Forced lock-downs, smaller classes and travel bans with or without quarantine combine in a recipe for financial hardship. Be it reduced teaching hours, studio closures or no work at all, and few alternatives, we need community support more than ever. But how do we hold or build community when there is a growing evidence of tribalism and a desperate need to “put your own oxygen mask on first”?
Whatever the answer is, part of the solution will include safe and open communication.
That’s part of the reason this newsletter was forged. Personally, it wasn’t the best time with looming deadlines, prior commitments and immediate challenges arising (more on that later), but in reality and being mindful, there was never going to be a better time!
A few weeks ago Donna and I watched “The Social Dilemma”, a recent film on Netflix that explores and exposes the dark side of the world’s largest human network, Facebook. The film dramatised how we have unwittingly sold ourselves to capitalism for the shiny lure of something for free and without understanding how our very thoughts are manipulated by what we are shown on our news-feeds. Both paid and unpaid content is delivered to us in a controlled fashion by algorithms, specific for each person. What you see on Facebook over any hour or day is unique. Ever wanted to see something you just looked at and couldn’t find it?
And every action, every scroll, every click is recorded and measured. You have a digital avatar, increasingly refined and detailed, and although it is not sold, access to it is, and by default that means access to you.
The film put forward the premise that Facebook and Google (through their platform You Tube) have responsibility for the fracturing of society that we see today. Riots are becoming more and more common place. Tribalism is growing because safe open debate where ideas are challenged is less common.
Echo chambers thrive when critical thinking is abandoned, often as a result of psychologically-derived click-bait rewarding the unwary. This is just one symptom of an increasingly individualistic world, neatly defined in the phrase “I’ve-Got-Mineism”, the first mention of which I can find is in a Humanifesto written by Destiny Kinal in 2008.
I’m not saying that social media is all bad, just that the bad is inseparable from the good and so for now Facebook and You Tube cannot be considered safe for the individual as the underlying driver is the forming our behaviour for money.
The film was long into the production house when the pandemic emerged and these two major global forces are behind the questions posed in the title. The threats and pressures today appear to be antagonistic to building a thriving yoga community. So how do we collectively change course?
A Healthy Yoga Community Is Essential
There’s been loads and loads of feedback to me from yogis in many different countries that I’ve engaged with over the last three years, both online (yes including Facebook) and in-person. The consistent thread arising is that yogis are thirsty for a global community, and perhaps now even more, because the current pressures run the risk of pushing people further and further away from that goal.
Yogis are stampeding to create an online presence, which by its very nature will create siloed mini communities. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you zoom out from the detail, some key ingredients of yoga are cooperation, mutual support, common interest and interdependence. There’s plenty of room for everyone and importantly there are many skills needed to support a thriving community. There are lots and lots of questions and to get the ball rolling …
– What’s changes have you noticed in your local yoga community and how is that affecting you?
– What concerns you most about the changes you’re experiencing?
– Do you belong to more than one yoga community now? If so what new challenges or benefits are you experiencing?
– What would you want from an online yoga community?
– Is this a discussion you even want to have?
Please add your comments and feedback below.
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