One of the communities I have just started teaching in hosted a free class. It was an effort to have people come out and try yoga, to meet me as a new teacher, to see if my class might be a fit for them. Usually there are about twenty people in a class. The free class surprised us as people came out in droves. We had to move to a big ballroom. I had to teach from a stage so they could all see and hear me.
These were mostly retired folks with a wide sweeping range in ability levels. I kept the class simple.
Some had never tried yoga before. I reminded them if they only kept breathing mindfully, they were doing just fine. They were practicing yoga.
I reminded them to listen to their own bodies and take a break whenever it was right for them. That no one is “good” at yoga, and no one is “bad” at yoga. It meets you right where you are and gives you just what you need.
In a large group it is impossible to keep your eyes on every student all the time, but one in particular struggled. I did what I could to make sure she was safe.
After class she came up to me. She had some physical challenges that made it hard for her. She asked, with tears in her eyes,
“Did I do okay?”
Of course, I reassured her. But I didn’t have the exact right words at the ready to express what was in my heart.
“Did I do okay?” Isn’t that the big question for all of us? When we look back at our lives, isn’t that what we’ll be wanting to know?
People living with disability or physical impairments, or even just beginners are working SO MUCH HARDER than others, and often at the same time beating themselves up for not being able to do this, that or the other thing, (yoga or not) like everyone else.
Having those very real human emotions, feeling defeat and doubt, working through tears, but showing up anyway. This inspires me. This is honorable and courageous.
I wish I had thought to tell her that.