Kula – Community of Choice

In Yoga class, we talk about the Sanskrit term, Kula. It means an intentional community, a community of choice, a group coming together of its own free will. This past weekend I hosted a dinner party where a dozen of us said goodbye to a friend. She is moving back to her home state of Louisiana, where she is part of another kula. Over the course of the evening, we talked about the challenges of finding community in Los Angeles. And as difficult as it can be, I believe we are each capable of creating community. Over time, a hand extended in friendship turns into a multiple hands, a group of acquaintences, and eventually, a smaller group of friends. For this dinner party, I asked my friend to make up the guest list, and as I looked around the table, I saw the sweet uniqueness of our little kula. We may never all share a meal together again, but in the moment, we created an evening of meaningful conversation, laughter, good food and wine. Each of us gained for being in each other’s company.

Yoga is as much about community, who sits at your table, as how you practice on your mat. Every class, on some level, creates community. A gesture in yoga class, an encouraging word, or glance, brings someone into your circle, your kula. The yoga community in Los Angeles is one of those places we cultivate kula. We create shared experiences, support each other, encourage each other and find community in the process.

My friend may move away, but she will always be part of the kula I hold closest to my heart. May we all continue to invite people in, to create kula on and off our mats.