Community by Shannon Potter

“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet, what is an ocean but a multitude of drops?” –Cloud Atlas David Mitchell

Communities would not be possible without the single droplets of individuals. Although, in the last decade with the rise of technology and social media, surveys have found people increasingly feel more like a single droplet that is not a part of an ocean. Engaging in communities, such as the yoga community, could be a relief for those struggling with loneliness.

In 2017, the former U.S. Surgeon General declared an epidemic of loneliness. The following year, the U.K. appointed a Minister of Loneliness so the rising number of lonely individuals can reach out to access information and resources to feel less lonely. As social media has gained popularity over the years, loneliness has grown in correlation. Could it be that observing others’ connections via social media contributes to the feeling of being alone? Although social media insinuates community, connections are rooted deeper than solely relying on surface connections through the screen. As we have broader access to lives across the world, our ocean expands to limitless ends, and we comparatively feel smaller and less significant. Without engagement in a community through the physical world, we feel shallow connections to life in general.

Research supports that involvement in communities contributes to a person’s physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Participation in a community can offer an extra sense of meaning and purpose to a person’s life through contribution and social interaction. When the feeling of fellowship with other lone souls occurs, that is community. Where we come together to share experiences and ideas, to challenge and be challenged, and to acknowledge one another. Communities give us the sense that we are not alone. Through even the smallest connection, we feel we are a part of something bigger. Engaging in communities in the physical world in addition to the online communities, we feel connected and supported. We embrace our small droplet and coincide with the view, energy, and presence of others to become a part of a communal body of water.

Drifting through the door at a yoga studio, a community is found. Where individuals come together for different reasons; whether it be to open the body, heal the heart, or calm the mind. Those differences create tides of energy felt through the room as individuals move, breathe, and find stillness together as a whole. Yoga itself is a tool to open and heal the body, heart, and mind. When practiced with others in the community, benefits can be felt tenfold. Involvement in the local yoga community can look like simply taking a class for the first time, following the teacher, and not knowing what to expect. It can also look like taking classes weekly, saying hello to a few familiar faces, and exploring poses you’ve come to know. Whether it’s the first class or the fiftieth, one may notice changes such as the  body and heart opening, the mind a bit more at ease, and possibly a feeling of belonging.

We invite you to be a part of our community at Inside Out Yoga in Downtown Winter Haven, Florida. We have all kinds of classes every day with a variety of teachers that could be suitable to your uniqueness. New students can enjoy unlimited classes for two weeks for twenty dollars. We invite you to open your heart to explore the mysteries of your internal world and embrace the vibrant ocean that surrounds you.

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