April 10, 2011

Yoga Bloggers Band Together on Twitter #YIOM.

In January of this year, as I was reflecting on the connections with other yoga bloggers I had made via twitter, I started to feel that we need an online “event” to bring us together and draw attention to yoga and yoga blogs.  I had participated in or followed other month-long blogging efforts (like NaNoWriMo and VeganMoFo), so I knew how these events promote both self-evolution and a coordinated community effort.

With all of this in mind, I started floating the idea to a few other yoga bloggers, who were enthusiastic about the concept.  At that point, I brainstormed a name, we established the date as April, some fabulous bloggers helped me spread the word, and YIOM (“Yogis Inspiring Oneness Month”) was born (and I have to tell you it was far less painful than other things I’ve birthed).

The basic idea of YIOM is that, during this month-long celebration of the online yoga community, a group of 26 (so far) yoga bloggers have agreed to attempt to blog each day about some aspects of yoga.

The blogs all vary.  Some are about an asana that struck a chord that day.  Some address the philosophy, history, current issues of yoga.  Some focus on meditation. Some share the trials and tribulations of being a yogi, and of being a yogi in combination with other life roles. Various yoga types are also represented.

There are few rules beyond the agreement to blog regularly and the overriding goal of sharing yoga with one another and with others, in order to illuminate the beauty of how yoga practice aids us in creating peace, unity, and oneness.

Thais, author of Living in the (k)Now describes the idea beautifully saying, “We live in a fragile ecosystem and essentially, we are all one. We all breathe, live, love, as one. By blogging together, we are reinforcing this idea that change happens one breath at a time.”

The blogs of YIOM vary from serious to hysterical, from sublime to grounded, from reverent to rollicking.  It’s a veritable smorgasbord of yoga.  In one day of YIOM, you can read inspiring gems like this from lissabliss:

I need to claim my power and let go of the past and fully embrace myself and my life. I am not my past. I am not my future. I am this present moment, this present breath, and I am capable of anything in this present space.

And then click along and find yourself snorting at Robyn’s (Philosophy Fitness) story:

Oh, I thought I looked so cute in my new cozy gear. That was until I’m in seated cobblers pose right in the beginning of class and I look down to find… Well… A peep hole in the crotch of said leggings. To add insult to injury, I started to sweat during the tough class – and in all the wrong creases. (I’m going to let you read the rest on her blog, because it’s too funny to split into bits)

Just like in a face-to-face community, you never know what conversation you’ll drop in on or what it will bring to your day or your life.

As I discussed in a recent post on TheVeganAsana, I see this process as the creation of a yoga sangha.  In Buddhist practice, a sangha is the sacred community of ordained (or pre-ordained) monks and nuns.  Sanghas support members in their worship, allow them to grow through interaction with like-minded others, and provide a resource for those not in the sangha to gain understanding of the principles and practices of Buddhism.

Similarly, a yoga sangha can provide members with a yogic “home base” from which they can branch out into yoga in a variety of paths that feel new, always retaining that connection back to the stability of the group.

Frequently, we create yoga sanghas through our face-to-face relationships with others who practice in our studio or gym, through connections to a particular guru or school of yoga, etc.  But, now, with the array of social media available to us, we can create such a community with others not just in our local community, but throughout the world.

It is my hope that YIOM helps us to do just that, as it also provides a lot of wonderful food for thought, information, inspiration, laughter, and enjoyment along the way – not only for the enrolled members, but for anyone seeking to learn about yoga.

Thus far, it appears to be a success.  As Terra of Moving Only Foward wrote: I have to say, all of the blogs you have been sharing for YIOM…wow!!!  I seriously have learned so much. I now am trying to remind myself every day; yoga is not just about asana.”

I believe that the connections and relationships built through this month will extend beyond the end of YIOM.  By the end of YIOM, connections will be made between the participants and other bloggers, as well as readers, which will create opportunities for cross-posting, guest posts, and possibly even a “best of YIOM” site.  My hope is that we will continue this process again in 2012 and the sangha will grow even more.

You can learn more about YIOM, follow the bloggers participating, and catch up with our twitter feeds at http://theveganasana.com/YIOM.

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