The last few weeks I’ve been waking early, excited by the prospect of an aquarobics session at the Old Bar pool.
Before I go any farther, I should let you know that I was born in Chicago and spent my formative my years in the desert town of Tucson, Arizona. As a consequence, I missed out on many things that Aussies take for granted–‘little nippers’, swimming carnivals and world class beaches. My swimming skills are still weak, even though I’ve lived on the eastern seaboard of Australia for 40 years. Moreover, I still get nervous when I try body surfing, and I’m not good at detecting riptides. So, finding an appealing pool activity in nearby Old Bar was felicitous.
I’ve come to anticipate seeing the group of women who show up for these weekday classes. Most have have participated in them for years. This is not a group of young’uns, so I fit right in. We are all interested in being in the fresh air, next to the sea and looking after our well-being. The atmosphere is happy and often contagiously hilarious. One woman the other day said, ‘I think some of us may have been onto the red cordial.’
But the main draw for me is the energy of this special Old Bar community that I’ve joined. I’ve been fortunate to be welcomed into a group who encourage each other, look out for each other and obviously love each other. Their dedication to have a laugh and a good time is palpable.
This little pool community reflects many of the values that yoga community represents for me. I believe and know from experience that connecting through community is the most health-promoting and fulfilling activity a person can cultivate.
This knowing has been my motivation for belonging to yoga associations, founding yoga schools, training teachers, teaching yoga and writing this blog.
There are so many ways for humans to connect. Last week, Byron Yoga teacher Rachel Zinmann featured as a guest writer on this blog. I wanted you to meet her and be inspired by her challenging health journey and by her aim to help those living with diabetes. Because of worldwide support, Rachel has now met the financial goal she set for publishing her book Yoga for Diabetes. Without the generosity of a global community, we all would have lost out on a valuable resource.
My friend Heather has written this week about another community, that is, our choir Wingsong in her ‘Shedders’ blog. She makes almost as good a case for singing as for practising yoga in terms of the multiple health benefits available.
The good thing is that practising yoga and singing in a choir and aquarobics are not mutually exclusive. Doing all regularly will undoubtedly triple your well-being and prospects for joy.
I like the sentiment of the quote below, too, that tells us that us that community involvement keeps us from ‘growing old inside’.
How does one keep from “growing old inside”? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people…. Taking community seriously not only gives us the companionship we need, it also relieves us of the notion that we are indispensable.
— Robert McAfee Brown, theologian and activist