Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Woman With One and One Half Legs

My friend, Fern, teaches yoga for all abilities.  She works with older people and not so old people who sometimes do yoga sitting in chairs and moving what they can.  When they finish class, they've had good yoga practice filled with healthy, mindful breathing, stretching and loving attention for their bodies and souls.   

The yoga studio I go to is more of the sexy-hot-pants variety.  This is unfortunate since I'm more of the fitting-into-my-pants variety, but I work with what I've got.

This morning at sexy-hot-pants yoga we practiced in a circle, each student a spoke of the wheel facing center.  Most were lithe young women.  A few people taking the class were also teachers.  I spot them not only by the quality of their movement but by the quality of their focus.  They don't follow the teacher's lead, but follow their "inner teacher", noticing what their body requires in each moment.  This morning that meant while the rest of the class was standing in Warrior I, one teacher/student was in a kneeling lunge.

This beautiful yogini had intensity and focus that made you notice.  Her practice was 100%.  She gave herself over to glory.  She also made massive adaptations to her poses.  That inspires me since the fitting-into-my-pants practice is such a work in progress.  

The beautiful yogini wore black knee length shorts.  One of her legs ended at the hem line.  She was missing the portion of her leg from the knee down.  A round plastic nub was at the bottom of her shorts. 

I've been thinking a lot about legs and motion.  Last week I happened across "Meditations from a Moveable Chair", a beautiful collection of personal essays by Andre Dubus about his life as lover, father, person of faith, writer, and accident victim/survivor.  One of his legs had been amputated and he could not use the other.  Dubus so craved the feeling of his body in motion that each morning after daily Mass he wheeled his chair around the slopes of the church parking lot for an hour while singing at the top of his lungs.  (he sang torch songs)

Thank you, Andre Dubus for your beautiful essays.  Thank you, teacher for your inspiration.