In many communities around the country, people are getting together for an evening of, well, community. Stores stay open later, there’s live music in the streets, restaurants offer samples, art displays are everywhere, and unusual activities pop up on the streets. It’s called First Friday. Once a month, the focus of the evening downtown is on bringing people together. And it really works.
In one small town, the favorite coffee shop offered not only samples of their coffees, but had a yoga class inside. So many passersby joined in that it spilled out onto the sidewalk! Even the steel drum band on the next block couldn’t compete! In a setting of informality, with everyone trying it, regardless of skill or fitness level, people who may have never braved a yoga class we’re joining their neighbors in a fun, social, and even comical practice at dusk in this small town.
That’s what yoga does – it brings people together, and not just physically, either. You can bet there were Republicans and Democrats, Catholics and atheists, African American and Caucasian people in Downward Dog…together. They had something in common, even if it was just for a brief moment. But that’s all it takes to sow a seed of connectedness.
For all the division being created by misunderstandings about yoga in the news, yoga itself can clear up the misinformation and work for everyone. Imagine if everyone who opposed the practice of yoga in schools actually took a yoga class. They’d connect to their own breath, they’d get a good workout, and they’d enjoy the community of those around them. Chances are at the end of the session, they’d feel great physically, too!
Ignorance if often the root of fear and intolerance. Let’s get everyone in our communities to try it out in a non-threatening way, like a First Friday or some other community-wide social event so they can experience the true nature of yoga: unity.