Field of Grace: Being a Sangha

In yoga, the word sangha refers to a community of yoga practitioners. Loosely translated, sangha means “truth company” or “being in the company of the wise.This concept originates in Buddhism where is it used to describe a community of ordained Buddhist monks or nuns. In the modern Western world, the term sangha describes any community of yoga practitioners who practice or study regularly together. As a sangha, members support one another as each person grows in their practice and understanding of yoga.

 

“Yoga is firstly for individual growth, but through individual growth, society and community develop.” 

~B.K.S. Iyengar

 

Author and yoga teacher, Tari Prinster, in her book, “Yoga for Cancer,” likens a sangha to “sharing a common field of grace.” Prinster points out that a sangha is a place where we find connection, support and acceptance. It needn’t be large; a sangha can consist of only two individuals. But there is a special energy of healing, acceptance, inquiry and belonging that comes from being in community. I recently saw a powerful example of this field of grace in our own community.

 

If you regularly follow the blog, you know that I recently wrote several posts on the topic of breast cancer. The information then became the basis for a series of themed yoga classes during the month of October.

At the end of one such class, I invited students to share their comments or questions. A student spoke up and shared that she’d just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She asked if anyone in the group would be willing to share their experience with her. Specifically, she was looking for recommendations of doctors and medical facilities, but also for an understanding of what lay ahead of her.

Without hesitation, several students volunteered. Before the day was over, they’d not only contacted her to share their experience, but also offered support and encouragement. It was a moment of great compassion and kindness. More significantly, it was an expression of the “field of grace” that is our small community of yoga practitioners.

 

We don’t heal in isolation, but in community.

~S. Kelley Harrell

 

As you may have noticed, I write a lot about community because it’s something I value highly. But no amount of teaching about community is as powerful as witnessing it in action. I’d like to think that is part of what makes Wisdom Tree Yoga different from most local yoga studios or gyms. Here you will find community, a “field of grace,” in which to practice yoga. Here you are invited to be vulnerable, to share your joys and struggles. Here you can grow and learn. Thanks for being part of this special sangha. Namaste.

 

Sending love and light,

Beverly

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