My mom recently gave me this quilt, made by my Great Grandma, Grace Reed, a couple of decades ago. She was quite the quilter, Grandma Grace was, and unbeknownst to her, also quite a yogi.
As the story goes, a neighbor and Grandma Grace worked on this quilt together one day. I imagine them talking about the goings on in their small community, and stopping for a cup of coffee and butter-based goodies. At the end of the day, the neighbor went home and Grandma Grace tore out all of the neighbor’s stitches and redid them. They were too large. And that’s where the yoga part comes in. Rather than tell the neighbor and potentially hurt her feelings, Grandma Grace stayed with the task. I don’t know what kind of thoughts were running through her head. Maybe she was grumbling. But, her behavior demonstrated Ahimsa in a very real way.
Ahimsa: Non-harming or non-violence, both towards oneself and towards others.
I don’t know how Grandma Grace would feel about being called a yogi. She was a devout Christian, a farmer’s wife who taught in the quintessential one room schoolhouse in rural Kansas. I doubt she knew what yoga was. In her time, yoga had not yet hit the mainstream, especially not as far as Gridley, Kansas.
What I do know is that her handiwork and the story of how this quilt came to be are a daily reminder to me of what yoga is all about. Yoga is not the pants we wear. Yoga is not the size of our bodies. Yoga is bigger than spending an hour in a studio each week. Yoga, in its most expansive and practical form, is the way we live our lives with intention so that we can be our absolute best version of our human selves.
This quilt has me thinking about ways I can practice Ahimsa toward myself and those around me. Here are three tangible things I’ve come up with for today:
- I will not read mainstream media because I want to limit the amount of negativity and hatred I let into my body.
- I will clean up the trash in the parking lot next to my house instead of just looking at it during my morning and evening dog walks.
- I will sit with this Heart Center Meditation to allow my heart to feel softer and more open.
If you feel moved, jot down a few ideas for how to invite Ahimsa into your day, too. Especially during these trying times, let’s join together to look for ways to be gentle and loving with ourselves and each other.
Thanks, Great Grandma for your Grace, the quilt and the lesson.