A letter to the student who taught me.
I see you every week, tall, statuesque, beautiful, bronze skin with sparkling eyes. I see you with your colorful bandana, geometric printed yoga pants with a broad smile. I see you at the back of the class, getting on your mat, breathing and stretching like all the other students. I see your grace, your fall, your victory and your struggle. Your sweat gleams, your brows knit, your focus
I am humbled when I learn you were paralyzed from your waist down, and have been fighting three different auto immune diseases, and your body has not been very kind towards you. And yet, I sense gratitude for what you have been able to overcome and fight. I sense a true exalted spirit who in her simple way, shows that life is not fair, never fair, and we do what we can to live it in a lets not mess it up more, possible way. I am humbled that you tell me your story simply without any drama or hyperbole, without any need of sympathy or commiseration from an outside agency.
I can wiggle my toes now, you exclaim, and show me your yoga socks that you bought from Ross, giggling at the paltry sum you paid for a good brand. And it’s this simplicity that touches me. The simplicity of talking about being able to wiggle your toes and a bargain for socks together in the same sentence using the same tone. The beautiful simplicity of that proclamation is an ignition to me as a teacher. The spark is lit again, inside, as a teacher of Yoga, for in that moment, I learn what it means. It means, that the body is a mere manifestation of a spirit that doesn’t give up. It means we condition our body, tone our muscles, strengthen our core, lengthen our spine but at the end of the day we work on and live in our spirit.
I love Yoga, you say, and I look forward to this because I know I am getting stronger, and my balance has improved tremendously. And at that moment, I have learned more from you than you will ever learn from me. Thank you for teaching me, that the spirit is greater than the body, that a will to overcome life’s struggles is the biggest weapon in one’s arsenal and that Ross has a good collection of Yoga socks. I look forward to learning more next week.