Skin Deep 

“If you want my body, and you think I’m sexy …”

These are not the words that usually spring to mind when I’m relaxing in a restaurant – but we had just realized that (Sir) Rod Stewart and his wife were sitting just a few feet away, and some of his old “hits”  began to echo in the recesses of my mind.

As I pictured Rod in his younger days prancing around a stage with his parrot haircut, his gaunt face and his gravelly voice, I didn’t realize that this fleeting memory was to be the first of a few references to bodies that I would notice in the coming weeks.

In anticipation of teaching yoga classes again after quite a break, I went to a CPR class. Although the class was attended entirely by women of diverse origins, in front of each of us lay the torso of an obviously male mannikin.  There was a lot to say in support of this dummy victim – he was lying obligingly on his back and had a device that showed if chest compressions were being performed to the correct depth and rhythm.  He was clean without a trace of vomit, blood or other bodily secretions. He had neither unibrow nor cellulite. To say he was white is to stretch a point, his completely hairless body bore a fake tan glaze, as if it had been washed in iodine  (perhaps it had).  His synthetic muscles were impressive and he bore no blemishes, scars, tattoos or piercings, even his nipples were discreet. How wonderful to learn this skill – and no we didn’t practice compressions to the beat of a Rod Stewart song, the instructor preferring the Bee Gees’ “Staying Alice” or more ominously, Queen’s “Another one bites the dust” to set  the pace – but it did make me realize how different a real emergency would be  with a mere mortal in mortal danger as opposed to our rehearsal with a glossy plastic god.

Certificate in hand, I was now ready to reawaken my teaching skills and share my love of yoga with others.  I had thought to start with a moderately paced class with a sprinkling of the more interesting poses, some emphasis on coordinating breath with movement, opportunities to focus and meditate. 

As the week progressed however, Brenda, the studio owner, let me know that some of the people who signed up had physical limitations – a broken wrist, recent knee surgery,  generalized weakness, foot problems  …  And of course, these were the issues we knew about –  much more lies below the surface for many of us.  Let’s not forget that I too have my own restrictions – the eyes that see dimly. 

And then they arrived and we shared yoga together.

And we were all beautiful.

Stunning in our individuality, gentle and strong through our weakness, compassionate in our cooperation, – and, thank goodness, nobody needed CPR!

Jean and Brenda

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