Having made most of my closest friends through yoga I have been thinking about why friendships formed through yoga are so effortless.
Is it because we are all trying to be better people? The best person we can be?
Is it because in the practice of yoga we don’t want anything from each other? Most of our work relationships are based on a trade, and so it is in much of life, but in yoga everyone is equal on their mat. The yoga studio is a ‘matocracy’, a peoples’ republic in which we are all free to express ourselves, to be ourselves, to dig deeper into ourselves.
Is it because we are held together by determination and dedication? Dedication despite the fact that it can be a painful process – we have the freedom to come and go to classes at will but we choose to pitch up regularly, even though it often hurts. When we meet other people with the same dedication we can only respect it, especially when the common thread of dedication can come interwoven with tears. I spent a yoga holiday at Molino del Rey in Andalusia crying for three days solid. I was not alone, there were four of us crying our way through that week – one was a Hollywood star – but we were all on the same path, cracking open long locked emotion laden hips. It was one of the best holidays of my life, not just because we all learnt a Britney Spears dance routine from Miss Hollywood which we performed for Simon, but because it was the holiday that I plucked up the courage to leave my job in advertising, a job in which I’d been doing maternity cover for two women as well as my own job. I’d announced this over dinner one night to cheers from the twenty assembled women, and I wasn’t the only one to have made some progress. Miss Hollywood had kicked smoking and was ready to start a new relationship, which five years later resulted in a baby, Jenifer had decided to leave London and return to the US and Cat had got her groove back post chemo for breast cancer.
Is it because alongside the tears are laughs? As a yoga student you have to be able to handle the embarrassment of not being able to get into a pose that everyone else is seemingly managing effortlessly, to put up with spontaneous farting and being told to use ‘the other left foot’ when our concentration has lapsed.
Is it because yoga reveals the truth of who we really are? By the time yoga has finished bashing our ego into submission, there’s nowhere to hide anymore. Our bodies, much as we might want them to, can’t lie. So we might as well allow them to speak the truth and have a good laugh about it. In this lies real friendship.