Finding Community In Yoga
Guest Blog by Perfect Day Athleisure (PDA)
PDA is a friend and partner to Joriki, sharing a similar mission to give back. At PDA, the clothing inspires a warrior & jet-setting lifestyle, and PDA proudly donates 5% of sales from each Garment to Chicago Children’s Charities and Shine Trust, London.
Human to human contact is a primal need, whether the contact is touch, basic communication, or just coming together out of a shared interest. Knowing one person or a group of people who support you is reassuring, buildings confidence, and creates a sense of community. That is what I found in yoga. And that is why I yoga (amongst many other reasons!).
Moving to London from Chicago forced me out of my little community at home, a community I’ve been blessed with since I was born. My family unit at home is strong, with many aunts, uncles, and cousins to keep me occupied as an only-child. At the age of five, I found my very best friends who I am extremely fortunate to still have in my life at the age of 32. Needless to say, saying goodbye, even for a wonderful opportunity, such as moving abroad, was difficult.
What was even more difficult than saying goodbye was building new friendships. No one tells you how to make friends as an adult. It’s not as simple as saying “Can I borrow your crayon?” or “I like your Little Mermaid shoes!” or playing “house” on the playground—all things I said to my now life-long besties, but are not appropriate to say as an adult trying to make friends (#adultingproblems, right?).
To make friends in London, I tried it all:
- Joined various women’s groups (aka I paid to try to make friends), only to find that we had very little in common
- Went on numerous blind dates with a friend’s friend (or a friend’s friend’s friend!), some of which went well, but they are just as awkward as a first date, and you are left wondering “Will I hear from them again” or “When is the right time to text/call them?”
- Sat in a cafe, trying to awkwardly smile and start a conversation with the random next to me. Trying to “pick up” friends at a coffee shop may be worse than a blind date.
While some of the above was successful, most weren’t, and it left me questioning myself: Is something wrong with me? Why can’t I make friends? Do I have any weird habits or tendencies? Who am I supposed to talk to while my husband is at work all day?
Lonely. Demotivated. Embarrassed. Frustrated. Lonely (did I say that already?). I decided to try my hand at yoga. Now, let me first say that I wasn’t a fan of yoga before moving to London. I assumed I was only sweating because the room was hot and not because I was actually working out. However, I gave it another go, as I thought I could potentially meet people and have somewhere to go every day, have a consistent schedule, while my husband was at work.
It wasn’t easy at first. I mean, nothing ever is, right? I struggled with the poses, with my balance, with striking up a conversation, and feeling comfortable with myself. And yet, over time, I grew to love the practice and coming to my mat every day. It was a break from my reality, a break from being the American expat in London who didn’t have any friends (ps—I do have friends now, so no need to feel bad for me!). It helped me to do some self-reflection on who I was, what I wanted out of this experience abroad, and breathe deeply during the stressful transition. Yoga was also a phenomenal workout, strengthening my core and arms (I never knew I could actually do a headstand or a forearm stand!). More importantly, yoga gave me a community, a place to go every day, a place to feel safe, a place to have small but meaningful conversations at first, and then later, it became a place to build relationships with regular students and teachers.
So, with a little patience and dedication to my mat and practice, yoga became a community, a home away from home; it was the support I needed and the support I still need when seeking guidance, kindness, and a reflective space for self-care and preservation.
Everyone needs a community and everyone deserves to have a supportive space. I hope you have found yours (and if not, come to London and practice yoga with me!).
Teach, travel, live. Always.
Danielle Goffi at Perfect Day Athleisure ☺