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If You Feel Like a Weird Yoga Alien…

Joining or starting a “sangha” can support your personal growth.

Heal
Illustration of dolls doing yoga

Yoga Ladies by Aya Kakeda

A few years ago, renowned yoga teacher and author Cyndi Lee moved from New York City to Lynchburg, Virginia, where she didn’t know a soul aside from her now husband. “I didn’t have anything in common with anybody,” she recalls. “I was just a weird yoga alien in the middle of conservative central Virginia.”The author of Yoga Body, Buddha Mind hung out her shingle. To her delight, “people came out of the woodwork. They were like, ‘Thank you so much. We are so happy [your studio] is here.’” It didn’t take long for committed students to become a family of sorts—the sort that yogis and Buddhists call sangha. “They all love each other now,” Lee says. “They inspire each other. If somebody feels like they’re going to crap out, the others help them. For some people in places like this, it’s almost a lifeline.”Sangha is often translated as “spiritual family,” “spiritual community,” or “good company.” It’s a group of people trying to live by certain shared principles, striving to become the best version of themselves, and supporting each other in that effort.For all the millions of people streaming into yoga studi …

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