Moving together makes us strong…and gives us pleasure. I would argue that it also protects us, in ways that are difficult to explain.
Heather and I had the opportunity to visit Bikram Teacher Training (TT) last week. We went for two reasons: to visit our friend and trainee, Michelle Ballard, and to recertify.
And we came away reenergized and inspired.
One of the very best things about Teacher Training is the experience of practicing together in a group of more than 400 yogis. Even though conditions are uncomfortable at best (i.e. smelly)–and brutal (i.e. scorching) at worst–there is an amazing rush that comes from moving together. It’s astonishing and uplifting to move in synchrony with so many other people, many of whom are strangers from completely different walks of life. Somehow, it seems to make us stronger.
‘What is contained in a human that will not emerge until we are all interconnected?. The most unexpected things will brew,’ says Kevin Kelly in his book Out Of Control, which explains the science of social systems (and emergent group behaviors such as ‘hive mind’.)
Senior teacher Chris Fluck agrees. ‘Sometimes when I’m teaching a very large class…say 75 or 80 people, especially in the summer, when the conditions in the room get very intense…I’m amazed how everybody pulls through..nobody gives up.’
He continues, ‘It’s much easier to teach a new student who is participating in a large class than it is to teach someone new in a small class.’
Author, neurologist and musician Oliver Sacks talks about the ‘power of doing’. He says that moving with other people, sharing movement, can be deeply healing. That it can help people move more easily through the tasks of daily living. And that repeated movement (procedural or performance memory) affects us deeply and connects us to our emotion and our subconscious.
“We need to transcend, transport, escape; we need to see over-all patterns in our lives. And we need freedom (or, at least, the illusion of freedom) to get beyond ourselves, whether with telescopes and microscopes and our ever-burgeoning technology, or in states of mind that allow us to travel to other worlds, to rise above our immediate surroundings.
We may seek, too, a relaxing of inhibitions that makes it easier to bond with each other, or transports that make our consciousness of time and mortality easier to bear. We seek a holiday from our inner and outer restrictions, a more intense sense of the here and now, the beauty and value of the world we live in.” -Sacks
Moving together satisfies something primal within us. And it feels great!
‘We dance together. We sing together. We take pleasure in synchronizing,’ says Steven Strogatz in his Ted Talk The Science of Sync
Spontaneous order, moving together, is one of the most pervasive urges in nature. Fish do it. Birds do it. Bugs do it. So do we!
Check out Stogatz’s explanations in the video below. Then come to class! It will make you stronger. Happier. Healthier. Physically, mentally, emotionally.