Yoga Union has been serving the Portland yoga community for 15 years. For 9 of those years, I’ve had the honor of leading, along side my wife Annie Adamson and many others. Part of leadership is envisioning. Envisioning entails the understanding of an ideal. I’ve been thinking a lot about what we’re really doing at Yoga Union, and I wanted to share my ideals as a way of initiating and deepening conversation. My hope is that this will launch an ongoing conversation that brings greater focus to our collective ideal. After all, this is not just my community. It’s yours too, if you choose.
We meet on mutual ground. In a center of beauty and inspiration. We come to inquire within. To seek our own answers. We come because we care. We come to remember who we are and what our lives are for. Everyone is allowed to be themselves. They are seen, accepted, approved, and appreciated for their uniqueness. They work to see, accept, approve, and appreciate themselves. The collection of individuals forms a large pool whose function is to nourish and reflect the light of each individual back onto themselves. In that light, each person sees their self as a whole, integrated being, independent yet dependent on others not just to thrive but to survive. From this view, students of the community become dedicated to a vision of integration. The yoga community sparks their innate desire to reclaim an ancestral, village way life. The well of an urban yoga village is deepened and replenished each time an individual pours their heart in. The community becomes a source of nourishment and self-reflection for everyone to draw on. Sincere acts of devotion to the collective yield personalized wisdom. Wisdom is the light of individual understanding contextualized by the whole.
Everything we need to learn for our own maturation can be learned from the collection of connections that is the community.
We walk into the center and the information we’ve been missing is right there, plainly available for us; sometimes it’s spoken by a person in the teaching role, but just as often it shows up in a circumstance that arises in the lobby, in a conversation with a student in the locker room, or in any opportunity we take to observe ourselves in relationship with others.
When we get lost or when we feel disconnected, there’s an open ear; someone willing to put down their phone, sit down, and listen. In the yoga center, everyone is always met by someone willing to connect. It is a place where we can bare ourselves and share ourselves. We leave feeling seen; understood and understanding. We leave feeling lighter, and more integrated among others. We are refreshed by the remembrance that we are not alone. That we belong to a community. Each interaction within the center serves as a reminder that we are a part of a community, weather we know it or not. Our yoga community encourages everyone who visits NOT to make their life a yoga retreat, but to perpetually return to our life’s work with inspiration from their self-study practices together. Inspired by these experiences, they can all more easily execute their vision for the integration of the larger circle of humanity.