None of us know how much time we will be gifted here on earth, or the quality of health we will carry through the years. I am fortunate to teach adaptive yoga to people who live inside of bodies that do not work with the ease that mine does.
The gift this brings to my life is a depth of appreciation and gratitude for the simple things my body can do. My hands unfold and grip and easily respond to the commands my mind gives them. My feet and legs move without much effort. I am not bound to or strapped in a chair with a lift to get my body to bed at night. I am not in need of assistance to bathe.
I have a client that used to walk, who desires to walk again. In the past few months she broke her femur falling from her bed, and had her hip replaced. She is working with great effort to push herself up an inch or two in her chair with her arms. One hip lifts, while the other stays behind.
Not everyone who spends their day in a chair has a desire to walk. Some simply wish for the words that they want to communicate to come out with the ease with which they think them. I have a client with Parkinson who seems to struggle in this way. His intellect shines through his green eyes. I cannot pretend to know what any of these wonderful people are hoping for. I try to imagine myself inside their bodies so that I have a better understanding of how yoga can benefit them individually. I try to meet them where they are, to build some strength, deepen their relaxation and to increase the depth of their breath.
I take pleasure in the simple things in life every time I leave these clients. Each morning my breath comes without much effort and pain. My feet hit the ground to take me where I want to go through my day. I can lift my spoon to my mouth without assistance. My thoughts carry themselves from my mind to my mouth so that people can hopefully understand what I want to relay to them.
Through this work I find I have a deeper sense of gratitude for the small things that I might otherwise take for granted. My mind, my heart and my eyes open wide as I receive more than I could possibly be giving.
As I step into the room to teach yoga and dance, I take a moment to feel grateful for my body and the ability to dance and move through space with ease. I take a moment to feel gratitude toward my students, who are a constant inspiration to my art and my growth.