December 2 – reverb11 – Sangha (Community)

Via Michelle Margaret Fajkus
on Dec 1, 2011
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Where have you discovered community in 2011? What are the defining characteristics and essential qualities of your tribe?

Community comes in a plethora of forms, and the people we choose to surround ourselves with matter a lot. Communities can be found online as well as in the flesh. Locally and internationally. Intimately small and mind-bogglingly grand. So, who’s in your clan? Where do you bond with kindred spirits? Who are your kinfolk?

Simply being with other people who are also seekers and who are involved in the same quest you are is very meaningful. ~Dan Wakefield

p.s. Just joining us? Read the Reverb11 instructions.

p.p.s. It’s never too late to answer the December 1 prompt.


About Michelle Margaret Fajkus

Michelle Margaret is a Gemini yogini, writer, teacher and retreat leader who founded Yoga Freedom in 2002 in Austin, Texas. Her home since 2012 is Lake Atitlán, Guatemala where she lives in a tiny eco cabin with her Colombiano partner and their adorable daughter, dog and two gatos. Michelle has been writing this column for elephant journal since 2010 and has written some inspiring books, with more on the way. She leads yoga and mindfulness retreats and serves as the retreat managers for the stunningly beautiful Villa Sumaya on majestic Lago Atitlan. Her lineage is the very esoteric Yoga Schmoga, which incorporates hatha yoga asana, dharma (Buddhist) teachings, pranayama (breath work), yin yoga, mindfulness practices and meditation. Join Michelle on retreat in Guatemala!


11 Responses to “December 2 – reverb11 – Sangha (Community)”

  1. Ben_Ralston says:

    "Communities can be found online as well as in the flesh."

    Michelle – can they though? Isn't community something that is so, so missing in modern Western society that we grasp for it online? But isn't real community about flesh and blood relationships – shared experience, food, children, and working towards common goals? Only the last one can be found (in a limited way perhaps) an online community to my knowledge?

    Establishing (or perhaps joining) an intentional, sustainable, and ethical community is one of my life dreams. I don't see it having really much to do with the internet though.

  2. Ben_Ralston says:

    "Communities can be found online as well as in the flesh."

    Can community be found online? In some very limited way, I know, but real community – I think that we are so starved of real community in modern Western society that we grasp for it on the internet (hence the meteoric rise of Social Media)… but isn't real community all about shared experience, building towards common goals, food, children, land, growing old in a space of support and wisdom?

    One of my life goals is to establish, or join, an intentional, sustainable, ethical community. I honestly don't see that the internet has much to do with it!

  3. yoga freedom says:

    Hey Ben,
    Well, Elephant Journal is a prime example of a pretty vibrant online community and there are many others out there. You're right, it's clearly limited when compared to in-person community. There's nothing like a face-to-face meeting of the minds. I have found social networks and the blogosphere to be a nice complement to my "real" community.
    Thanks for your thought-provoking comment!
    Namaste, Michelle

  4. yoga freedom says:

    I’m grateful for the growing, laughing community of Guatemalan and expat yogis and yoginis who come to my yoga classes and retreats here in Guatemala. I’m grateful for my colleagues at school; when you teach eighth grade, you need a strong network of supportive, sane adults around you and I’m lucky to have that. I’m grateful for my wonderful family and network of cherished friends, old and new.

    Lastly, I’m grateful for my Yoga as Muse TRIBE. Being a writer can be lonely. Writing is innately a sole proprietorship. So it’s refreshing and rewarding to connect with such a likeminded, forward-thinking, change-making community of creatives. (Read the rest:

  5. Doe says:

    "and I thank the Lord for people I have found, I thank the Lord for the people I have found." the other EJ-Elton John.
    I am so blessed to finally be surrounded by people that "get" me, like me, enjoy my company. My tribe is spiritual, accepting, fun. Sometimes they are scattered and keeping in touch online the only way to go, but whenever the opportunity presents itself we flock to each other and that is probably my favorite part of this tribe.

  6. Valerie Carruthers says:

    This past year has loosened up any previous concept of "community" I may have been holding onto. It now includes the staff, patients and their families at the nursing home where my husband has been a resident for the past year and a half. It includes various "spiritual" sanghams I attend for programs of meditation and/or chanting and sharing. And last but certainly not least, it includes EJ, an ever expanding community where I can contribute my views and learn what so many hearts and voices have to say about Yoga as a practice, a culture and a profession (for starters).

    To a large extent, the nursing home has provided an extended clan, albeit one in which there is much coming and going of members. Staff changes but also patients' departures and passings. Apart from being an ever-present lesson in non-attachment it's a powerful reminder of the fragility of life and the immanence of death.

    As for defining characteristics/essential qualities of my tribe it would at least be: Mutual respect for where each of us is on our journeys, non-attachment, serving humanity, discovering and evolving our visions and our voices and plenty of LOVE.

  7. shannon says:

    I love my yoga community. Anyone I meet who wants to discuss yoga and wellness then hey, you're in my club as far as I'm concerned.

  8. My in the flesh tribe and online tribe have a lot of overlap…funny enough, I keep finding out that people I know in different circles know each other! I think the online sangha can be tricky at times. It would be easy to only show our best self, or parts of our selves. But what's the fun in that?! I guess what it comes down to is being my authentic self all the time. When I do that, the people who should be in my life will be!

    Dr. Seuss said it better than me though:

  9. Colleen says:

    I am rocking the January reverb11, and I believe better late than never. See my post, we are all dependent on one another: