I asked the intrepid yogis at Minnetonka Shores if they would be willing to do a group selfie of abhaya mudra for my MNYTI Facebook page. There was a polite, classically Minnesota 3 second pause before the down the line response was a resounding no; even from Carol, who likes a bit of fun, and plays the slots once a month with her sister at Mystic Lake. I think I heard her say, “absolutely not,” underneath her breath. I laughed out loud and thanked them all for keeping it real, even though, in my mind, each of them, in their own right, are the exact women I most want to emulate and see admired.
The collective age is 88. Today, Jean, Marilyn’s 60 plus year old daughter was our guest. “She’s a really good tennis player,” Marilyn boasts. I smile sympathetically at Jean and offer up only one life line:”This is not Grandma Yoga, Jean, hang onto your hat.” Even Norma, aged 90 who never laughs, smiles. Everyone else gives an empathetic glance towards Jean. And we begin.
Really, video at this point would be best. There are absolutely no adequate words to describe the wonder of bearing witness to women who break their hearts open twice a week purely because they love it. Ginny, newer to the group, who nursed her husband and her sister to their respective deaths in a 15 month time span has been practicing hard. “Look at you, Ginny!” “I bought my own strap at Walmart, Susan,” as she rotates her shoulders all the way on to her back. Marlene, age 88, two weeks off a mini-stroke exclaims out loud: “I’m not sure I’ve stood up this straight in 8 decades!”
We all laugh, even Jean, a little out of breath, struggling to keep up. Marilyn gazes over lovingly. “Way to go, Jean,” I offer up as encouragement. All of us, breathing and moving and flowing as best as we can. In this moment, everything is perfect, shimmering, so, so lovely. I want to take a picture, but I promised I wouldn’t, out of love and honor, and respect for the beautiful women that they are; the wild, wondrous and wooly woman they help me to be.
So much, so much, so, so much….I hope the words are enough.