Living in Gratitude

This past weekend was my last yoga weekend in Duluth. We have one more weekend together, down in the Cities at the Minneapolis Yoga Conference, and then we can enter the world as certified teachers.

There was a strong sense of finality throughout the weekend as we recognized that this our last time together in the space we’ve shared now for five months. At the end of class on Sunday, we each went around saying some words that described how we were feeling. One classmate said “a sense of loss”. Studying yoga is such an interesting thing because the philosophies teach you to be unattached both to worldly possessions and desires. Appreciating the community we’ve built around one another in class without feeling attachment to that connection is so incredibly difficult.

I’ve felt that sense of loss this past weekend. This community has been the strongest one I’ve ever been a part of. I keep thinking back to past communities and how uncertain I ever felt about my place within a group. There was never a sense of comfort in large numbers and my insecurities to be liked would boil up, disconnecting me from living in the present and playing an active role in my relationships. A classmate and I talked about this the other day, that this is the only group either of us have been a part of before that we don’t feel like people are talking poorly of others within our class or harboring negative feelings towards one another. It’s left one of the strongest senses of security and support I’ve ever experienced.

When I left class yesterday I couldn’t help but cry over the idea of not being in community with my classmates each month. I started to think about an ethical yoga guideline we’ve discussed called Brahmacharya. Brahmacharya is a guideline from the Yamas that discusses the importance of living in nonexcess. When we first learned about the philosophy, it discussed the nature of the Divine. I had a hard time disconnecting from this idea of Divinity meaning God. I wasn’t raised in a religious household, and my education in religion has helped me see validity in all belief systems and not just one. I don’t believe in God in the same way Christians might, and I couldn’t connect to this idea of trying to see Divinity in everything as seeing God in all.

Once I was able to separate Divinity and God, I drew a new understanding for myself. Brahmacharya isn’t asking me to see God in all, but to see a divine nature in all things. When confronted with people I struggle with, or a task I don’t want to do, I need to see the divine nature within these things so that I can live in a world of nonattachment. On the other side of that, when confronted with things I love, I cannot live in an over abundance of these things, attaching myself to the feeling I receive from these objects and people and growing discontent when I cannot have them.

When it comes to that sense of community established in my teacher training program, I’m learning to be okay with not living in excess of this connection. Inevitably, life changes and adaptations must be made. If I stay attached to having this in my life at all times, the moments it’s not available I’ll become disconnected from the present moment. And, if nothing else, I can relish in the gratitude and appreciation I feel for the experiences we’ve had together and the knowledge of what a strong connection is so that I can continue to bring those practices with me into every new relationship I establish.




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