Camping outdoors a few weekends ago, an old friend and her family that had joined us for the fresh air, hikes, and chats around the campfire told me the morning we were packing up and saying goodbye, “Every time I’m around you and your husband I feel like anything’s possible – I can do and accomplish anything.”
“Wow,” I replied, “that’s such a nice compliment!”
“Well, it’s true,” she said.
I gave her a hug and told her she could do anything, she didn’t need us to tell her that.
Later on, that week I was still thinking about why she felt that way around us. We don’t walk around giving motivational speeches to our friends. We are normal people, living our lives the best we can like everyone else.
When it came to my husband he has done the impossible, so I understand why she felt that way around him. When I first met him, he was barely making it through his undergrad, having yet to be diagnosed with dyslexia and having a hard time writing papers and taking tests. He had arrived at college on a music scholarship, but was clever enough to make it half way through his undergrad with a learning disability that no one had caught. Finally, he got tested and realized, no, he was not dumb, he had dyslexia. After that, there was no stopping him. He finished his undergrad, went on to get his Masters, and now even has his PhD. What many people thought was impossible for him became possible because he never gave up and refused to accept limits for his life.
But for me, I think the reason she might feel like that when we talk and get together is because I know that we, any of us, literally can do anything. I am surrounded by yoga students that achieve what was once an impossible notion for them. I get to see with my own eyes the impossible being achieved – it is part of my everyday life. The student might believe:
“Touch my toes? I have never been able to touch my toes!”
“Get my head to the floor in between my feet? Not likely!”
“Grab both feet behind me for this Bow Pose? Ha!”
“Cure my hip/knee/neck/lower spine/wrist/foot pain? Well, my doctor said…”
Sound familiar? But then maybe a few weeks into the practice, or maybe, years into the practice, the student is where they couldn’t even fathom being in a posture when they first started.
Just last week I witnessed a student grabbing both feet for the first time in Bow Pose after two years of trying. I watched her work for it every time she showed up to class. She never gave up. And it was amazing. It was inspiring. It made me believe in the process of this yoga and all it can give you when you show up day after day. I watched the impossible become possible. I get to do it every day.
So, when my friend gave me and my husband this compliment, she wasn’t really complimenting me. She was complimenting every student that has allowed me to be a part of their journey. The only way a yoga teacher can be great at what they do is to have students that are willing to give it their best – students that will think it’s impossible, but do it anyway. The teacher lights the way, but the one on the mat, doing the work, that’s what it’s all about. If you watch closely fellow teachers, the yoga student will teach you more about life’s limitless possibilities than we, as teachers, can ever inspire our students to believe.
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