When I was a baby, I pushed my mother away, I fought to get out of Her arms and throughout most of my life, it was put down to “ Tobye doesn’t like to be touched”. As a child, my Teacher in primary (Elementary) school, noticed that I was having difficulty concentrating in class and realised it was because I wasn’t breathing through my nose.
After a couple of operations to remove my adenoids and my tonsils, I began breathing through my nose and concentrating in class. I’ve worn glasses all my life, I can’t see without them. I’m left-handed and I’ve suffered for most of my life with a chronic stutter and I’m still petrified of sleeping alone without a light.
Why am I telling you this? Letting out all my weaknesses? Because, for all of my Friends and Family, I am normal. Maybe a little quirky and eccentric, but normal. The people I know and love, have come to know and love me! So, what is normal? If my Teacher hadn’t realised the connection between my breathing and my concentration, would I still be normal? I remember years ago, before I mastered my stutter, trying to buy car insurance over the phone. The girl asked me my name and I blocked up, there was a pause and she asked me “Do you not know your own name?”
Normal is a perception, the view from where we “normally” stand. But if we stand and look somewhere else, we get an entirely different view, not a better view, just a different one.
“Normal” people strive to be normal it seems. To “keep up with the Jones’”. They hide their weaknesses and their little eccentric tendencies mostly because they are afraid someone will think they’re not normal and make fun of them for it. But ironically, the bullies making fun of people for being different, are the ones who’re most scared of their own differences.
If we could learn to, not hide our differences, but bring them out in the open, then what amazing things we could achieve.
Four years ago now, I began practising yoga. I took to it like a fish in a strong current, started going 3 times a week and after 6 months, I started to learn to teach with Ruth White in England. It took 2 years to become fully qualified, although I’ve been teaching constantly for those 2 years. I never doubted myself, I just kept on going, as I still keep going. If you’d told me 5 years ago that I would become a yoga teacher, I would have laughed, but I love it, it’s part of who I am and it’s helped me become the person I am. I’ve woken up. To get to the point, the reason why I achieved my goal so fast ( well at least that goal anyway ) and why I never doubted myself was because of the people that encouraged me. Through yoga, I’ve met some of the most warm-hearted people I know. They pushed me on and stretched me out and showed me all the good things about myself. My study of yoga has helped me to learn that, no matter what you look like, who you are, or where you come from, you can shine and although you may have a weakness or 2, other people can see your strengths and look at you with awe. I love watching students trying a new yoga posture. At first there’s a look of dread and they say “ I can’t do that!” , but then when they give it a go and realise they can, the look of excitement on their face is priceless, it makes it worth while and reminds me of how I felt when I started and how there were things I thought I couldn’t do, but when I gave it a go, I did it! Anything is possible if you just give it a go!
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