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 For a very long time we have been shuffled into labels, political camps, gender roles and various identifications with our roles in our families and/or careers.  This process of identification usually simultaneously results in a sense of separateness, which often leads to increasing feelings of isolation and disconnection. We are in a unique time at this moment, where the current season of fall lends itself to an increase in the inward energy of our physical bodies and psyche’s, which is being compounded with this year’s political intensity. This year’s election has exposed many cultural norms that, when brought to the surface, beg to be re-evaluated, questioned and contended with. This experience has been shining the light of awareness onto the shadow- the collective subconscious, as well as highlighting our fears.  We can feel further and further alienated form people, afraid to speak about the shadow or driven away from people we were once close to, when we realize we land on very opposite ends of a spectrum of beliefs and values.  On an extreme level, there is a felt sense of anger and violence threaded throughout this experience.

I believe (and love) Ayurveda’s perspective- look at the quality of an experience, when something is out of wack- bring in the opposite to bring healing and restore that balance. I have seen this work incredibly deeply, shifting and transforming people’s entire lives.  It strikes me as potent medicine for us now. To heal ourselves from this extreme division, distrust and disconnection which feels cold, hard and dark; we need to bring in the opposite qualities of softness, warmth and light through connection, compassion, courage.

I would like to offer the idea that at this very time we need our places of community where we gather to rest, to reflect, to find moments of peace.  These places serve as good medicine.  I am deeply inspired by all the beautiful, insightful and courageous people that create the community here at Grassroots Yoga.  These fellow explorers come together to weave through the constant state of flux, in and out of personal connection- together.

Strong social connection leads to a 50% increased chance of longevity.  Social connection strengthens our immune system, helps us recover from disease faster, and may even lengthen our life. People who feel more connected to others have lower rates of anxiety and depression. Moreover, studies show they have higher self-esteem, are more empathic to others, more trusting and cooperative and, consequently, others are more open to trusting and cooperating with them. Social connectedness therefore generates a positive feedback loop of social, emotional and physical well-being. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true for those who lack social connectedness. Low social connection has been generally associated with declines in physical and psychological health as well as a higher propensity to antisocial behavior that leads to further isolation.

“A deep sense of love and belonging is an irresistible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.” We are profoundly social creatures. We may think we want money, power, fame, beauty, eternal youth or a new car, but at the root of most of these desires is a need to belong, to be accepted, to connect with others, to be loved.”- Brene Brown, Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.

My hope is that when we feel our most fragile, our most dry, or most cold and lonely, we can come together, meeting on our mats to remember that we are not alone. That we have each other and that we can deeply and profoundly enjoy the healing and love that is shared when gather to share a yoga practice and walk in community, Together.

I’m counting on it ❤