When we first moved to our neighborhood, my wife and I enrolled in the volunteer work study program at our yoga studio.
Not only to earn discounted yoga and free towels and unlimited water refills, but also to belong on a deeper level. To increase the amount of relatedness that exists in our world. And to build a wider and deeper sense of emotional ownership in the yoga studio that we love so much.
That’s how social capital works. To belong is to act as an investor, owner and creator of a particular place. To belong is the opposite of thinking that, wherever you are, you would be better off somewhere else.
And so, every time we return to the studio where we belong, whether we’re taking class, washing mats, drying towels, sweeping floors, chatting with new students or asking teachers questions, we are in community. Every time we gather becomes a model of the future we want to create.
Which is interesting, because the term yoga derives from the word for union. Which is the whole goal of belonging. It’s the longing to be in union with others. And this community, this place that we return to every day, is the container within which our longing to be is fulfilled.
How can you assure that the experience of belonging doesn’t isn’t left to chance?
Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and work study volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.