Inner Reflections
May 6, 2024

Building Community

Ubuntu is a concept that has kept coming back to me in the last couple of years. I first heard the word in the Netflix documentary series “The Playbook” with Doc Rivers. And then again as I was reading “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk. Ubuntu is an African term describing our shared humanity. It means “I am because we are” or “humanity towards others” Ubuntu is defining that we are each part of a greater whole.

This concept connects me back to the goal of yoga. The word Yoga comes from a Sanskrit word meaning to yoke or to unite. A key part of this is connection. This yoking refers to the union between body, mind, and spirit as well as universal consciousness. This connection first starts with us and also with others.

For me in my current stage of life, Ubuntu highlights the importance of community in our lives. Being able to have people and community we build connections with allows us to move through all our life experiences. And with life experiences feelings of joy, grief, overwhelm, sadness, and disappointments are all elicited. Having a community that we can celebrate and cry with is integral to our ability to process and move through our experiences.

Building this sense of community can be incredibly challenging as an adult. It requires intention and work to bridge the distance that often can divide us (both in geography and beliefs/politics!).  For myself, I grew up in eastern Canada, moved to California as a young adult, and now reside in Washington State. Building community for me means keeping ties to friendships and family that live in different states or countries as well as forging connections in my new surroundings.

One of my top values at the moment is Connection (at least once per year I review and update my top values). This informs how I plan my weeks and my months, to intentionally set aside time to build connections. Recently this has meant setting up coffee dates with new local and online friends who share my professional training as a Yoga Instructor, Health Coach, & Physical Therapist. I’ve also looked for online groups via Meetup and Facebook Groups for activities or areas of my life I want to build connections in: Hiking, Yoga, Local Black women groups, and Entrepreneur groups have been some of my go-to’s. I’m also considering joining a French language group to practice my French skills as French is my first language, but I rarely get a chance to practice! All to say – there are so many ways you can build community for yourself locally in your part of the world – and your interests and identity are a great place to start. Keeping up with friends and family who are not in your local area can also be a challenge. For me intentionally setting aside time to have regular FaceTime or telephone dates is crucial to staying connected. Leveraging technology has been key to building and maintaining long-distance friendships and connections.

What resonates for you when it comes to building community? How can you bridge the gap in distance with friends or family that may not live near you? How can you forge relationships locally for in-person connection? How can you foster a sense not only of community but of Ubuntu? To be able to hold and see humanity in all the world asks us to connect with ourselves and to build relationships in which we can be vulnerable and build deep trust. How does this show up for you in your yoga practice?

Remember you can also connect with the Inner Dimension Community online through our Community App or in-person through retreats and other events. In particular, we would love to see you at our first ever in-person community summit happening Labor Day 2024, more info below!

By Christine