- Photo: dinodia.com via Wikipedia Commons
I always strive to be a better person, and I look for inspiration in people like The Dalai Lama, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.—people who have changed the world for the better..
I try to practice kindness, let go of prejudices and see us all as equals.
If I get upset I try to think of the fortitude of The Dalai Lama, or if someone treats me unfairly I think of Gandhi and his patience.
But in some situations it just doesn’t help. If my teenage daughter talks back, it just doesn’t work try to calm myself with the behavior of The Dalai Lama. I think that it’s easy to be calm when you don’t have a cheeky teenager or a stupid boss.
I started seeking inspiration in everyday people I would meet. Not so long ago I was hired by a physiotherapy center to teach yoga once a week to a group of people with chronic diseases. The first day, I arrived early to see the group; I needed to see how affected they were by their disease.
The physiotherapist introduced me and, looking at the group, I realized none of them knew they were about to do yoga. Some of them looked happy and excited, and the other half looked utterly choked, almost like they were in pain.
I have never taught a class or a person that wasn’t there because they truly wanted to be.
I’m used to people being there because they love yoga, or believe in its healing power. It made me think twice about everything I said, and every pose.
I taught the class and stayed for some minutes, in case some of the students had any questions. A man who looked like he would die when he heard he was about to do yoga came over, and I prepared myself to hear his excuses for not showing up next time. He started by telling me about the prejudices he had about yoga, and how awful he thought it was.
This didn’t come as a surprise to me, and I had spent a little more time on this student. He was struggling with a lot of poses. I would understand if he didn’t have a marvelous experience. To my surprise he broke out in a smile and continued: “I was so wrong, this was wonderful. I’m going to tell everyone I know how amazing it is. I have a fantastic feeling in my body, and I can’t wait until the next class”.
I think this was one of the best compliments I’ve received as a teacher.
When he left, I thought to myself what a beautiful human being he was—having a disease he will never recover from, having the power to fight it and overcoming his own prejudice to embrace it. I respect that. I packed up and I left the physiotherapy center with a big smile and a happy heart. And truly inspired.
And along the way, I found out that my teenage daughter actually inspires me quite a bit as well.
Gitte Lindgaard lives in Denmark with her husband and two daughters. She has a degree in Nutrition and Health and specializes in empowering people to be aware and take responsibility for healthy living. Gitte practices yoga and after recovering from whiplash, she began teaching yoga to people with disabilities. Gitte believes in doing something every day that her future self will be proud of. Follow her on Twitter here and Facebook here, and don’t forget to check out her blog.Editor: Anne Clendening