One of most clear examples of this is our student Jeffery Derwallis. He fell from a 3 story building while serving in the Marine Corps. The result was a "burst fracture"of the 1st lumbar vertebra creating severe damaged to his spinal cord. Soon after complications arose and he became a "complete" paraplegic. It would have been easy for him and completely justified to come into this room and say I can’t do this yoga. I can’t balance on one leg, I can’t stand up, these postures are impossible. No one would have questioned him or blamed him if he felt this way.
That’s not what he did. Instead all he did was what he COULD do. In the early stages of the game we looked at postures one by one. Can you do this? Great! How about this? Not yet, okay well do this. When he started it was difficult for him to stay seated without falling backwards, the teacher handed him his feet during bow pose, he wasn’t able to sit down in fixed firm. In 2008 he began his first 60 day challenge! His circulation had improved so much that the veins started to become visible in his legs and feet. The numbness and pain in his hands was gone. And he lost 36 lbs. Two years after he started the Yoga he was able to touch his hands palms together in Eagle and touch his head to the floor in Fixed Firm. In Feb 2011, he got on to his feet for Pada Hastasana! For the first time in 20 years his legs held his weight without any kind of brace. Little by little he built strength and vitality where for so long there was none. To quote him, “ Since starting my yoga practice my health has improved 1000% along with just about every aspect of my life. “
Let Jeff be our example. To quote Star Wars, “Your focus determines your reality.” So focus on the things you can do. Can you lock out in standing bow? No, okay can you grab your foot, can you stretch forward, and can you kick back? Great! Do that. Come back the next day and do that again. The object of yoga is not the posture. The object of yoga is you.
Can you control the government, the economy, your parents, your kids, your spouse, your boss, and your ten-year-old high school injury? NO!! What can you do? Can you show up to yoga? Can you breathe? Can you focus one spot? Can you lie still? Can you be kind to your neighbor? Can you smile at a stranger? Can you? Can you? Can you?