Did you know, 30 July is the UN international day of friendship? We believe that friendship is the starting point for us to feel connection with our wider communities. We also think that life with yoga and friends is sweeter. Read on to find out how you can celebrate the international day of friendship with yoga.
A Culture of Peace
In 1997 the UN approved a proposal to celebrate an international day of friendship to promote a culture of peace and non-violence. As yogis we know that non-violence or ahimsa is a core value of yoga, and is one that informs our shared spirit of human solidarity. Yoga allows us to live our lives in a peaceful way and teaches us to react to other people in a spirit of friendship. We’re taught in yoga to focus on our own path or practice and not to worry about how others might be prospering, but instead to celebrate their good fortune when it comes. These values are what makes yogis great friends. More than this, though, did you know that having strong friendships is beneficial for your health? We think yoga and friends is a winning combination.
Why is friendship good for you
A study carried out by Duke University demonstrated that having friends can reduce your levels of stress and strengthens your heart health. The study examined a thousand people suffering from cardio-vascular disease over a five-year period. Both friendship and physical exercise had similar benefits but at the end of the five years, half the people without friends had died but 85% of those with friends had shown improvement in their health. In 2010, UK scientists compiled 148 studies on the relationship between friendship and health. The researchers were checking for consistency in results and the total study involved 300,000 people in total! The results overwhelmingly showed that people with friends live longer.
How to be a good friend
So how do you apply what you learn in yoga to be a better friend? There are some key tools that you will be practicing on your mat every day that will help you to be a great friend. First of all, be really present when you are with your friends. This is the one thing that people report at valuing the most about a friend – someone who listens, doesn’t judge and doesn’t try and fix but is present.
Our lives are increasingly busy, so whilst we have more tools at our disposal for connecting with our friends, we don’t always create the opportunity to spend quality time with our friends. This can however, be extremely fulfilling for everyone involved and it needn’t be a big deal. Sharing a cold drink in the part when the weather is hot or just letting your friend you are thinking of them will make both of you feel great. If your friend is going through a difficult time and you’re not sure how you can help; don’t feel you have to try and offer a solution or be nervous of reaching out. Let them know you are thinking of them and offer support.
Once you start thinking of ways you can connect with your friends in a meaningful way, you won’t be able to stop! At this time of year, one of our favourite things to do with our friends is to head outdoors with our yoga mats for some fun yoga.
Yoga with Friends
Yoga with friends is always sweeter and we think that it also helps you to be accountable. If you are able to, why not make a regular time to meet with your friends to catch up, chat and do some yoga. If you’re looking for inspiration of what to do, why not choose one of our courses or challenges to work through? Our Move More: Summer Move List is perfect for this time of year or maybe you want to do something fun together? Have you tried partner yoga? Robin’s fun partner class is a great place to start and if you want more, you can explore our acro yoga section.
Partner yoga is more than an excuse for a loved-up valentine’s day class at your local studio. There are loads of benefits to pairing up and using your friend’s body as a prop in yoga. Partner yoga poses add resistance and are helpful in allowing you to achieve longer and deeper holds. As with many things that you experience with friends, partner yoga is a way to develop trust, experience familiar things in an unfamiliar way and it helps you to become a better communicator. Partner yoga relies on good communication and you will learn to give and pick up on both verbal and non-verbal cues. Finally, partner yoga helps you to build trust.
As ever, let us know how you get on in the movers group and how your yoga helps you to deepen your friendship.