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How to Embody the Essence of Yoga

Yoga is a practice of turning inward in hopes of achieving self-realization and actualizing a more peaceful life. It is a lifelong journey into the depths of our own soul, and it is not always easy. In fact, it can be such a struggle to overcome our resistance and fears that we may be tempted to quit practicing yoga altogether.

But our yoga practice is crucial for the betterment of mankind.

Photo by Julio Bajdaun @imaginecapture feat. Emily O'Brien @emily.obrien and Sean Shelton @capturedconnections

That's why we need a strong community that keeps us grounded in truth. While nobody can walk our path for us, it's important that we surround ourselves with people who lift us up and inspire us along the way, people who are doing similar inner work within themselves, people who motivate us to keep pushing forward. We need humans who hold us close when the suffering is unbearable, but also celebrate our growth and share in our joy.

In Sanskrit, this spiritual, high vibe community is called a sangha.

As human beings, we are innately social animals. At our most basic level, we are tribal creatures. We're healthiest and happiest when good, loving people are in our daily lives, sharing information, stories, interests, support.

Photo by Sean Shelton @capturedconnections feat. himself and Gordon Ogden @gordonogden

Yoga means union; connectedness in all aspects of life.

Isn't that what we're all yearning for? To connect to our most inner selves, to deeply love and be loved by other people?

To feel like we belong in the world?

I don't know where I would be today if it weren't for all the amazing people supporting my family and me each day. Even the simple (yet nearly unheard of) gift of bringing my baby to work with me at the yoga studio has made such a positive impact on my relationship with my son, while allowing me to pay my bills and continue to do what I love all at the same time. That is some serious support! And because I am so held by my community, I'm strong enough to hold them as well and offer my help when it's needed.

Photo by Sean Shelton @capturedconnections feat. Gordon Ogden @gordonogden and Kate Swarm @kateswarm

Let's get back to our roots. Let's do more giving and receiving. Let's practice yoga together. Read books together. Make art together. Cook together, eat together, raise our children together. Let's take care of and be cared for by each other.

By building a strong sangha (community) for each individual to grow from, we collectively raise our consciousness in the present moment, which plants the seeds for positive evolution in all of humanity. When life is shared with others it becomes lighter. We become happier, healthier, more compassionate and more peaceful. When we unite in love, we embody the true essence of yoga.

And that is something truly beautiful.

Photo by Sean Shelton @capturedconnections

For love, with love.

-E

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