It was a rainy day outside and the gym was filling up faster than usual. In the myriad groups of people clustered together before the yoga class, several women with graying hair carried out an animated conversation occasionally punctuated with laughter. As the class started, they parted with a mutual promise to meet for coffee later.
One of the women separated herself from the group to begin the stretching exercises. For her the yoga class, much like chatting over coffee, was a ritual that provided comfort and substance to her day. She began her exercises with an enthusiasm common to most active people–she pulled and pushed, squatted and reached, and like so many mornings her body began to wake up.
But at the apex of an arm stretch she felt something completely different. It was a slight burning sensation on the left side of her chest, and it was unlike any of the other daily aches and pains associated with advancing age and more than a touch of arthritis.
She could have chalked the pain up to a pulled muscle, rolled up her mat and gone home. She could have forgotten about it in the chaos of daily life and never thought of it again.
But she didn’t. Despite having passed a recent physical, and following a lifetime of careful prevention, she decided to get it checked out. And that is how yoga class, and good sense, saved my mother’s life.