Monday, June 20, 2011

The loneliness of the long-distance yogini

It might surprise my friends to know that after all these years of doing yoga—nigh on 40 years—I don’t have a real community of yoga friends. I’ve got a few pre-existing friends, very few, who do yoga and with whom I very occasionally attend classes. But I’ve made only one or two friends through my yoga practice. Indeed, I’ve gone to classes for years without knowing the name of a single one of my sister students and without being sure that my instructor knew my name. In a way, this makes me lonely. Other’s sister would walk into her yoga studio in Amherst into what amounted to a sequential group hug. How nice! I thought when I went with her.

But I’m not sure I really, really want an intimate yoga community. I’m afraid it might lead to complications, like competitiveness or feeling overexposed or just distractedness. Although I usually practice yoga in the semipublic setting of a class, it’s an oddly private experience, like therapy or reading. And knowing the other class members too well—or at all—might be counterproductive.

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