Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Live NOW, Live TODAY

I remember my first yoga class clearly. I was nervous and shy and unsure of what to expect and if I’d be able to keep up.

But then I walked into the gym and was greeted by Rosalyn, a very friendly and outgoing woman, who started class by having us lay down on our yoga mats, close our eyes and then move through a slow warm up.

It was exactly what I wanted the class to be and from then I was hooked. I also credit this experience with the reason why I continue to do yoga (and her warm up) most mornings before work.

Not only did Rosalyn infuse her classes with humor, once referring to my sister and I as her ‘power twins’, but she also made sure that the beginners didn’t get lost in the poses and always pointed out the tricks to getting the most out of each position.

Eventually I moved on to a more advanced teacher, but life’s circuitous cycle brought her back into my life a few months ago when that teacher moved on.

And that is when I found out that Rosalyn had been battling breast cancer and a brain tumor. I was floored because she looked so healthy and strong, coming straight to yoga after teaching an intensive hour-long spinning class.

If she hadn’t mentioned it, I never would have known she was sick because she remained the same outgoing, friendly and funny person even though she was fighting for her life. I was in awe of her positive outlook and my petty concerns and complaints melted away when I was around her.

So I was sad when she took a leave of absence from teaching and our class was relegated to an apathetic substitute teacher who teaches the same scripted class week after week. I couldn’t wait for Rosalyn to come back and teach us.

But today, I heard the tragic news that she passed away a few weeks ago. My heart literally stopped as I read the email and I couldn’t make any sense of the news.

I had seen her less than two months prior and she seemed like she was doing really well. Of course appearances can be deceiving and she probably had hid how tough her battle actually was.

Still, the news of this vivacious, outgoing and funny woman’s passing has not sunk in. She was an inspiration to me to keep persevering, even in the toughest of times, and to put on a happy and friendly face.

Sometimes I can’t manage even that small task at work because I’m bemoaning that my life isn’t what I’d expected it to be. Well from now on I will be even more grateful for the life and health that I have and will continue to take advantage of both by pursuing a life well lived NOW.

Rosalyn was only 40 but I know she lived a lot of life in those years. My heart and prayers go out to the family and friends that she left behind.

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