The Value of the Kula in Challenging Times: “The Italian Kula Strategy”

By Maria Grazia Orlando

Certified Anusara® Yoga Teacher

At the 2019 Teacher’s Gathering, the Italian Kula made important decisions to support a growing and expanding community by improving its organization.

An Executive Committee formed by 3 teachers (1 Elements, 1 Inspired and 1 Certified) and the 2 Country Coordinators with the support of an ASHY organization Experienced Certified Teacher was nominated to organize and lead activities to pursue ASHY’s vision “to foster a unified community that supports and inspires all practitioners…” by giving support to all new teachers and promote Anusara expansion in the entire country besides the implementation of a new Anusara Italy website.

The team engaged in regular monthly meetings with a sincere commitment and a strong will and proposed to organize a big event in the Spring of 2020 in Rome to gather all the Italian teachers and students with the goals of providing trainings to Elements and Inspired teachers, Anusara classes to yoga practitioners in South Italy where Anusara is less known and collect some funds to support the setup of the new website. The Roman community joined the organization team to help in finding a proper site and in developing communication tools. By the end of 2019 everything was in place and in the beginning of January bookings started to arrive. The entire Italian community was enthusiastic and could not wait to participate.

Then COVID-19 cancelled all plans and the Italian lockdown brought the cancellation of the event that was postponed to 2021.  We all know what has happened in the entire world. Nevertheless, we all wanted to gather to give voice to all teachers and show that the Kula could always be a safe and stable space for all its members. A virtual meeting on Zoom was held on March 14 with a big participation of teachers from all over Italy. Some issues were discussed, and some questions were answered. At that time, we could not know how long the lockdown would be and we did not talk about ways to go through that period. The Executive Committee continued to meet to complete the project of the new website and to discuss how to foster even more the community.

As in many other countries, the Italian teachers started offering classes online to support and give light to all the people who desired it but without a common and shared schedule or plan. Then a teacher wrote to our Country Coordinators expressing a desire for online classes dedicated to the Anusara Kula and led by the Certified teachers. Our Executive Committee together with the two C.C. immediately took action. They asked all Italian Certified Teachers to offer 4 online co-taught classes in the month of June for free. We all accepted, and the classes started on Friday June 5 and will go on every Friday until the end of the month. Participants may offer a donation that will support the setup of the new website. This offer has been highly appreciated by both students and teachers and the participation numbers of the first classes have been consistent and some donations arrived already after the event announcement.

After more than a year since our 2019 Teacher’s Gathering, we can say that the idea of creating a central group of people, like a kind of mini board, that works for the Kula to be united, aligned and vibrant has been an inspired and winning idea.