Over the last year-ish, I have been listening to various amazing podcasts. This spoken blog platform or informal talk radio listening experience has opened up a beautiful opportunity for learning that I otherwise might have missed. And I am grateful for it.

Yoga Teacher Resource Podcast
by Mado Hesselink

This morning, as I was listening to the most recent episode of the Yoga Teacher Resource Podcast, something I heard triggered a deeper understanding of my yoga journey. And I wanted to share that with you.

Many of you know that the first joy and delight I found within yoga came from the 1 credit college yoga class I randomly decided to take. If this is your first time hearing, or rather reading, this…well now you know. Super last minute after dropping a 4 credit American Sign Language course, I decided to add yoga.

Now to give my grand epiphany any validity, I need to tell you where I was going to university. And for this information to make any sense, I must also tell you where I had gone to university.
I originally attended Southern Virginia University. There I completed a successful first year of college. Then, I transferred to Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Needless to say, the culture shock I faced was major.
From a historic campus in the rolling hills of the Shenandoah valley with only 1000 people on campus at any given time – to the modern hustle and bustle of 35,000 students running around from building to building in the shadows of the rocky mountains, it was not surprising that I felt like a fish out of water. I felt lost and alone even though I was suffocatingly surrounded.

What I realize now, looking back over the differences I experienced attending both universities, is that one had an easily accessible community while the other did not. As an anxious introvert, finding my place in the community of BYU was 1,000,000 times harder than at SVU where I felt welcomed and needed even before I was a student.

So now my epiphany – my learned understanding

Part of what Kelly McGonigal shared during the podcast is the need for community. Never before has this concept been as true as today when I applied it to my own experience. There I was at BYU struggling to breath, to float, to swim. I never would have imagined that a life preserver would be found within a yoga class. In that yoga class, I found friendship and community. And, I felt valued, purposeful, and heard.

I never realized how critical the need for community was until this moment. And even looking forward, through more recent memories of yoga teaching and practicing experiences, I can see how much community plays a role in my yoga journey. I truly believe it is the community experience of yoga that inspires my teaching and my practice.