When I first started my yoga practice, it couldn´t have been a more solitary one: it was just me, a cheap old yoga mat and beginner YouTube yoga videos. I was enjoying the time I spent on the mat, but I was not crazy about it. Plus I did not have much motivation to get on the mat in the first place and take my practice beyond the basic asanas as well as off the mat. I did not go to a yoga studio, but I did try some yoga classes at the gym I was a member of – not a good motivator for me either, as there was no sense of community and I was not really enjoying the teacher´s approach to the practice. I would have tried going to a yoga studio, had I not been 16 at the time (and there is only so much a 16-year-old´s budget can handle).
That was when I first discovered the Instagram yoga community. Sounds like an unexpected pairing, right? Yoga and Instagram. Well, I thought the same; yoga people are so zen and spiritual, and Instagram is… well, Instagram. But it turns out, it’s not all just butts and the Kardashians. There are some wonderful, inspiring and real people on there – and it gave me some of my best friends – ones I would take a plane or train to another country for, just to see them.
Besides having several couches to crash on in many different countries around the world, this yoga on Instagram discovery also made my yoga practice bloom. Having yogi friends can change so much about your practice – even if you do go to yoga classes with a professional teacher. And the best thing is, we can all build a community of like-minded yogis around ourselves, whether that is online, or in person.
There is this thing about the human nature: we are meant to group in communities; we do best when we lift each other up and grow together. If all of us were just rooting for ourselves and nobody else in the world, what would become of the planet? Humans, including introverts (even though they usually don´t crave as much human contact as extroverts and some may never admit it anyways) are social creatures. Having friends who share your interest, whether that be yoga, colouring or music, not only makes a good topic to talk about, but it helps your hobby spread into more areas of your life and gives you the feeling that you have a partner in crime when it comes to your yoga practice. And at the very least, it gives you someone who can spot you when you first attempt headstands.
But this kind of community doesn’t only exist online – there are so many ways to socialize with yogis in your local area, though they may be more enjoyable for the extroverts out there. If you are a student, then join or start a yoga club at your school or university. Not a student? Maybe you can organize a yogi meetup at your favourite park and practice together. Or just grab a coffee with a person or two in your yoga class – even the small things count.
Having the sense of community gives your practice a whole new dimension and makes you grow in so many new ways, so go out there and make yogi friends.
Lucie is a Czech-born 20 year-old living in England; student at day, and yoga lover and pop pilates instructor in the afternoons. She is a optimist for life and a people-person who believes that yoga can be as much of a social experience as anything else. Follow her on Instagram @LuceWithLove to get inspired and take part in the many yoga challenges she organises.