It seems paradoxical that the practice of yoga, which is designed for relationship with oneself can often times have its greatest rewards when experienced in the company of others. The Sanskrit name for this phenomenon is Satsang—usually translated as "truth-company" or being in the company of the wise. Satsang, according to several texts of yoga, is one of the great doorways to inner freedom. A group practicing together creates a mystical field, a field of grace. It is within this field that inspiration is sparked, creativity is enriched and healing and happiness are given freedom.
For myself, collectiveness has been a pathway that has led me down many amazing roads of self-discovery. I've adored the feeling that contemporary philosopher Ken Wilber calls the "we-space"—that state of unity and love that arises when a group of people give themselves over to selfless emotions. At such moments, the pain of separateness melts away, egos stand aside, and we are able to enter into a shared heart-space that is the deepest possible evidence of our interconnectedness. This mutual self-reflection, he goes on to say, happens when a group focuses as one—particularly in spiritual practice, but also during a performance of music or dance.
Last spring Cheryl Sherry approached me with the idea of attempting to break the world record yoga chain of 690 plus people. I paused and then had to admit, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” She explained that a yoga chain was yoga mats laid out in a continuous line one after another. The guidelines were that we had to complete three yoga poses total and they had to be performed in a “domino” like fashion one after another. She was aiming for 1000 plus people. Myself, and others recruited to help organize were the least skeptical. Yet this woman persevered. She spent countless hours organizing and promoting a yoga and wellness day and we all rallied behind her. On the day of the event things were happening but on a smallish scale. Yoga classes had about a dozen participants and the streets of downtown had its usual number of people dining and strolling along. As the time ticked closer to attempt to break the world record it wasn’t looking too good. Then something magical happened as the people of Fernie came down from the hills.
Cheryl Sherry described the event in the following way: “At 2:40pm, just 20 minutes before we were due to make the attempt, there were probably only 200 people on 2nd Ave, but suddenly at 3pm the streets filled up with 600 people lined up for the world record attempt, an enormous number for a tiny downtown. Each individual person that showed up contributed towards almost breaking a world record – a record set in India where 1.2 billion people reside! Imagine how this converts to people power for any given cause – environmental issues, for example. Each and every one of us can make a difference, and this world record attempt has shown that.”
In the end, we were shy by less than 100 people. However in true yogic fashion this result was not seen as a failure but a true success. On July 12 at 4pm downtown Fernie will host the second attempt at breaking the world record yoga chain. For those not pre-registered ahead of time they can do so on the day of beginning at 2 pm on the main street tent location. Guinness World Records has many strict guidelines in order to qualify so it is important that participants are on time, have a mat if possible, and patience is appreciated.
This year we have expanded the Fernie Feel Good to a free full weekend event. Three separate yoga stations (Station Square, City Hall and main street) will offer classes throughout both Saturday and Sunday beginning at 9am. Downtown will host wellness seminars, vendors, artists, kids performances and much more. The Saturday post record attempt celebration will pour into the evening with yoga centring at Station Square (Art’s Station) for Yoga with Live Music, trance dance, yoga movement, fire spinning and more. Make sure you save the date, get your free wristband, bring your yoga mat and come out and celebrate community in style!
Visit www.feelgoodfernie.com for additional details.