Kula (कुल) - Family or Yogic Community
Alone you are strong, together we are stronger. We belong – we are connected. Yoga involves community - the coming together of humans of all gender, backgrounds, shapes, sizes, ages and interests to share the same experience. In Sanskrit you call it Kula (कुल) - which also describes a tribe or family. Being part of a diverse and inclusive kula can help us to step beyond our small self – the self that feels separated, not good enough or judgmental. The vibration of positive-minded people raises our vibrational frequency - this shared joy elevates our spirits. Being part of a kula involves the sweet responsibility to remember and connect again and again with our higher self – the self which thinks, speaks and acts from a place of love, compassion, belonging and caring. This self is the source which enables us to nourish a community. We can generate great energy and empowerment for everyone. Through the connection with others, we can connect with ourselves.
In this way, the traditional idea of yoga as a personal and individual practice can be expanded to include more social aspects and experiences of connection with others as well as the self.
“Most of us need to be reminded that we are good, that we are lovable, that we belong. If we knew just how powerfully our thoughts, words, and actions affected the hearts of those around us, we'd reach out and join hands again and again. Our relationships have the potential to be a sacred refuge, a place of healing and awakening. With each person we meet, we can learn to look behind the mask and see the one who longs to love and be loved.” ~ Tara Brach
Sat-sangatve nissangatvam nissangatve nirmohatvam
Nirmohatve nishchala-tattvam nishchala-tattve jivanmuktih
Bhaja govindam bhaja govindam bhaja govindam mudha-mate
Good and virtuous company gives rise to non-attachment. From non-attachment comes freedom from delusion. With freedom from delusion, one feels the changeless reality. Experiencing that changeless reality, one attains liberation in this life. I-AM is the ocean of awareness. Realizing this, one feels, ‘I am not the body and mind, although I have a body and mind.’ Realize Govinda, realize Govinda in your heart, O wise one. ~
Translation by Shankaracharya
In which way can I contribute to uplift my community?
Place your hands on your heart and allow yourself to trust that you belong. Bring awareness to your feet - your connection to the ground. The ground which connects and holds all of us.
Practice on the mat:
Practice a sequence of asanas which support and hold each other. Practice a variety of different groups (twists, balances, forward folds, backbends). Practice with humility and acceptance towards each posture.
Try to let go of attachments or aversions towards certain asanas. Pay attention to your breath, to the rhythm of your breath - to the rhythm you create and share with the other yogis.
Practice off the mat:
By practicing healthy and kind connection with good intention, we can bring even greater impact and positive changes in to the world and a bigger community outside our yoga mats. Honoring and respecting the diversity of life. Lets meet with an open heart and a kind smile.
How to find your Kula:
Bring awareness - Find out in which community you want to live and who you want to be surrounded by.
Try something new - Give the unknown a chance in order to allow new connections to unfold.
Let go of judgement - Judgement holds us back to deeply connect with others and mostly judgement is simply a reflection of the dislikes of ourselves and a projection of inner unsatisfaction.
Be you - Let go of self doubt and allow yourself to be your authentic self.
Further reading & listening: