Mindful Monday: Slow Down Summer

In sanskrit, Sangha means community. And not just like the community where your address happens to be, home of public service stations and a bustling local coffee shop. Sangha is the community we crave, and because we crave it, we create it. At Yoga By Degrees, each of us participates actively in the creation of Sangha. We all play an important part. It’s like when you walk into the studio to take your routine 9am sculpt class and you’re greeted by first name, not because we’ve checked you in a million times, but because we’re expecting you. Or when you’re all in your head about an argument you just had at work, and as your instructor reads a quote that seems cosmically meant just for you, her gentle hip massage in pigeon confirms that she actually does know just what you need. Or when you spread your arms and roll over in supine twist and your fingertips accidentally touch your sweaty neighbor who you’ve never before spoken to before, and you actually don’t mind at all.

One of the greatest gifts of working for a yoga studio is the built-in community. Whether you’re a veteran teacher, or a teacher trainee, or a 5-classes-a-week-no-exceptions Platinum Member, or on your complimentary free week of classes, you’ll fall willingly victim to our happy home and energetic embrace. Our Sangha.

Our studio’s summer challenge to take 30 classes within 40 days is wrapping up quickly, and we’re all reminded that nothing lasts forever. It’s something to mourn and celebrate at the same time. The changing seasons reminds us of our size, and also of our courage to surrender. On a day to day level, we are huge. Our problems, and similarly, our joys, are everything. We’ll feel so helpless about a bad day that really just stemmed from one bad moment that we’ll expunge hours or maybe even multiple days in an all-out pity party for one, because we are that big. And, before you start thinking “Yeah, that’s me” and start feeling badly about having bad days, let a gentleness hug you tight and know that every single one of us does this. It’s the scale from which we operate.

And so when we wake up and ask someone what today’s date is and can hardly believe that we’re already approaching the middle of August, let it shrink us back down to proportion. Our Egos are big, but we are so, so, so small. The world didn’t stop when we spent that full day practicing couch-asana with a pint of chocolate ice cream. It didn’t stop when your son jumped in the swimming pool for the first time, or when you saw the look on your daughter’s face when she opened the letter that said she’d been accepted into her top-choice school. Even though we sometimes wish that time would just speed up to get us out of our darkest holes, or that time could stop just long enough for us to savor our sweetest moments, it doesn’t. We are here, in August…so small, but with a courage big enough to surrender even to this moving timeline we have no control over.

We’ve decided to start a #slowdownsummer movement to remind us of this when we’ve forgotten. We can’t stop time, but we can create our Sangha. And together, our Sangha can share stories and still-frames and memories of the moments that make us most alive. We’ve asked our staff at Yoga By Degrees to share their favorite summer memories with the hashtag #slowdownsummer, and now we’re opening it up to the rest of our community whom we love so much.

Share your favorite summer memory using #slowdownsummer and follow & tag us on Instagram @yogabydegrees for your chance to be featured! Collages will be shared all month long!

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