I have a yoga student who’s the last person on earth to practice yoga. He’s a big VP at a huge media conglomerate, his favorite vacation spot is Disneyland, and he and his family had never looked at organics, sustainable or natural. He’s definitely never read Jaws vs. The Grocery Store, my blog about local, seasonal, organic food and where to get it.
The first time he and his wife came for yoga, they balked at taking off their shoes. It may have been the weirdest thing they’d agreed to do. Ever.
So why did he start yoga?
He was diagnosed with MS after what appeared to be a stroke. He had brain surgery to remove plaque and survived with several physical limitations. So many people told him to do yoga, he finally agreed just to keep them quiet.
I’ve had one MS student for over a decade. Much of what I design and implement with my spinal cord-injured students is drawn from my work with her. She is nearly completely paralyzed, though she can speak and eat and create small gestures, she is fully dependent on aids for every part of her care. Yoga has helped her stay well, keep her voice strong, her digestion active, her skin clear, and her energy up.
Consequently, I was recommended to him as some one who had insights into MS.
He and I worked together twice a week, and his progress and ease of movement and improvement have been life changing.
A year ago he was given a huge promotion and began to travel more, practice yoga less, abandon healthy eating, gain weight, and he fell down the hole of 24 hour emailing on the iPhone. As his health suffered, his wife confessed she was pretty fed up that his phone was out all the time and he barely paid attention to those near him.
A few weeks ago, henchmen at his big global firm dropped a buyout package on the desk of every employee over the age of 55. He is 56. He was stunned. He walked home and to our session and was the most present he’d been since his early days after surgery.
Since he got the possible axe, he’s begun to go out for a walk at lunch, get up out of his chair more to stretch and move around the offices, and order healthy lunch rather than skipping. He’s also put down the phone at dinner and family time.
He’s implemented all the things we’d been talking about but had kept resisting. As he happily updated me he said, “No job is worth killing myself for.”
Are we killing ourselves for some unseen big boss or big prize?
Do we have the idea that there is a bigger reward than wellbeing, health, family, and love?
Or are we waiting for some payoff that we invest in with excessive stress, anxiety, overwork, worry, and self-harm?
Last night I said to him, "I think the biggest F-You to your company would be to become fit, healthy, and work on your golf swing. I think we should have you in the NYC Marathon next year. That’d show them."
"Well," he said, "let’s not go too far. But, now I see you had my back when I didn’t. And my wife’s concerns are far more important than my company’s."
When the wake up call comes, will we hear it?
Click here to read my blog on Yoga, Pregnancy, Birth, and Motherhood. Possibly the biggest wake up call of them all.