By Melody Lima
I believe that every body can practice yoga—yoga is for everyone.
There is a group of adults with disabilities I teach twice a week. We unroll yoga mats, sit down, breath, do standing poses, laugh, balance on one leg, sit down again, stretch, chant and rest. I teach this class with the same intention I teach all other classes; to share yoga with a community in the hope to make their day a little brighter. Most weeks, my day becomes a little brighter and I learn something new about people and yoga practice.
There is the student who endlessly laughs—did I laugh enough lately?
“Apple pie” yells another student with such glee it will melt ice cream—did I smile over my food today?
The shy girl who hugs me with a whisper, “I love you.” “I love you too,” I respond—who else do I need to whisper love to?
The ultra-polite student who greets me with the manners of an etiquette coach—was I kind today?
The rugged, outdoor enthusiasts who cuts wood with a chain saw—when was the last time I enjoyed and appreciated nature?
The tall athlete who cannot sit still—do I need to run free?
The sweet young man who cannot speak, but he says “down dog” and “tree pose”—am I articulating my words?
The hyper young women who is always overwhelmed and a bit nervous. I hold her hand in every class—who shall I share compassion with tomorrow?
The effervescent student who always sings and never hears a word a say—am I listening to my friends and family?
The young man who endlessly chats through his stuttering with confidence—do I face my challenges?
The sweet young lady who recites dates, weather and personal reminders “be nice today”—am I speaking my truth?
The special Olympian who always wears his medals of achievement around his neck—do I adorn myself with pride?
The eager young man who rolls up his mat with determination and says, “Thank you” with a high-five—am I grateful?
This population of students represents every walk of life. They practice yoga to the best of their ability, like the rest of us. They are not special, they are extraordinary.
Editor: Dana Gornall