There is a very special bond between teacher and student. Teachers have the unique ability to transform the student when they are ready. Life, as we know can be tough and chaotic at times… situations change, schedules change, new people come in and out of our lives but the impression that a teacher leaves you with stays forever.
I met one of my very first yoga teachers back in 1995, Ruth Lauer-Manenti, affectionately known as “Lady Ruth.” Everyone who knows her will undoubtedly agree that she is a beautiful sweet and inspirational being. Having spent a good portion of her life studying with Sri Pattabhi Jois, you can see and feel the love inside of Ruth when she looks you in the eyes.
A couple months back, I had a very unique and beautiful encounter with Lady Ruth. First off, I will say that I adore Lady Ruth but often times my schedule will not permit me to study with her. I have inconsistenly drifted in and out of her class over the years only to be welcomed back with open arms each time I turn up late for her class.
Back in November, I introduced her to someone that was very special to me. She right away welcomed him into her class and made him feel very comfortable. Fast forward a few weeks, I run into Lady Ruth in class one day as we were both taking the same class. Before class she very sweetly asked me who the gentleman was that I had introduced her to a few weeks back. I then told her that it was someone I had been involved with in the past (my “ex” was what I told her). Ruth and I had chatted about my breakup months earlier so she knew what a roller coaster ride it had been. At that moment, almost wishing I could eat those words, she looked at me very concerned and replied, “be careful Donnalynn… be careful.” Ouch, did that sting! It really stung because on some level, I KNEW she was right.
Sometimes we do not want to see what is right in front of us until it stares us glaringly in the face. When someone holds up a mirror to you, you have no choice but to decide if whether what you see is what you like and then make the appropriate changes accordingly. Teachers have that innate ability to hold up the mirror to you and leave you feeling exposed, vulnerable and desperate to make change.
Class began and I was filled with a sadness and a deep knowing that I needed to implement a degree of change. After 1.5 hrs, I laid down heart-broken in shavasana when I was all of a sudden awoken by a soft kiss on my forehead. It was Lady Ruth smiling sweetly. My body was filled with such a euphoric bliss by just that one kiss. It was the purest form of love that one could experience. It rivaled states of ectasy I have only reached in meditation. I was unable to physically move or open my eyes for the duration of class. I wanted to stay in that place. That place made me feel safe, loved and cherished even for just that one moment.
That experience changed me that day. It also helped to change my heart forever. Lady Ruth reminded me what love was that day… love is pure and unconditional. My relationship was not. After that very special encounter, I moved forward, made the change that was right for me and I have never looked back. Thank you Lady Ruth.
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