In Buddhist practice, a sangha is the sacred community of ordained (or pre-ordained) monks and nuns. Being in a sangha helps members to be supported in their practice, grow their practice through interaction with like-minded others, contribute to the process for other members, and also provide a resource for those outside to the community to gain information about Buddhism. Similarly, a yoga community or yoga sangha provides for its members informational, social, pragmatic, and emotional support. It provides practitioners with a “home base” from which they can branch out into yoga in a variety of paths that feel new, always retaining that connection back to the stability of the group.
Yoga sanghas may be created through personal relationships with others who practice, through a shared yoga studio or gym (maybe the most common), through a connection to a guru, etc. And now, with the vast array of social media available to us, we can more easily create and maintain a sense of community with a wide variety of people around the world.
YIOM arose from a sangha composed of a group of yoga lovers who interacted frequently on Twitter. As we sought a way to grow our sangha, not only in numbers but in methods of connection, we developed the idea of YIOM. In the past year, our group has grown almost continually, with new members, consistent communication via Twitter, the addition of a wonderful editor, and a plethora of amazing blog posts.
Over the next year, it will be so interesting to see how things continue to develop in our community. I feel honored to be a part of it, and am so thankful for my YIOM friends.