Why C(OM)MUNITY? / by Anita Cheung

The idea behind C(OM)MUNITY came about during my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. Here I was, breathing, sweating, and practicing with a group of strangers a few days a week for over two and a half months. Over the course of the three months, these strangers soon became good friends and I found myself connecting closely with a small tribe of girls with whom I truly let my guard down. We would talk about anything and everything from deep seeded trust issues we had with men to the best hummus recipe. It was like we had been friends for years, despite the age differences in the group and the differing interests and careers. I'm not sure what it was, but I attribute much of the connection to the environment. At the same time that we were learning about yoga beliefs and philosophies, we were becoming better, more compassionate, versions of ourselves. Being connected by yoga allowed us to be vulnerable and authentic. 

Fast forward to present day where I've taught enough classes and attended enough classes to know that this special environment doesn't come around often. Our schedules often have us hopping from one studio to the next and although we have favourite teachers we may follow, we don't ever really get the chance to get to know the people we practice with. Sure, we recognize faces...sometimes.. but that's about it. The concept of individuality- what makes us different and unique- is one that is emphasized throughout our life. We strive to be unique and in doing so, we often forget how similar we are to others, despite our differing skillsets, experiences, upbringing, and opinions. Asides from those few-and-far-between moments of "Omm-ing" at the end of a yoga class, we slip into the mindset of "me" rather than "we", and we forget how connected we are to the world around us. Even worse, we forget how crucial these connections are.

Human beings are social animals and most people yearn to be close to each other; however social norms make it too costly to express those feelings. Through C(OM)MUNITY, I wanted to be able to offer and hold a space for true dialogue and connections. 

Extra food for thought:
This recent New York Times article (link) discusses the difficulty in meeting and maintaining new friendships after a certain age (note: usually after college). It reminds us of the three conditions that sociologists believe are essential to making close friends. 

1. Proximity (Vancouver is about 115 square kilometres- which really isn't much.)
2. Repeated (preferably unplanned) interactions  (weekly practices) 
3. A setting that encourages people to let their guard down (hello yoga!) 

How does C(OM)MUNITY work?
What will a typical class look like?
But I already have friends- what's in it for me? 
When and where can I sign up? 

If you are curious and would like to learn more about C(OM)MUNITY, check out the site here or shoot me an email at anita_cheung@live.ca 



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