yoga friendship shared values|yogi surprise

The Yoga Friendship: How Many of Us Have Met Our Closest Friends Via Yoga?

I'm so inspired by the idea of yoga friendship I actually wrote a novel based on that concept. Yoga studios are a unique place and they practically beg us to connect with others. In the novel, Yoga Trainthe main characters, Devon and Ruby, meet at the yoga studio. Devon has been wanting to approach Ruby and she finally does. As she puts her mat down next to Ruby's, she looks up at Devon and says, "Hi. I like your purple eye-liner." And that was that.

The yoga friendship begins with common ground and a shared experience

Seems like a damn good place to start building a relationship. Yoga becomes the way we live our lives. We all want to connect with other like-minded folks who care about their minds, bodies, and how they affect and influence the world around them. Self-awareness is a key component in the development of a yoga practice. Automatically, we want to form relationships with others who value that too.

We yogis get extremely passionate. A fire starts and it doesn't burn out. We form a much more honest relationship with ourselves and we take that with us out of the studio and into every aspect of our lives. It's big. It becomes who we are and we love sharing that with others.

Yoga friendships often become the core of our support system

It's all about what happens after practice that really offers us a community and genuine friendship. We connect during practice. It gives us something to talk about and bond over. It often leads to making plans after practice. A yoga date is quite common. Some of us even meet our significant others through yoga. It's a special and wonderful thing to share. Conversations become richer and there's a willingness to grow and do that with the support of one another.

I recently had a group of friends over to practice and have a potluck. Everyone asked about each other's dietary restrictions to ensure they were being mindful about each individual's needs. We practiced, helped each other with postures, cackled and cheered one another one. We had music, candles, incense, and essential oils. One yogi had recently finished a singing bowl training and she played for us. Another participant sang in her sultry, ethereal voice to bring us out of Savasana. It was one of the best practices I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy because it was such a team effort. Everyone had something truly special to offer.

Connection is everything

The dinner was incredible and everyone helped clean up. We shared epiphanies and asked questions. I don't think there was a negative comment or complaint the entire night. It was downright awesome and I can't wait to do it again. We already have a date set. How have your yoga friendships enriched your life?


Balance

Ayurveda tells us that autumn is a vata season. Its dry, windy, rough, cool, and unpredictable qualities can leave you feeling physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually imbalanced if excess vata is not tamed.

To balance vata, look toward cultivating the following practices in your life. Doing so will help make the seasonal transition not only easier but more enjoyable as you continue to grow yourself in the dark and quiet months leading up to winter.

Stress Relief

Now is the time to take a step back and be honest about what’s stressing you out. Whether it’s a bad habit you’ve developed or an excessive amount of responsibilities keeping you busy, you have to put your well-being first if you want to resolve it. This might involve taking more time for yourself, replacing a bad habit with a healthier one, making an effort to get enough sleep every night, or even making it more of a priority to indulge in therapeutic practices (such as yoga and meditation).

Warmth

As the temperature continues to drop, your body will begin to crave more warmth. By warming up the body, you essentially help ward off many unwanted effects of excess vata—including bloating and constipation, dry or chapped skin, and difficulty tolerating cold and wind. Build heat with sun salutations in your practice, take warm baths, give yourself a soothing self-massage, enjoy spices in your meals, and eat cooked rather than raw foods. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to cuddle with your pet, spouse/partner, kids, or anyone else with a warm body!

Nourishment

Nourishment goes hand in hand with both stress relief and warmth. Take good care of your body by keeping your skin moisturized, your mind calm, and your body well fed. Favour foods that are higher in fat and protein, giving preference to sweet, sour, and salty tastes. You can also add a generous amount of oily foods to your diet as long as they’re of high-quality. Think olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil, and ghee.

Relationships

When vata becomes imbalanced, you may find yourself suffering from mental and emotional states like nervousness, anxiety, fear, restless thinking, and scattered feelings. In addition to meditating on these feelings, be sure to keep close friends and family members near. Knowing that you are loved and connected to others during the colder seasons can help pacify negative thoughts and feelings when they have a tendency to get out of hand.

Groundedness

Last but not least, establishing a sense of groundedness to the the Earth and the present moment will help you stay balanced as you work on letting go of what no longer serves you while embracing what is. Try to get in a good routine with your daily habits (meals, exercise, bedtime) and engage in healthy practices that encourage you to turn inward. Here are a few one-minute grounding techniques you can use this October and beyond as you quietly work on discovering more about yourself and prepare to grow even further into the new you.