The Importance of Connection
By: Jenn Bodnar, Owner Yoga Digest
When we think about community, our minds might go right to our own neighborhood, or the town we live in. But the depth of community runs much deeper than our zip code. Community is defined as a feeling of fellowship with others who share common attitudes, interests and goals. Dozens of studies have found that people with deep social connections experience less stress, consider themselves more successful in life, are happier and live longer! Here are some things to remember when it comes to community and the importance of connection:
- All you need is love
Once the basic physiological needs are met like food, water, shelter and safety, the most important necessity for human beings is social belonging. In his popular theory, the hierarchy of needs, Abraham Maslow states that lack of connection can result in anxiety and even clinical depression.
Scientific research has shown that the happiest people are those who have strong relationships with family and friends and are active in their communities. These groups can be small or large. It’s not the quantity but the quality of our connections that count. There certainly is a time to celebrate being introspective and alone. Solitude can also be very beneficial, but connecting with others is in our DNA and we are wired to be curious and to learn about one another. It’s all about balance.
- The most important things in life are not things
Recently, I was visiting my favorite beach. It’s pristine and clean with white sand and views of the sky and ocean, with so many shades blue, for as far as the eyes can see. Gigantic waves crash up against the rocks and shore, creating the most soothing sound that instantly calms my soul. As I was taking it all in, I realized how drawn I was to the brave surfers catching waves off in the distance. I noticed various groups of families; some with young children, some more elderly couples and some speaking foreign languages. There was also a variety of seemingly healthy and happy teens and young people that made me curious and even a little envious wondering what it must be like to grow up here.
I stopped myself and remembered “the beach, you’re here for the beach!” Then it dawned on me that perhaps what I love most about this beach is not the soft sand, clear blue skies and mesmerizing waves, but the people and their energy that make up this beach. It’s the experience. It’s not what it looks like, it’s what it feels like.
- Being present is the best present of all
In a world full of going live, text messaging, status updates, emojis and hashtags, the fundamental need to be in the physical presence of like-minded people still cannot be replaced. Emails and even the long lost art of phone conversation doesn’t hold a candle to a genuine handshake or hug, making eye contact, reading body language and face to face interaction.
When we smile at someone or give them a compliment, we impact that person’s day. That is a very powerful gift we all have: to make someone feel better. Research has shown that this type of social support is as beneficial to the giver as it is to the receiver. The greatest gift you can give someone is your completely undivided attention. Be present.
- Your vibe attracts your tribe
We are the average of the five people we spend the most amount of time with. If you find yourself uneasy or unhappy around your tribe, it might be a sign to raise your own vibration. Or switch tribes!
Some people do find deep connection in their neighborhood communities, others in the form of a common purpose or belief and some might find it by way of a sport, activity or organized team. More people are practicing yoga today than ever before and finding deep connection along the way. Yoga is the journey of the self through the self. When we are able to connect with our highest self, we are better able to connect with others.
Yoga is bringing people together: a tribe of life enthusiasts, change-makers, ethical consumers and pioneers for a better tomorrow. This unity is growing beyond the yoga studio walls into corporations, health management organizations, professional sport teams and neighborhood parks. Yoga festivals are growing at a rapid pace because people are seeking community with like-minded individuals they can’t find at their jobs or other social circles.
We hope you will come vibe with us at a yoga festival soon! Our first ever Yoga Digest Fest will be held Saturday, September 23rd from 9am-2pm, graciously hosted and sponsored by historic downtown City of Carrollton. This free event includes a crystal bowl meditation, all levels yoga practice, Aerial Yoga, Acro Yoga, Doga (yoga with your dog), a vendor area and numerous activities for the whole family to enjoy. Now that’s Community!