The Power of Connection
This post was written by Paige Elenson, Senior Baptiste Teacher and Founder of Africa Yoga Project.
We hear this word often in yoga world, and in the non-yoga world for that matter. But what does it really mean? Does it mean to hop on facebook and post something on someone’s wall?
To find the answer to these questions I got on my mat to be in complete inquiry.
As I moved through my practice with my 7 month old daughter, Penzi, laying next to me sharing my mat space I realized in that moment that I was fully connected. I was fully connected to myself and to Penzi. It was a true, authentic, loving and non-judgmental connection. A child-like connection that brings innocence and hope. I was with her and she was with me moving through the postures.
I am fortunate to teach all over the world to hundreds of people at teacher trainings in Mexico, New York and Austin, to yoga class in the Upper West Side of New York City, and to outreach classes in the under developed areas of Africa. The students all show up to the mat for that one underlying reason – to feel a connection with themselves and others. They may not know that is why they are there, but once they connect with another being on a deeper level it opens their eyes to what is possible in their lives.
One of my favorite moments of seeing this happen is at one of Africa Yoga Project’s special needs outreach classes in an under developed area of Kenya at the Giovanna School for the Deaf. It was one of those moments that I will remember forever.
I witnessed how without words I could connect on a deep and authentic level with these kids. I felt so alive. No words were used. The class was completely silent. Within that silence, it was loud! Really loud! The kids were in full expression with big smiles and open hearts. They were innocent, open, trusting and they let me in.
In that moment, we were all the same. We were connected. There was no difference in our ethnic background, economic status, hearing and speaking abilities, or age. We were one, moving on our mats and sharing a space that created lightness, hope and possibility.
I have experienced these moments a hundred times over, in Kenya, in the upper class parts of New York, at Baptiste trainings and in those moments with my daughter on my mat. Each connection is on the surface completely different, but in the end the same.
Connection is about being a stand for others. It is about dropping everything you know about yourself and the other person to create a clear space that will allow you to completely be yourself, your authentic self. It is allowing yourself to connect like children do with innocence and hope. And what can come out of this connection is powerful. It can change the world. I see this change in action every single day. And it all starts by getting on the mat.
Join Paige Elenson, Baron Baptiste and other Senior Baptiste teachers at The Yoga Journal Conference Baptiste PowerFlow Immersion in Estes Park, Colorado.