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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Sometimes, people are great.

I have a wonderful job.
I get to teach Yoga and Mindfulness for a living.
It's a privilege and I am fortunate to have been patiently trained by very accepting people over the years.

At Miraval,
I am allowed to be myself (amazingly) and given a lot of room to decide how I will teach and respond to students.
Of course, there is some structure to it, as well.
Each day, I'm likely to teach a combination of classes that include asana, pranayama, meditation and lectures on mindfulness.
It still blows my mind at times, that this is my life.
Considering what a hot mess of a teacher I was at the beginning, I am pretty sure that there are a few who knew me then that are equally shocked that I'm still at it.
When it comes to major newbie mistakes to be made...I made them all!
I didn't injury anyone but I said a lot of stupid stuff and wasn't always professional.
After almost a decade of teaching yoga full time, it is nice to know that with maturity and humility, I have been able to improve as I continue along this path.
I've gained a fair amount of wisdom and become more compassionate towards myself and others.
Hooray, for that!

But today?
Well, today was special.
Today was one of those days where I got to witness just how much I've learned as a teacher and how important it is to value the trust that must happen between a student and their instructor.

In the middle of my day (between a 2 hour lecture on stress management & 2 asana classes) I got the pleasure to work with an amazing woman and her seeing eye dog, Buster.
She's in her early 60's, almost completely blind and recently started practicing yoga because "I need to take an interest in myself, for once".
She was nervous (I was, too) but also aware that she needed to move her body more,
She has only 10% of her sight left.
It started when she was only 10 years old but it did not prevent her from becoming a gymnast, having a career and raising 2 sons with the help of her husband.
Soon she will be in complete darkness. 
She knows that now is the time to learn how to be in her world fully because sooner than later she won't be able to see it.
So, we took the time to practice.
Buster sat next to her. 
Relaxed and half awake.

We did a little Yin, a little Joint Freeing Series and then she said she needed to work on her balance and get stronger.
I took a moment to think about it and asked her if she had used a wall before.
She rolled her eyes as if to say "I'm blind, what do you think?" So, I asked her to walk over to the wall and demonstrated Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon).
She very quickly said "Oh no, I can't do that".
I said "Let's just try...if nothing else you can pretend you are holding the wall up".
She was reluctant but gave it a go.

She did it.
Before her eyes could tear up...mine did, instead.
It was one of those experiences when the sweetness of triumph is freely celebrated.
I cried.
It was simple, you know?
A person puts there backside against a wall and drops their hand to the floor and lifts a leg up.
Nothing Earth shattering except it was something.
It was special.

We ended our private session shortly after.
We didn't 'do' much. 
No handstands. 
Nothing that required a hot room or a commitment to practice every single day.
What we did do was to be open to the possibilities that would allow her to feel strong, balanced and courageous.
We were willing to experience a moment of vulnerability, to be honest about it and be aware that this might reduce future hesitation.
It was just a moment but I still feel shaken by it and really can't do it justice.

Lately, I've been questioning what I am doing. Yoga is such a 'thing' these days but it is a practice and it can rip you wide open sometimes and that's fucking beautiful. 

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