As we walk the catacombs of modern living, sometimes we forget how important it is for us to seek out and be in the context of a community, where there is both enough quiet to listen to the individual body, as well as taking time to stand beside those whose experiential range will assist us in making further life-affirming choices and decisions.
After concluding the teaching of an introspective yoga class, I walk over to check in with one of my newer male students. He is tall and lean, middle-aged and a self-described walker and cyclist.
“Hey, Tom,” I begin, “I just wanted to check in with you. How are you finding practice?”
“I can’t seem to stop sweating. I don’t know whether or not you noticed, but it has actually been a problem for a few months now. I’ve even taken to wearing dark turtlenecks and suit coats at work to cover up the problem.”
“Well, in terms of this class, the practice we do here focuses on improved flexibility and balance more than pushing ourselves to build strength. So, given that you are a regular walker and cyclist, there should be no reason for you to be working as hard as I see you working or perspiring to the extent that you are.”
Tom’s look grows concerned, “I didn’t think so, but I wasn’t sure.’
“I am not trained as a medical professional, but I have been teaching yoga for awhile now. And, it may not be my place to say anything, but I think that you need to see a physician because, from my experiential perspective, there is something that is not right or out of balance.”
Several weeks go by before I run into Tom again. He had a benign tumor removed from the top of his right kidney, which had been pressing on his adrenal gland.
This is what it means to be in a caring community. We share notes and look after one another.