Daily lesson from January 18, 2013: (Teach the teacher)
Mindfulness. Gratitude. Powerful words. But I confess, it seems to me that today, these words are thrown around so randomly (a late night infomercial pushing hair removal had an ingratiated spokeswoman screaming “gratitude!! for her baby soft skin) to such degree, I find myself sighing every time I see or hear them. On Facebook. Dr. Oz. Health and wellness apps. Even the ‘hair be gone’ infomercial (or some silly brand).
But two amazing students this morning, with different experiences, and for different reasons, shared personal stories that drove the importance of mindfulness and gratitude home for me.
Student ‘A’ was new to my class, and wanted to make me aware that, in the spirit of practicing mindfulness, she would be backing WAY off any and all back openers, since she tweaked her lower spine a month ago trying to push her way into a too-deep version of wheel. No excuses, no whining about how she wished it didn’t happen or how it set her back. Just a declaration, with a big grateful smile, that today’s class would be an even greater opportunity for her to practice mindfully.
Student ‘B’ is a regular, and always enters the studio with a giant smile and positive energy that is infectious. I hadn’t seen her the past few classes, and heard from another regular she’d been suffering from the flu. She made it today, big smile and energy to share, albeit with a stash of tissues and slower practice. After class she shared that the flu challenged her attitude and played on her moods, but she chose to be grateful that the flu was temporary. She chose to be grateful for a healthy body that is healing and working toward a full recovery.
Thank you ladies. In thinking back on an injury I suffered last summer (strained serratus anterior), I would have done well to replace grimacing through painful chatturangas with mindfulness and gentler modifications to this strenuous pose. I would have done well to be grateful for my body’s ability to heal and rebuild, and given it the proper rest it needed to recover from a painful injury. It eventually did, but took longer than necessary because I allowed my ego and impatience to get in the way, thus impeding the healing process.
Hair removal? Perhaps during my next bout of insomnia I’ll come across that infomercial again and find a connection between gratitude and baby soft skin. Nah, probably not.