Wisdom 3 Ways to Make New Yoga Friends A beautiful window of opportunity opens after every class. Seize it. By Zuzu Perkal Yoga is about union; the bringing together of two opposites. It’s about observing the mind and body and becoming self aware of your true self, thus eliminating suffering, stress, and negativity in our lives. In class, we often focus on the connection of mind, breath, and body. Teachers challenge you to bring your attention inward and connect with yourself on a deeper level. The ultimate goal is to connect. But what happens after class? I’ve noticed something similar in almost all the yoga classes I jump into. There’s this overall feeling of oneness, connection, and collaborative energy during class, then when I leave class, I grab my shoes, a sip of water, show gratitude to the teacher and usually just take off. There are some students talking amongst one another and hanging out, but the majority of the students stay quiet, collect their belongings, and leave the studio. There is a beautiful window of opportunity for the students and teacher to meet one another, mingle, and foster a deeper connection outside the studio classroom. After a yoga class, you’ve energetically connected with the students and teacher, so why not meet him / her face to face? Why not connect with the community around you? How Can We Connect? We are at our best when we are working together as a species to make a better world to live in. There are endless ways we can connect with people around us. A quick hello can do the trick, or even something as simple as a smile. When we tap into our own power and join forces with other powerful, self aware individuals, we can do anything, we just need to network and connect. I cannot stress enough the importance of becoming involved with your local community. Not only are you helping a greater good, but you’re also helping yourself. You’ll notice a sense of fulfillment, inner peace, and self gratitude. Find the time to get connected and cultivate new meaningful relationships with those around you. Your favorite studio and local yoga community is a great place to start. Use your yoga practice to better yourself on and off the mat. 1. Step outside of your comfort zone: Be brave and vulnerable and open. The next time you take a yoga class introduce yourself to the other students in class, spark up conversation while you tie your shoes, or give someone a compliment. It’s not as difficult as it may seem. We are all connected whether we acknowledge it or not. There’s one thing you know of have in common, your love for yoga and your dedication to your practice. When in doubt, begin a conversation about yoga! It’s a known fact that everyone could use a new friend. There is always space in our lives for new positive people. Who could possibly not need a new yoga buddy? 2. Meet your teachers: Get involved with your favorite yoga studio. Introduce yourself to your teacher and give them feedback on their class. I promise that teachers value the opinions of their students. It’s our job as teachers to serve you as the student, and we love meeting with you and learning about your yoga experience. It’s nice to know your teachers on a more personal level and it helps them guide you during class as well. 3. Say hello: Start a conversation with your yogi neighbors in class. Break out of your shell and make new friends. Take a few minutes to research ways you can get involved with your local yoga studio and community. Remember the purpose of yoga and ask yourself why you practice. What can you do to deepen your practice? How can you connect with your community and better yourself and those around you? — Photo by Ashley Bilodeau Zuzu is an independent artist, photographer, yoga instructor, and adventure enthusiast in Austin, TX. Her days are filled with coffee, paint, and daydreams. She believes mistakes are simply a beautiful opportunity for growth and that our own life experiences serves as our most valuable teachers. Zuzu recently graduated from Wanderlust’s first Teacher Training Program and is on a mission to continually expand her consciousness while following her journey down the yogic path. She is currently experimenting with the concept of a floating yoga studio and mixed medium practice.