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yoga, and the importance of community

April 27, 2011
Bike Ride to Yoga Class Bike Ride to Yoga Class

As I mentioned before, I’ve started attending prenatal yoga classes. These classes have been amazing and not even so much for the yoga as for the community and companionship I’ve found through them. It’s like prenatal yoga with a side of therapy every Saturday morning.

We’re a small-ish group of anywhere from five to ten women, all pregnant, and with a wonderful yoga instructor leading the pack. The class meets for an hour and a half and the first 20 minutes are always inevitably spent talking. We share our ups and downs, our news, our thoughts on being pregnant and giving birth, and anything else that comes up. We then do a good hour of yoga (usually modified moves with blocks, a chair, straps, blankets, etc). Then, we retire to the coffee shop next door for lunch, tea, and more conversation. By the time I leave for home, I feel like I’ve just gotten to voice all of my week’s pregnancy news and concerns, received a bunch of tips and advice, and heard from others going through the same thing as me about how they’re doing it. Like I said, prenatal yoga with a side of therapy.

So I’m really excited to have found this amazing group of women and to have a community of new friends on the same ‘adventure’ as me right now. It’s made me think of how important community is to one’s well being and happiness. It’s why I love running with friends and why I searched for a community of cyclists when taking up bike commuting. When I didn’t find that community in my own town, I looked for it and found it online. It’s also why I decided to start this blog; as a way to add my voice to that community.

I tend to think of myself as a solitary person because I grew up an only child and because I can happily spend hours reading, writing, taking walks, and doing things without others. I’ve also traveled quite a bit on my own, and not only do I not mind going to movies by myself, sometimes I quite prefer it. And when it comes to sports, I’ve never been a team player. Team sports intimidate me. There is too much pressure on not letting others down and too much focus on what everyone else is doing. That’s why I instantly took to running when I started it: it was something I could do by myself and with no other measurement of success than my own PRs, distances recorded, and improvements made. Running, and even racing, is not about competing with other runners, it’s about competing with yourself.

Well, despite my conviction that I like solitary sports and that I fare fine on my own, I’m constantly reminded of how important and valuable community is. I’m reminded of this when I find a wonderful running partner or when I come across a great group of like-minded people. And it just drives home the old cliche that ‘no (wo)man is an island’.

Does community play a role in the things you love in life? Do you consider yourself a part of a community based on common interests and pursuits?

Also, on a related note, this past weekend, I had the double pleasure of attending my yoga class and biking to it. The weather was perfectly suited for a bike ride there; mild temperatures, not too warm, but very sunny. I strapped my yoga mat to my back and rode Bee downtown to the yoga center. It’s about a 4 mile ride from my house to the center, so all in all, a good workout. (And if Dottie can bike to her guitar lessons with a huge instrument strapped to her back, and if Adrienne can carry found furniture home on her bike, then I can certainly carry a yoga mat around while cycling). The beauty of this particular mat is that it came with this super handy strap, which allows me to wear it like a messanger bag. A quick search revealed that you can buy these yoga mat straps for less than $4 on Amazon! So if you’re looking to combine your yoga class with a bike ride there but don’t know how to best carry your mat, treat yourself to one of these handy carriers! Happy cycling!

Cycling to Yoga Sunny Saturday Panda
14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2011 06:38

    I relate to a lot of what you say about being fine with doing things alone and much of the time preferring it. But the bicycle community has always been good to me – whether it has been H’s racing teams, my cycling blogging community, or my new bikish business friends. Like minded people have a way of instantly looking out for one another, relating, and comforting. It is easy to be alone in good times, but in difficult ones the support of a community can be a wonderful thing. Community does not come easy to me, but I am trying and seeing the rewards! Nicely said…

  2. April 27, 2011 08:29

    I can certainly relate to your setiments about being fine in spending solitary time. But I also enjoy those moments when I participate in community events. I’m currently involved in a 90 day team event called Huffin and Puffin all the way to Israel. To get to Israel the team has to track their mileage on a daily basis and are encouraged to try new forms of excercise and move more. At the end of each week the team members have to pass in their excercise steps / milage. Of course I’ve scheduled bike riding events for all of us to participate in to capture more miles. Some of the women are so excited about it because of the social aspect of it. Some told me they have not been on a bike for years. This is the part I’m going to enjoy. Getting people on bikes again.

    • April 27, 2011 15:34

      Sue, that sounds like a great organization/event! Way to spread the cycling love!

  3. April 27, 2011 13:00

    That’s great that you found a nice community of women who do yoga and are preggers! I think community is really important for everyone. I noticed throughout college and now working at the university that the students who didn’t find a community, connect to people in the dorms, join a club, etc. often are the ones who decide to transfer or don’t have a great experience at college. Just something I’ve noticed.

    Community has always been really important to me as I grew up playing sports and always had family around, including two younger brothers. My current community and most of my friends here in Eugene are all runners, which is great. I can get my workout in without feeling guilty that I am missing my friends. I get to do both!

    Also, I too have recently been doing more yoga. As much as I want the adrenaline rush that comes with running, I also find that my body needs a little restorative, quiet time.

  4. April 27, 2011 15:57

    I love that you’re an only child too! We are a community of “Good” only children. Some of them are rotten!

  5. Liz H. permalink
    April 27, 2011 18:26

    Hi S.!
    I’m so glad to peek in on your biking community.
    I found your blog at the perfect time: I have been increasingly fatigued and lethargic. I finally went to the doctor and discovered that I have very low levels of Vitamin D.
    A week into prescription-strength supplements, and I am a new woman! The vitamins + good biking weather (finally!) = a renewed love of biking.
    I got a bike at the end of last summer, and didn’t get much chance to ride before packing it up for the winter.
    In the past week I’ve gone to the grocery store twice, installed rear folding baskets on my bike (for grocery trips), and biked to the local university to visit my husband in the evening. I find that I enjoy the bike as transportation much more than just riding for exercise.
    Your blog has inspired me in the last week, and I hope it will continue to inspire me! It feels so good to be active and healthy again!!

    • April 29, 2011 10:00

      Thanks, Liz, for the kind words! And glad to hear that you figured out what was making you lethargic and are on the road to feeling better! Good luck with the cycling, hope it brings you much joy!


  6. April 28, 2011 13:19

    I completely relate to feeling confident doing solitary activities. I’m looking to move next month, and in the zaniness of NYC, I am desperate for community. Most of the neighborhoods I’m looking at have a large community base. Maybe it’s the suburban girl in me, but I miss at least knowing my neighbors’ names.

  7. Janifer Anderson permalink
    April 29, 2011 23:33

    I am Janifer Anderson.
    I have found your site not so long ago, but try to read every new article as i see your
    site as one of those interesting places online (it’s not such an usual case nowadays).
    This week i had an interesting discussion about ( with my colleagues and i’m
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  8. April 30, 2011 23:08

    S, you look so adorable on your way to yoga! I think it is great that you are taking prenatal yoga for the breathing, the flexibility, the toning and of course – you found a wonderful added benefit – woman to bond with, community. I can relate to your personality in so many ways, though I am not an only child. And while I can spend days with myself (it’s rare that it happens) and never be bored, I feel strongly that woman need a sense of community very much so. Anyhow – so glad you have it, and you’ve helped me have a cycle community through your blog! Cyberhugs!

  9. November 30, 2011 02:16

    Will surely recommend this site to some friends! Very interesting site and articles. Really thankful for sharing. Regards,


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