This year marks my 9th year of involvement in a local yoga community in Jakarta. It’s a totally nonprofit community that grows purely organically. As one of the witnesses in the early phase besides the founder himself, I was proud enough to see how the community has thrived in all these years. I still recall one weekend when things were not so bright. It was post savasana (corpse pose) bliss that I experienced under the morning sunlight after I had a quite depressing week at work. It was just a nice person behaving badly under the spell of hormonal imbalance, I guessed. And it was more than enough to ruin my work mood.
In my hometown, I’d never been involved in a community. In fact, I had always avoided the world of organization or community whenever possible. I hated being appointed a member in an organization as it brought so many social responsibilities. I’ve been always an introvert so getting too social is a lot of ‘work’. I always felt what I had was just enough and never wanted to ask for more.
Yet, in this yoga community I feel a totally different sensation. I came into yoga through the community, and it makes me a lot like home to practice here. In this social, super supportive circle.
The first and foremost, it was because I got into the community on my own will. Unlike in the past, I participate because I voluntarily signed up for it. It was never obligatory, compulsory, or such. I had made a decision to be committed to the community and whenever I feel like I’m not being social, I am not made to attend or join. And I’ve experienced many times when I had a bad week, going to the park and seeing the yoga community turned out to lift my mood up. And this is a very genuine feeling that is beyond transactional terms.
Getting involved in a community has led me to another world of opportunities that I’d never imagined before. Such as, making new friends, getting a lot of new acquaintances, and sometimes – unexpectedly – a number of professional opportunities for my development. To me, it was more than my own expectation as I started joining it not because of any possible rewards but more because of self development.
Getting involved in a community that is diverse in terms of the member composition also allows me to acquire better social skills. This is absolutely beneficial to balance my introvertedness, which sometimes can bring me trouble than benefits.
Getting involved in a community makes me feel liberated
Because I have time for others, I feel like I have more time for myself, too. Research shows that volunteers feel they have more time. In other words, the more you give, the more you have. It might be illogical and doesn’t make sense but — unlike economic, transactional activities in our life — giving has its own logic, don’t you think?
Getting involved in a community helps me acquire new skills
We’re getting transactional here. When we talk about self development, of course we turn a little bit more self-centered. But it’s unavoidable, really. Based on the research finding published in Stanford Social Innovation Review, skill-based volunteerism is a golden opportunity for employers to hone new skills of their employees and executives, which are essential in career development.
Getting involved in a community aids me to stay healthy and fit
Being an active member of a community, a report says, helps us to stay healthy as they are said to have “lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life”. Isn’t it fantastic? Besides, what I join is a yoga community so obviously enough I can never be more healthier than now!
Getting involved in a community helps amass more experience of life and work
In a tightly-knit community, I can see multitude people from various walks of life. More often than not, they have life and jobs that I have never familiar with before. From chats, I can usually see their foreign perspectives towards life events and this is very interesting and stimulating in every possible way.
Be prepared for any opening of amazing opportunity doors that can catch you off guard. I sometimes run into people who needs my skills in these community meetups, and this is not made up. They come to me naturally. It’s a totally genuine and real example of word-of-mouth marketing method.
And if you’re looking for work, getting involved in a community may be a good idea to fill up your scanty resume. Without having to be pompous!
Getting involved in a community makes you happier
Feeling low about life or demotivated after a recent massive life failure? Be happy with only joining a community. A study conducted by London School of Economics discovered that volunteers are happier when they do more for the community. It does make sense as getting involved actively in a community builds empathy and social ties, which eventually leads to a more meaningful life.
How about you? Have you joined a local community around you and make your life more meaningful in 2019? (*/)