During President’s Day weekend, while Crofton Yoga was hosting the Advanced Pranayama program, I stopped by to have lunch with former studio teachers and PK friends. Luckily for me I was able to catch-up with at least eight students during the lunch break. Some of the participants were repeat attendees whom I hadn’t seen in years, others I have had email exchanges with, but never met in person. It was a lively lunch on day four of the program — everyone “fully alive” on prana. I left that day feeling as if I had received an energy boost and reminded of why I have been working so hard this past year for Pranakriya (PK).
For me, the essence of community is not the work the group does together, but the the connections and friendships generated from the work. In 2006, Shelbi Miles, Jacci Gruninger and I bought a small studio in Severna Park, MD which we named Park Yoga, and for eighteen months we worked together to build a community of yogis in that area. When Jacci moved west and Shelbi and I bought Crofton Yoga, we sold the studio, but never lost the essence of community which we started. In the thirteen years of studio-ownership that followed, each student, teacher, and trainer became an integral part of my PK community.
Recently, David Brooks, wrote in The Atlantic about extended family: “Extended families have two great strengths. The first is resilience. …The second great strength of extended families is their socializing force.” These struck me as two great strengths of community as well. (In fact, isn’t family a community after all?) Without the ability to bend and flex with whatever new challenge the group faces and to lean on the extended members of the group for support, we may find ourselves lost. It is this knowledge that has always drawn me back to Pranakriya programming. As an organization, we have shown resilience over the years because of the socializing force that the community offers. Yes, I love the teachings and I feel well prepared as a teacher and trainer, but the people are the greater source of joy for me.
During that lunch on President’s Day weekend, I connected with a blog writer, two former students, someone who wants to help with our website update, another who did some program transcribing, a third who helped analyze the PKTA surveys, and a few teachers and staff members who worked for Shelbi and I at Crofton Yoga. While we ate, the conversation topics included upcoming programming, teaching styles, personal travel, bungee jumping, new jobs, prana, children, spouses and food. It was lively and fulfilling and left me feeling recharged and excited to keep working for the PK community.
I invite you to lean into the Pranakriya Community and enjoy these relationships. Thanks for being a part of mine.