga, environmental issues, mindfulness meditation, psychology, sexuality, spirituality and healthy living for national magazines and websites. She is currently ghost writing books about spirituality and mindful creativity and co-authoring a book on yoga and sexuality.