Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The why

To say I became a yoga instructor because I love yoga is too simple.

My first yoga class was in Vermont and it was impossible. I could barely forward bend. I could barely cobra. And downward dog was a disaster. Something about it had me intrigued however, I think maybe it was the instructor telling me I could do it. Reminding me that with my breath, all things were possible. And also saying that yoga was the hardest thing in the world--harder than throwing the winning pitch or winning a nobel peace prize. Yoga was so hard because it was real. It was breath, movement and soul all wrapped up.

I fancied myself a yogini after one class. I entertained myself by attempting handstands and crow. I took yoga classes all over the place--where ever I lived, I yoga-ed, sporadically. Then Lily got sick and I abandoned it all completely. Then Mike reminded me that I had a yoga mat and a book of baby yoga. His simple reminder changed everything.

We did the simplest yoga poses with Lily. Poses for newborns and nearly newborns that required nearly no physical participation. Lily could barely move. We could not pick her up without her crying. Her vertigo was so bad that even turning her over in bed would cause her to scream and try to fall asleep and vomit. It was heartbreaking. But then everyday, we did yoga. The three of us, on my purple mat on the Oncology floor at CHOP. And then one day, after her final brain surgery for a shunt placement, Lily woke up from the anesthesia crawling and writhing in bed. My girl was back. She could crawl, she attempted to sit and she was feisty. Lily somehow reconnected her body with her mind and her spirit.

I really felt like I witnessed some sort of miracle. Then months later, I started back into my yoga practice and working with my own body. A few times, I felt the connection--I felt my mind linking with my spine that was bending into cobra and it was as if my soul was opening. It was perfection for a split second.

There are times when I teach that I witness a student find the same connection. It is amazing. They just get it in Warrior 1 or I can see them relax into downward dog, like it is an old friend. It is a miracle; this mind-body-spirit connection. So, that is why I am a yoga instructor. I am hungry to witness miracles.

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