The Importance of Kula
Kula means community in Sanskrit. It’s something that is crucial in our happiness and our external environment on so many levels, but something not often thought of. Creating a community and being a part of one brings so much reward and goes further than you think.
I had recently been a part of a walking trip to Sugarloaf Mountain in Wales, organised by my yoga teacher with a group of around 25 people. Like most yoga get-togethers, whether they’re workshops, conferences or just a coffee, I was reminded that my feelings, thoughts and worries about the physical and spiritual elements of my practice are shared with others. I finally spoke to people I often just nod a hello to in the early mornings, not having that chance to introduce and just chat.
With something like a yoga practice, your conversations with friends and family only really get so far. It’s not an exclusive thing but rather like any other major part of your life; people don’t really understand unless they are a part of it too. Kind of like how you rant about work but only your work colleagues and friends really get it. The most interesting part though, was that even if it wasn’t about yoga, because of an already deep level of similarity it felt like a space which I could talk about anything, openly and honestly.
I found myself listening to people’s extraordinary stories, the troubles they’re facing today around all sorts and then even I disclosed some of my own deep worries. It was incredible. Hearing different people’s experiences on the mat, and how that’s been taken off the mat and just into everyday life is both inspiring and comforting.
To be a part of a community, whether that’s a three-person community or one hundred people, and knowing you can be your true self with them without judgement encourages you to bring that same token into other spaces. It can be hard to find the courage to stand your ground and be a little different because by default, we view that as a threat to our own character and identity whether you're the giver or receiver. With a bold yet considerate approach though, you can find that balance and feel such wonderful contentment.
Kula goes beyond just this encouragement. In the world we are living in now, with so much happening, the world has become a global community. So many people are wanting to help others in need today through relief missions, local volunteering and even simple social media posts, which is bringing the world together more than ever before. Reversely, we are more willing to ask for help and rely on others to help raise us up, understanding again, that you’re not alone during harder times.
I finish writing this (by coincidence) after the devastating attack in Manchester Arena following an Ariana Grande concert. What was shown since the event was not hostility or hate, but all of the very opposite; police and nurses rushed to the site by any means possible, people opening their doors and homes to help victims feel safe and call home, and local businesses offering tea and duvets for comfort. It’s during a crisis that we see the true and great spirit of humanity and how we are all the same at heart; kind, full of love and generosity.
The Manchester community haven’t allowed this to frighten them into their homes, but instead it has developed an unmistakable sense of unity and strength. Knowing you are not alone in your fears and seeing just one person showing positivity despite those very fears is one of the greatest acts of encouragement we can witness. Standing together in camaraderie and having a support network is powerful and calming.
Community takes effort and requires authenticity. Finding the courage to be yourself allows others to do the same, and showing love to others means others can pass that on. So when you see a glint of generosity and kindness, soak it up and pass it.