The Bitch Who Shut Up, Was Me!
I want to say thank you to the woman who, in a nearly empty yoga room, put her mat almost on top of mine! Thank you for reminding me, as if life doesn’t remind us enough, that I am sometimes small and growing smaller. To you, I must have been invisible; just another old person taking up what should have been a younger person’s place.I know you don’t remember me, but I remember you. I tell my students that when I started teaching, a perky young yogi came to my very first advanced class and you offered the following advice: "We don’t want to warm up. We want to move. You can warm up the students where you teach down south, where everybody is very old (she wrinkled her nose with the thought of our extreme oldness). And you spend too much time teaching the poses. We don’t want to learn. We just want to do it.”All I could think of to say was, “shut up, bitch,” because I am from New York and that is how we do it. But instead this is what I said that day nearly five years ago: “Perhaps if you warmed up your body and listened to what I was saying, you might have had more luck hitting the peak poses.” Boooyah, one for the old people.Here it is years later and although you don't remember me, I noticed that you noticed me (and that is so not-yogi of me, but whatever). I noticed that you were trying to keep up. And my classes are growing bigger with other like-minded students, young and old, who are looking for more from their mat. They are looking for a deeper understanding of yoga.As I lay in Savasana pleasantly surprised at the strong practice I had that day (when you are as old as me, you are pleasantly surprised when you wake up in the morning so a strong practice is like hitting the lottery), I couldn’t help but think of all these really clever things to say if you were to say hello, such as, “I owe my practice to a mindful warm up.” But ha ha. You didn’t remember me at all! You didn’t say a word. But the lesson here is that neither did I. Instead of being really clever, I was silent. I was trying to figure out: Why is the Universe sending me this message, that despite how strong I've become, I am still just another yogi on the path? I am here, yet I am invisible. I am taking up space, yet I am not seen. Then I had this moment of clarity, that everything in life is one big chance to surrender yourself so you can be more. Yes, the bitch who shut up, was me.