everyBODY has a story

Each of us has a story. I have always been fascinated with people’s stories – I find them inspiring and moving. And heartbreaking and frustrating. They give me courage and motivation. I think people’s stories are what connects us to others. And connection to others is one of the most important things we have as humans.

I read a quote by Brene Brown recently “You share with the people who have earned the right to hear your story.” I am honored that my students are willing to share their stories with me. And that they are willing to let me share their yoga story with you.

Each month, I will interview one of my students and have them tell their story…. how they came to yoga and what yoga has done for them and the story of their body. And whatever else they may want to share. As a yoga teacher, I have the privilege and honor of hearing their stories and witnessing stories as they unfold. I have been inspired and touched by each of them; I think you will be too.

“Yoga is my glass of wine”

Kathy Harris is my first student story. Kathy is an incredibly creative and talented quilter and I came to know her through the Tucson Quilt Guild. She is so open and willing to share her talents, answer my beginner quilting questions and give me feedback. I am in awe every time I see one of her quilts. At one of our meetings early this year, I mentioned that I was teaching yoga and Kathy signed up. And so began Kathy’s yoga practice.

Kathy was born with hips that didn’t quite fit into her hip sockets – “not built correctly” as Kathy described it to me (though I would say “built uniquely Kathy”). The thing is, she didn’t know this until she was 40 years old! Her mom told her after she was 40 and had 2 kids that she was built uniquely. As a child, the Dr. told her mom Kathy should never have kids. And shouldn’t do sports. Since she didn’t know she “wasn’t supposed to” Kathy did sports and ran and had 3 kids. It wasn’t until Kathy started having knee issues and leg pain that her mom decided to mention her hips were built uniquely. She backed off on running and other impact sports, thinking there wasn’t much in terms of exercise she could do.

 

She had heard people talk about yoga and knew what yoga was. She thought yoga looked nice, but SHE couldn’t do it. “I pictured yoga as having to be upside down. I thought of it as being its own world. Yoga was for young, flexible women wearing spandex who walked confidently into a studio and knew exactly what to do when the instructor talked in Sanskit. I felt like I didn’t belong in that world. I’m klutzy, I have arthritis and I definitely don’t speak Sanskit.” She watched “wistfully from the sidelines” as others did yoga, thinking she would never be able to participate. << Does any of this sound familiar to any of you?? >>

 

The first class Kathy came to was in my home, with 2 other students and she says she “was hooked” after that. “There wasn’t a big mystery any longer. It didn’t hurt and it felt good and I could do it!”

Kathy has been practicing yoga weekly with me for about 6 months now, and she rarely misses a class. She puts it in her calendar and schedules around it. She has benefited not only from the asanas (poses) but from the stillness and breathing practices we do. “I have an inner pride from how much I have learned and how much I have progressed from my first class. It’s my own thing that I do just for me. I also learned how to better calm my mind and be still. I remind myself all the time now to breathe, slow down and ‘inhale the crown of the head to the sky and grow tall in the spine’ – I have the tools to use anytime I need them.

Kathy gave up alcohol right after she turned 40. She remembers well that mellow feeling she got from a glass of wine. At 63, it had been over 20 years since she had that easy, mellow feeling from her glass of wine. As she was driving home after her first yoga class, she felt that mellow feeling again, and gets that sense of mellowness now from yoga. As Kathy tells others “Yoga is my glass of wine”!

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