One person showed up, which could have been my worst nightmare because how can you get a good momentum going with just one other? Yet it turned out to be a dream. She needed yoga at this moment in her life, and I was able to tailor the class to her: no headstands because she was too frazzled, and careful hamstring stretches because of an injury she was nursing.
When I felt a little nervous because this person was very experienced with movement, dance and yoga, I breathed into serving this student, feeling my way into this class with my own opening heart, and sending kindness to my scared bits. My breath led me to toss aside a poem I planned to read about finding God in our hearts and instead, talk about opening ourselves and our lives. I read a short Jane Kenyon poem, “Three Times My Life Has Opened,” in which Kenyon speaks of deep loss, great love, and the times our lives open completely. “You will know what I'm talking about, or you will not,” Kenyon writes.
When I finished the poem, this student had tears in her eyes. “Thank you so much,” she said. “That was about my life.”
We went through the rest of the class, unfolding and reaching, strengthening and twisting, opening and listening. At the end, we lay side by side in legs on wall, and breathed together in the noon light of this winter day.
When it was over, the student asked me to see the poem. That’s when she told her she had lost her husband two years before, and was going through a difficult time. Her life was open to the root, and being able to do yoga at this moment helped her remember her branches and blossoms.
Today a mother and her 26-year-old son came. The music I brought—I tend to bring a soundtrack combining the usual yoga music suspects (Krishna Das, Deva Premal) along with folk, jazz ballads, world music and an occasional show tune—included the Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s “Music for a Found Harmonium.”
The mother told me after class that she had recorded this song on a cassette when she was pregnant with her son, and played it throughout her pregnancy, even during her labor. To have this song playing while she did yoga with her grown son, a vibrant young man, filled her heart. Hearing this story filled mine too.