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Crossing the Threshold

There was always an echo here, a way in which voices and music bounced about the room making one feel surrounded and held by the sound. But now that it's empty, the echoes of classes and clients that were once here are quite loud.

This place was important to many of us. It was a sanctuary from craziness; a shelter in the storm of work, and family, and errands, and obligations. It was clean and calm and peaceful. But it was just a container. Like a delicate vase it has a beauty of its own, but its real purpose is to hold the flowers.

In yoga, the teachings are important but equally so is the "sangha," the community. It is the community that shares a commitment to the practice and the prinicples that bring it to life. We've all felt it: the whoosh of joy that comes of a dozen bodies moving together into a pose, the spirit that fills the room with shared breath, the powerful reverberations of a shared "OM." Buddhists will say, "I take refuge in the sangha." They are not talking about a specific space. There is not fixed address for the sagha, no fixed shape or size. It is comprised of people, and spirit, and commitment. The sangha is the flower, and it can thrive in any container: a vase made of fancy crystal or an old jelly jar. 

So what is this place but a container that is not longer the right home for the flower. It has been heartening to attend yoga classes elsewhere these past few weeks and see old friends from the studio. We welcome each other with hugs. We unroll our mats next to one another yet again. But we also turn to greet those on our other side, the members of the broader sangha. New spaces offer new energies. New teachers offer new insights. The strangers we encounter in pursuing the practice are simly new friends we haven't met yet.

Explore the new options available to you, practice at home, bring attentiveness to your breath while you walk a trail, or play with your family, or do the dishes. Take refuge in the sangha no matter its shape, for you are the flower that will bloom in any vase.