Some of the most Senior Iyengar teachers have been teaching yoga since the 70’s. Many have been practicing yoga even longer than that. In that time they have witnessed many yoga miracles. I have heard stories of crooked knees straightening, broken bodies mending, women’s issues resolved, and even seemingly terminal diseases have been willed into remission.
When I started teaching yoga, I can remember wondering how I could help people with yoga. I felt overwhelmed by endless actions and directions for each yoga pose. Furthermore, each person’s body is unique. Everyone has used their bodies in countless ways, and some may have had injuries. Now that I have been a yoga teacher for a while, the challenge is to tailor yoga to the unique needs of each individual.
Here are just a few of the yoga miracles that I have had the joy to witness in our small yoga community:
- One dear student >70 years old started with severe kyphosis (dowager’s hump) and now stands up straight.
- Another dear student >65 years old was suffering with hot flashes that woke her up four times a night. After practicing inversions for only two months, she is only having one hot flash a night. Both her and her husband are getting better sleep!
- There are three students that come to mind that have significantly less knee pain and much more range of motion and strength in the knee after practicing yoga.
- One dear student >40 years old has had dramatic drops in blood pressure and stress from practicing legs up the wall daily.
- Many students over the years have experienced relief of sciatic pain from coming to ONE yoga class!
- One dear student >80 years old is no longer waking up with leg cramps in the middle of the night just from practicing ONE pose.
The same body will respond to yoga in different ways in each phase and chapter of life
I have seen the evidence of this in many of my students as well as in my own body. I have had the blessing of working with many of my students for almost a decade now. In that time, we have all aged. As a community we have experienced death, birth, flood, fires, injuries, surgeries, extreme sadness as well as extreme happiness. We have lived a lot of life! There are times of the year, as well as times in our lives, when our energy is low and our life force is weak. At these times we practice yoga in a kind and loving way. We use our yoga practice and our yoga community to build ourselves up again. It’s a time to allow for rest and regeneration. We are aging gracefully!
The Greatest Yoga Success Story
My teaching inspiration comes from my students. I learned that early in my practice. I very quickly let go of the idea that I was doing this job to “help” people. In a lot of ways, I now understand my job is to witness the miracles that people are doing for themselves. My job is the hard work of learning the yoga poses and the various alternatives that can be used for unique physical conditions. I make suggestions as to what I think will make people successful in their yoga practice, and then I SEE what happens.
I am a guide. The teacher is inside you. You are the yoga success story!