How to Make Friends at a Yoga Class by Ally Cohen


Ally Cohen and Mani on their Cork Yoga Mats

As an avid Yoga and Pilates participant and instructor I try to encourage people to leave their egos at the door. If we learn to truly embrace the mindfulness and presence of a Yoga or Pilates practice, we can truly connect to our heart spaces and at the same time also meet others that share our intentions. This way we can create amazing friendships along this journey called life.

I met Mani at a Yoga Studio launch. It is very easy to spot a Valka Yoga mat and she was carrying one on her shoulder! I quickly complimented her on her mat and so began our friendship.

When I practice yoga, I try to find the places that I am stuck. Am I stuck in my heart? My mind? My breath? Am I attached to my ego? Am I shy? Are there challenges I can practice today in this yoga class?

Often students of yoga think it is the postures that are the challenges in the class. But I offer another way to practice next time you find yourself in a group class. Are you a person that shies away from meeting new people? Do you find it difficult to compliment others? Is it hard to open up and start a new conversation with a stranger? If these are places that are stuck, why not use your yoga class as an opportunity to practice. Yoga is just that, a practice. We take the lessons we learn on the mat into our daily lives. Why not practice the social skills that may need improving? Why not make some new friends who share your interests?

It really is that easy. Mani was a bright and happy smiling face as soon as I pointed out her great taste in a yoga mat. As soon as I was able to take the first step and smile at her, she opened up, returning the smile and the good will!

A smile is a gift we can give for free, and almost always we get a 100% return!

Yoga and Pilates teaches us to make shapes with our bodies, to breathe and most importantly to open our hearts and free our spirits.

So, my yoga challenge is to always try to make friendly eye contact with someone, give a warm, kind smile and offer a genuine compliment. If we practice this in our yoga classes, we will find it easier to do this in our daily life. Love is free to give, free to receive, and the most precious thing we can share.

So let's spread the love, give a hug and who knows, you might make a friend like Mani!

Namaste <3

Ally


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