Class was getting settled, I started them out lying on the back. I was guiding them to lengthen the breath, and just as they were dropping into their practice, a tiny elderly woman in sneakers entered the room and marched directly toward me.
“I’m a hundred years old and I’m blind in one eye,” is how she greeted me. She pointed out a couple of other physical problems, told me she’d be doing her own thing.
I assured her that was A-okay with me. I was subbing the class and appreciated her letting me know about her issues.
“I’ve only been doing yoga since the sixties,” she added, one eyebrow lifted.
She rolled out her mat and got settled along with the others. She kept her sneakers on. I loved that she kept her sneakers on. Loved that she advocated for herself in this small way.
There was much she couldn’t do in this gentle slow-flow-ish class. She modified what she could, expertly, and when she couldn’t, she chose to lie on her back, on her mat.
And when I instructed arms overhead, she lifted her hands just a smidge off the floor in that direction. Every instruction I gave, she was right there. Even if it was just a pointing and flexing of her toes. I could see, with the slight direction of movements in her body, that in her mind, she was visualizing everything I was saying. She knew every yoga pose (and most sequences) by heart. Her brain neurons were firing as if her body were doing the entire physical practice.
It was quite amazing to witness.
We spoke after class and she told me more about her eye. She told me she’d lived all over the world. She asked me about my name.
I told her she had a beautiful practice.
I told her that she inspired me.