The Creation of a Yoga Community

I have interesting disclosure habits.  I’ll tell anyone funny stories about my life, but I usually won’t share serious stuff (ok, I’ve been doing it more lately via blogging, but that’s like talking to myself) until I’m comfortable with someone.  And then, Katie bar the door, out it comes.  I have some friends, around whom I feel very comfortable, that I seem to always be spilling a major life issue (sorry folks – you know who you are).  But, one of those very friends was overheard a few years ago telling someone else that I’m “hard to get to know,” because of the aforementioned tendency to share the silly and not the serious.  I have family members who don’t know some rather large parts of my life, because I haven’t ever gotten to a place where I feel ok sharing the “deep/dark” with them.

This being the case, it’s been interesting to watch the changes in my own level of disclosure with my yoga teacher training classmates.  At first, I would happily (maybe overly happily) discuss the readings or yoga philosophy or my experiences in class.  A little later, and I was adding in more about my emotional reactions to the readings and my health challenges.  Recently, I find myself sharing more significant information (we haven’t reached that point where I barely seem to have a verbal governor at all and am apparently ready to bare my soul at the drop of a hat, but who knows).

In one way, I don’t love this, as the disclosure usually makes me feel anxious afterwards, when I’m worrying that I’ve said to much or created an uncomfortable environment for my peers.  But, in another way, I’m pretty stoked.  Clearly, for me, we have created a real community in our yoga teacher training class.  I feel close to my fellow students and like I can trust them – hence the disclosure.  I know that some of it is because talking about yoga philosophy tends to call for discussion and examination of self, but I also see that I could be picking much more “surface” issues to share, and the fact that I’m not says something about the culture of the group.

I could still stand to get over my worry about how I’m being judged, but as I said in my new years revolution post, that’s just an ongoing project for me.  But, that issue aside, this is a pretty cool/interesting phenomenon.  I’m not sure how it’s happening, exactly.  Maybe it’s something about the studio itself.  Maybe it’s this group of people.  Maybe it’s the intensity of being in the training program together.  Maybe it’s that we are all learning a new “language” of yoga/philosophy together and language creates community.  I don’t know (though as a communication studies scholar, I’m finding it all rather interesting), but it’s nifty in any case.

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