Most of the people I know, especially those who are in the corporate world will often wish for Friday and the weekend to come by as soon as Monday rolls upon them. And I am guilty of this too. While some others are looking forward to hit the clubs on Fridays and drink to their hearts content, or to sleep in on the weekends, I find myself looking forward to my 90 minutes Sunday yoga classes instead (hey, to each of his/her own!).
Of course all the standard, typical reasons as to why one enjoys yoga and its subsequent benefits are part of it, but lately I have begin to notice other things about my class not related to yoga itself that contribute towards what I shall call my weekly dose of Sunday joy. Every Sunday, from around 9:30 in the morning onwards there will be about 20 of us slowly filing into the studio and spreading our mats, usually in the exact same spot every week. I love the sense of community that seems to establish itself with such ease between the students in the class. I doubt everybody knows everyone else’s name in this class, but the conversation and the greetings that take place every week is never absent of warmth.
There are husbands and wives in the group, singles, young teenagers and elderly people in their golden ages. It’s one big mix of people, from all walks of life, background, religion and culture. In my 6 years that I have attended classes at the studio, 1/2 of the people I see in my Sunday classes are the very people I’ve met on my very first day. There’s this elderly man whom I’ve seen around in one of my first few classes back in 2006, he is still in my class, better than ever with his sun salutations and his wife is even training as a yoga teacher.
His partner-in-crime is another elderly man, possibly around the same age or maybe a few years younger than he is whom our teacher calls his ‘twin brother’. This guy makes me laugh mid-pose when he starts sighing, and grunting in pain, and took it onto himself to start counting down to zero as fast as possible for the class.
About a year ago, Dan Buettner presented his findings on what makes people live longer lives. One of the common threads he found in his study called The Blue Zone was that elderly people who surround themselves with friends, family and who co-exist within a tight sense of community tend to live longer and healthier lives. I watched his presentation on Ted Talks recently:
I don’t certainly wish to live for as long as 100 years old, but as the years roll by and the numbers that define my age gets bigger, I do wish to age gracefully (and if I can have it my way, maybe die in my sleep too like those women from Japan). Knowing that I have a great example to compare against of what the real experience of community can feel like however, gives me a little bit of comfort. And ample amount of joy. And a real hope that we can all co-exist happily irrespective of our creed, skin colour and religious beliefs.