Many people turn to yoga to reduce stress or relieve back pain but one of the reasons I love particularly Dru Yoga is the greater sense of connection it gives me with myself, the community and nature. At a recent yoga workshop my teacher Sarah had the theme of connection and she described how she has set an intention to connect with nature each day. Yoga outside in nature and Dru Yoga with its visualisations based in nature and the elements helps me to connect with something bigger than myself. However I am also interested to explore how yoga increases feelings of social connection. We can often come to class feeling separate or disconnected after a busy day.
I have been doing lots of reading about the vagus nerve and its key role in stress resilience. Dru Yoga with its heart opening postures tones the vagal nerve which in turn increases feelings of social connection. In a yoga class we are hopefully moving in a synchronised way which also creates bonding and after a class we can often feel that have been a part of something larger. Being fully present in the moment also has a powerful effect on social bonding. Yoga means union and evidence is starting to show why and how that union or connection arises.
Social connection makes us feel better as it helps prevent loneliness, isolation and depression. So with that in mind this year I decided to organise a Neighbour Day Yoga and Afternoon Tea in my community of Dalyellup. Neighbour Day is Australia’s annual celebration of community, encouraging people to connect with those who live in their neighbourhood. In a culture that increasingly tends towards isolation and less face to face interactions the experience of social connection has far reaching implications on the body and mind.