In the early part of my life, I alternated between being a very good girl and a bit of a hell-raiser. I do have a few regrets, but I did manage to create some vivid memories along the way, as well as some great accomplishments.
I would say that the thing that tempered my tempestuous side was partly the discovery of yoga, but even more so becoming part of a wholesome community.
There has been a kind of evolution in my involvement with various communities. One of them was Werner Erhard and Associates and the Landmark Forum, and concurrently with those programs, the B.K.S. Iyengar teachers’ community, of which I was one. In the nineties I participated in the Human Awareness Institute workshops, with which I still keep an appreciative connection. The support of the HAI community is integral to learning and growing within the context of these workshops.
Along the way, I began fostering my own yoga communities in conjunction with the two Sydney yoga centres I owned. It was terribly hard for me to leave these people when we moved to the country three years ago.
Here on Mitchells Island, on the mid-north coast of NSW, I’ve found some beautiful groups to join, one of them our community choir – Wingsong. And, I’ve grown a yoga community right in our own backyard – The Yoga Shed.
I believe that being part of a healthy community is vital if you want to get on in your life. Why? Because when you are down, there will be others who can help bear you up. Then, at some point, you will pay it forward and reap the special benefits that come from giving and serving.
The right community will challenge you and help you get your mind and heart straight. In such a group, you are part of something that’s bigger than yourself and the connections in the group are there to remind you that there is something called the greater good. The possibilities of community are endless but might include inspiration, motivation, camaraderie, caring, and, because groups can be confronting and provocative, a gentle polishing of the rough diamonds that some of us are.
Like a sculptor who chisels away at the parts of his marble that are not the statue he knows is there, community,when it works, can bring out the best in all of us.
Tadasankhyeyavasanabhiscitramapi parartham samhatyakaritvat
Even though the mind has accumulated various impressions of different types it is always at the disposal of the Perceiver. This is because the mind cannot function without the power of the Perceiver.*
*Patanjali’s Yogasutras, translation and commentary by T.K.V. Desikachar.