As you may already know, I’m in the middle of my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. It’s been quite a ride, and it’s only just getting started. I have so many post ideas swirling in my head after every session (don’t worry, they’ll be coming your way sooner or later!), but this past weekend one of our trainers said something that resonated deeply with me. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought it would be perfect to share now.
This particular trainer is endlessly inspiring as a yoga teacher and as a person — joyous and supportive and giving, even if you only know him for a single class. He’s also a contortionist, which means he can do the craziest and coolest things with his body. During one session, he explained to us that growing up, he had been surrounded by people with disabilities — his best friend had lost both of his hands, he had an uncle in a wheelchair, his mother worked regularly with people whose motion was limited in one way or another. These circumstances, he explained, caused him to grow up with an incredible amount of gratitude for what he had — a body that worked, a body that moved — and that gratitude spurred him to do the most that he could with that. “My friend was tying his shoes with his teeth,” he explained. “How could I not try to do everything I could with the hands I was so lucky to have?” Now he stands on his hands. Walks on them. Heals with them, as much as he can.
Around this time of year, we get a lot of reminders to be grateful. To give thanks for what we have rather than focusing on what we don’t have. A worthy reminder, to be sure, but I challenge us all to take that one step further and do something with that gratitude, that thankfulness. To make it count, to let it spur us onto something greater, something more. Show you are grateful for your capable body by working it, testing it, using it — show you are grateful for your capable mind by dreaming, planning, creating. Use your gratitude as my instructor does, to inspire those around you.
It really changes everything.