At the end of Nia class this morning, I checked my phone for texts and saw this one from Mia: “I don’t suppose there’s any chance you’d sub an 11 o’clock yoga class for us, LOL.” She has a summer internship at the YWCA of Cambridge, as part of a fellowship in not-for-profit leadership she received from the Forest Foundation. She works there to support their programs providing housing, food, and programming for local women and girls. Their yoga teacher cancelled last minute.
”Sure,” I texted back. I love that she thought to ask me. I’ve been meaning to visit her work site, having heard much from her this summer about their great work meeting a huge range of women’s needs. Plus, I’m already anticipating her departure back to college in California; too fast, too fast these summer days have flown by with her at home! So I don’t squander opportunities to be around her, or to show her I love her.
She met me at the reception desk, and we walked over to the women’s residence together. At first I thought they wanted me to teach Nia, but I saw the space and met a student, an older lady who told me she has difficulty feeling her feet and moving her hands. Mia clarified: this was to have been a chair yoga class. Aaaah. No problem: this was a job for Ageless Grace Brain Fitness, which is taught seated. “Party in a chair,” I like to say. It’s really fun.
We sat in a circle and played to music, shaking our limbs to Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line,” clapping to different beat counts as Michael Franti sang “Say Hey!,” having a seated dance party to Abba’s “Mamma Mia,” which I added at the last minute when someone asked “Are you Mia’s mama?” — launching us into a discission of the cheesy but wonderful new movie. The students—MaryBeth in her bathrobe and Barbara with her broken heart and achy feet, plus Mia and two game colleagues from the administration,—were lively and playful, tossing out comments and ideas, joining in with a freedom and joy that I’ve come to expect whenever I teach Ageless Grace. Still, it’s always such a delight to midwife it into being.
At the end of class, Barbara, who is vulnerable and bright such that I wondered what life challenges brought her to live at the residence, told me she could feel her feet for the first time in a long time. “My heart is full of love,” she said.
I gave her a hug and she looked surprised. Maybe I shouldn’t have touched her—one can no longer assume hugs are welcome. But she smiled shyly.
”Mine, too,” I told her.