On what must be one of the last truly warm Sundays of the season, I recently was practicing in the middle of the street outside Birchwood Cafe. With my arms linked through those of a long line of sweaty, happy yogis, I found myself standing across from a face I recognized, but could not place. The woman greeted me warmly, asked me to be her partner for the next segment, and followed me to my now gravel-covered mat.
I remembered her, but not until I was holding her arms behind her back and massaging her low back with my bare feet (I know, but you get used to it, and then it feels wonderful). She is a staff member at a place where I've volunteered. It was a rare chance to meet with someone outside the walls of that institution, and I found myself having a strong, honest conversation with her == the kind that's impossible to have while kids are screaming and running around your knees, but which somehow seemed much easier while massaging the back of a virtual stranger with one's feet.
The Gorilla Yogis operate donation-requested events throughout what they call the Urban Jungle, each benefiting a different local charity. When it was my turn to get that back massage, I found myself remembering another one of their sessions that truly moved me from my safe place and into some moments that were deeper, richer, and scarier than any I'd ever experienced on a yoga mat before. I'm reposting that blog here.