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I hurt my back about three months ago. A friend had suggested a yoga teacher for people who have injuries. So I went initially to a private lesson and she told me she wanted me to come once more to a group lesson with people in varying stages of recuperation.

As I was looking for a parking spot outside her studio I saw an elderly man walking up the hill with a cane. He could barely walkhe was so shaky. I thought gee, I wonder if hes going to this class? I mean, I thought if thats the severity of these injured people I didnt really belong because by now my back was much better.

Found a parking place, and then noticed the elderly man was seated there outside the studio. We introduced ourselves and he was a very nice. Then he noticed the three steps we had to walk up to go into the studio and he broke down in tears. I didnt think I would make it up that hill and now that Im here I cant go any further. I cant,he said.

I told him that I understood. Two months before I hadnt been able to walk or get out of a car. It hurt to move. He told me he was so sorry but he just didnt think he could make it.

Well, the teacher came out and we helped him into the class. He was able to get up those steps much easier than he thought he would, so much so that he surprised himself. Throughout the class I heard him talking to the teacher. He had been a feature writer and had written comedy all of his life. He was 82, and suffered with muscular neuropathy. He told the teacher that he had always had such great spirit and thats why he had been so good at his job.

He kept saying, Ive got to get my spirit back.He kept apologizing for being so out of control because he wept once or twice. She proceeded to work with him doing very gentle things. She explained that she was working on his nervous system by moving him into various yoga positions.

By the end he was saying, This is great, this is wonderful. And I thought, You know this is one of the most courageous people Ive met in a long time.He didnt give up and say Oh, Im 82, and Im losing control of body. He didn’t sit in a chair and think his life was over or feel sorry for himself. He had gotten himself out of his house, out of his car, up a hill and into a class so that he could find his joy of life again and be able to live.

I was overwhelmed by his courageousness and he inspired me more than anyone has in a very long time. His name was Larry and he really enriched my life that day.

By Alexandra Paul