"I can't do yoga, it's not an option," she said as she opened the door to the waiting area.
"Anyone can do yoga," I replied softly with a smile.
She rolled her eyes and walked out.
A minute later she returned: "I say I can't do it because my spine is degenerating and no one can do anything to stop it. I'm in pain all of the time, and you're telling me I can do yoga and you can help me?"
It's one of the few things I don't doubt in life: "Yes, I can help you."
"I live an hour away, this isn't convenient, so can you help me right now?"
My next client (I work at an integrative medical clinic 4C Medical Group) was scheduled in an hour.
"Yes, I can."
I listened to her pain, to her story. She was a diver, a swimmer. She could hold her breath longer than most of her team mates and now, she's trapped, crumbling and convinced it is completely out of her control.
The first article I read about yoga was two decades ago. The article was written by, a man who became temporarily paralyzed from an accident. The practice of yoga was an integral part of his life. The defeat he felt when he came to and couldn't move, devastated him, until he remembered: he could still breathe. The accident didn't take his breath away. So, that's where we'll start, too.
I helped her into a restorative pose on the floor. I felt her body sink into the bolsters, her head melt into my hands.
"Do you remember what it was like? Underwater? The lightness? The freedom? The safety? Can you go there?"
"That was my favorite feeling. Yes, I can."
"Breathe," I whispered in her ear.
I watched as her belly rose, her waist stretched for the corners of the room, and her chest lifted toward the ceiling. Just when I thought the exhale was approaching, she invited in more and more air, and then, as slowly as she took it in, she let it go.
I witnessed the woman who said she can't, crumble, disappear.
She can still breathe.