Community, to me, used to be an overused word that didn't mean much. Now, as I try to build community in Iceland and as I watch unfold's community grow, the word means so much.
Starting my life in a new country without many resources gave me the scary opportunity to jump into new communities or be forced to start my own. I needed support, friendship and collaboration somehow! Luckily, I was able to start teaching right away witch gave me the confidence and the clarity to start my own community by sharing what I love, yoga and AcroYoga.
Having something to offer makes things easier, but they still aren't easy. I can easily show up to teach, then just as easily go home afterwards without ever talking to anyone or seeing anyone after class is over. Instead, I set an intention to reach out to others with my best self regardless of what I got back, hoping that if I was open a community might start to form.
At unfold we have a passion to share yoga and awareness practices. By offering our most authentic selves, we know that some will be drawn back to Samarya Yoga and Integrated Movement Therapy. Some might only come once a week or to a workshop here and there, others will become future Samarya teachers or attend every event they can. By reaching out and accepting and appreciating involvement with unfold at any level we can build our social, physical and spiritual community.
Approaching community building with this kind of vulnerability can be difficult and humbling. After reaching out to a few Icelanders, I was able to get an AcroYoga practice going at the park. Rather than stopping there, I also invited everyone to ice cream after (Icelanders are obsessed with ice cream) hoping to take advantage of the chance to build connections. Only one girl took me up on the offer, but since she has invited more people to join the practice.
How can we do this more? How can we offer ourselves to others in a way that's loving and supportive?
In the Icelandic circus (which I am now a part of) there aren't many rules, but one of them is that you have to share what you know. You are not allowed to learn a new trick and not teach everyone else. I love this idea and the way it creates connections whether you're already deep in the community or you've just come in the door for the first time.
It can be hard to share yourself. There will always be fear that you won't be noticed or appreciated. That's Okay. I encourage everyone to put themselves out there and build community. Whether that means starting something new, or supporting those around you that want to spread their gifts. I
Written by teachers at unfold studios and guest authors.