Last Thursday, I was teaching yoga at a local retirement community. I have to say I rather love the folks who come to the class. They are an eclectic group of women who are mostly in their late 70s or 80s. As you can imagine even without trying they have wisdom to share.
Betty, a new participant last week, was a little hesitant about this whole yoga thing. Often I saw her crossing her arms over her chest.
There was a time not all that long ago that I would’ve been upset by this and started really hustling to try to “make her” like yoga. But I’ve picked up some skills in the last 6 months and a really helpful one is that body language says a lot. Arms crossed is a primary sign of feeling unsure, unsafe. Instead I chose to meet that posture, pun intended, with compassion and encouragement. Also when she found things that she wanted to do in a pose that were harder, I made sure to bolster that enthusiasm in her and the others.
It was a powerful group of women that day as one was proudly sporting a T-shirt in support of a candidate she canvassed for in the most recent election and further shared her ardent admiration for Ruth Bader Ginsburg. RBG and her workout routine has a cult following that even found its way into my random yoga class. I told you, wisdom all around.
After class, Betty kept saying, “I have lots to learn” about yoga and some of the things I was saying in class such as not being so hard on yourself. She kept shaking her head saying “I have lots to learn.” Then she shared with me she recently celebrated her 80th birthday (you would never have guessed it) and that she opted against a party and instead chose to drive her convertible around for the day.
She took a drive to her hometown and ended up at the local roller rink. She said she hadn’t roller skated in years but decided that she’d just go in to look around.
She had a desire to skate but felt unsure. Then she asked herself “Betty, if not now, then when?”
Before long she had skates on but was clinging tightly to the side of the rink as she went around. She hadn’t quite found her roller legs just yet.
Soon a group of teenage girls who were celebrating a friend’s birthday got interested and started cheering her on. I am pleased to share that she did let go of the wall and began to skate like she had in earlier years. Later that week while packing up her house to begin the downsizing process her son asked her about her roller skates. She told him, it’s time I gave them away. I am ready.
But don’t worry about Betty giving up her active lifestyle. She told me it’s all about risk and reward. She said she doesn’t want to risk taking a fall so roller skating isn’t in the cards for the future but she’s keeping with the weight training. She told me she can squat 100 pounds and hold a 3-minute plank.
What are you waiting till you’re ready to do? If not now, then when?
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G