By Leora Ward
I have lived on Newton Place, between Georgia and New Hampshire, for more than 5 years. In that time, I have seen the neighborhood change, restaurants come in, buildings go up. It was also during this time that Yoga Heights was born. Just one of the many changes that has taken place in the Park View neighborhood.
As I walk around the neighborhood, or sit on my porch, or talk to neighbors, my mind typically starts thinking about community. What does community mean in Washington, DC? What does it look like for those of us that grew up elsewhere? What does it require of us in neighborhoods like Park View?
Community feels important at this critical time in our nation’s history. It’s even more essential with all of the divisive and hateful politics happening just down the road.
Yoga Heights has initiated, facilitated, supported, and led community events, activities, and gatherings over the years. I am just one of many people who have supported this vision of a studio that was integrated into the community.
How do you build community in this neighborhood? What are the ways you bring people together? How do you create support systems where they don’t already exist?
More than a year ago, a small group of yogis came together and expressed a desire for a regular, casual gathering of women (and those who identify). It would be a place of togetherness to meet, discuss life’s challenges, ask questions, and delve into issues that come up in our everyday lives. From there, and with that inspiration, a monthly women’s circle was born. Women’s circle is a place to explore the chaos in our lives, meet other women, and create community in a city that often feels isolating and lonely.
Yoga Heights’ women’s circle is about community.
Women’s circle is a place to come and be with other like-minded women when you are going big, when you need to rest, when you are in transition, when you are feeling vulnerable, or powerful, or ready to change in brave new ways. It’s for you when you want to be seen, wherever you are right now. Because we have all been there. We have all had experiences of loss, grief, hope, frustration, joy, and celebration.
Each circle is focused on a topic that is informed by the group. It is participant-driven so everyone has a chance to offer wisdom, or brainstorm strategies and solutions that bring confidence or clarity to the women who attend. We also offer tangible skills, tips, and exercises for navigating life as a whole-hearted woman.
At a time when the #metoo movement is taking off and growing in strength, a second Women’s March is being organized, and we are hearing stories from survivors of violence more publicly and regularly than ever before, community is essential. With all that is going on in the world, and in our neighborhood, we need each other more than ever. We need to engage in radical self-care AND simultaneously serve and give to others.
The Yoga Heights monthly Women’s Circle is hosted by Leora Ward of Healing in Service and Leah Elliott. There is no cost to participate. It runs from 7:00 – 8:15 pm the last Sunday of every month at the Georgia Ave. studio. Sign-up on the Yoga Heights website, or just drop in.