Yoga Break: Find Your Tribe

“So no one told you life was gonna be this way;
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke,
Your love life’s D.O.A

It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear;
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month,
Or even your year.”

One of the best parts about being back in Nebraska has been being able to practice at my home yoga studio. Sure, the practice of yoga is the same across the globe, but a big part of the place it holds in my life has to do with the relationships I’ve formed through the practice, as well as the perspective those same people have helped me to cultivate.

My home studio is Lotus House of Yoga (check them out here). It’s where I completed my teacher training, and it’s also the community that gave me a place to feel at home when I moved back from Asia and began the inner work of figuring out who post-Korea Emily was. It’s hard to come back from three years abroad and not feel like you’re on the same page with the friends you’ve had your whole life. Lotus provided a safe place for me to figure myself out and forge new, meaningful relationships with others on the same path as me. Through my teacher training, I made some of the strongest friendships I’ve ever had–ones that have remained powerful and encouraging even as I moved across oceans once again. Getting to throw my arms around these beautiful women last Friday was a physical reminder that I am supported and loved no matter where I go.

I have friends from all walks of life, in all different countries, of all religions, and all with varying paths. What our goals are and through what means we are choosing to pursue those goals is beside the point. For example, I may live in Israel and be studying language and figuring out where I fit into the world as a Jewish woman, and Kate may live in Lincoln and be teaching yoga and raising an adorable little boy to be a strong, loving man, but the distance in geographical location and the difference in pursuits is, in a way, something that makes our friendship stronger. We are there to support one another through whatever comes our way.

Yoga is such a great foundation for friendships.

I don’t mean that you have to always go to yoga class together or constantly be talking about what sequences you’re teaching when you meet up for coffee (although these things are definitely fun). Rather, I believe that yoga offers a different sort of lens through which to view the world, and those of us who have made yoga a deep part of our lives have on a special set of glasses. The words on our pages may be different, but when viewed through the lens of yoga, we can read our individual words more clearly and contribute to one another’s stories in a very meaningful way. Yoga is both an individual practice and a communal one. It’s about figuring yourself out and then figuring out where that self fits into the world, and that is a very integrating thing.

The word “tribe” gets thrown around a lot these days, and sometimes I think it can even come across as superficial or fake.

But your tribe doesn’t have to be the people you take Instagram pictures with (although it can be). It doesn’t have to be the ones who have it all together, the ones with the perfect yoga outfits, or the ones who do the coolest things or live in the most impressive places. They don’t even all have to know each other! Your tribe is the group of people who love you unconditionally, the ones who you know you can call when everything’s falling apart. They’re the ones who won’t criticize or judge, but rather will comfort and sometimes even have the courage to say the hard thing that you don’t want to hear.

It might be one other person, or two, or ten. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you can draw strength from one another and fill each other up.

Spending time with my Nebraska tribe has been incredibly healing for me at a very difficult time in my life; they let me know that it’s okay to feel lost sometimes, and they help me to see that the lost feelings won’t last forever. Drawing on my own strength is great (and important), but equally important is allowing myself to realize that I don’t have to be everything for myself all the time. Learning to rely on others is a beautiful thing.

“I’ll be there for you;
(When the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you;
(Like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you.
(‘Cause you’re there for me too)”

As you go through the rest of the week, I encourage you to connect with your tribe. Make a phone call, send a text, write a letter, give a hug. Apologize. Do whatever you need to do to open the lines of communication and make the time for the important people in your life. And…just for fun…

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