This piece was written by Kathleen Hannah, writer, yogi, moonchild, and enthusiastic karmi at TYB. She is a lover of learning, sunshine, good vibes, large bodies of water, wine, reading, and hugs.
From time to time we’ll hear Rachel use the phrase, “our sangha” when she speaks of the Yoga Bar community. Thich Nhat Hanh describes sangha as a community of friends practicing the dharma together in order to bring about and maintain awareness. He eloquently states, “The essence of a sangha is awareness, understanding, acceptance, harmony and love. When you do not see these in a community, it is not a true sangha, and you should have the courage to say so. But when you find these elements are present in a community, you know that you have the happiness and fortune of being in a real sangha.” Over the whirlwind of the past year, The Yoga Bar has enveloped me into it’s loving community, and as I’ve nestled into our sangha I’m invigorated to welcome more beings into our fold.
When I was younger I felt community and it’s sense of love and belonging were elusive. I couldn’t conceptualize what it must be to trust that a group of people a) genuinely liked you, b) cared about your wellbeing, and c) supported you through ups and downs. I moved back to Cincinnati after spending some time in my hometown of Indianapolis rather abruptly, and as anyone who has ever moved to a new city knows, it can feel lonely. Navigating things like careers, finances, relationships, faith, romance, etc. are a hundred times more manageable with a tribe. Last year I found myself in desperate need of a tribe.
When I started karming at The Yoga Bar I didn’t notice that I was becoming a part of the community. It was a lot of little things. I would find myself with a brunch buddy after class, and think, “I’m glad this person and I are friends now.” I would become curious about a pose, or a Sanskrit concept and engage one of the many talented teachers and think, “I’m glad I have this person to help me on my yoga journey.” I would have a really shitty day and vent about it before class and without fail the yogis downstairs would have me laughing before we went up to practice. I didn’t notice, but after hundreds of these little moments I had a tribe who knew my imperfections as well as my virtues and hugged with both arms.
One thing I told myself I would do when I accepted an Americorps position with Catholic Charities in the Refugee Resettlement Department was network, so when my contract was up I would have a job. Not only did I successfully avoid networking all year, but I found myself unceremoniously without a job two months before my year was up. I sat at home feeling frustrated, wondering what to do with my days, and regretted not networking. In the midst of the winter blues (and unprecedented political fuckery), I felt the familiar tugs of depression. Thankfully, I had unbeknownst to myself, had a secret depression-slaying weapon: my tribe, our sangha. They, unbeknownst to themselves, offered love, compassion, and more support than I can adequately express gratitude for. I was able to face the job hunt, which was made much easier by the fact that I found work right away thanks to the relationships I had built through TYB.
Our sangha gave me roots. One of our most fundamental needs as human beings is a sense of love and belonging. This life was not meant to be walked alone, we are meant to connect, and intertwine, and grow together. We’re meant to be family. With our sangha the challenges don’t devastate us and the joys are shared. I am blessed to be able to walk my spiritual path with people who will also stick around for that third glass of wine. To have people I don’t feel I must hide my flaws from. To have people I can celebrate this life with! #blessed. If you find yourself in need of a community, a sangha, a tribe, come to us at The Yoga Bar. We’re pros :)