When I met Rajashree, it was five years ago in Bikram Teacher Training. She was the woman that I watched from afar work to guide all 250 of us through the abyss of yoga training and all that entails. I was and still am constantly amazed by all that she brings to those around her. She lives a full life and is a mother to her children, to her students that attend her studio in Beverly Hills, and to the teachers that she has trained. And, she is married to Bikram! That is a full-time job in and of itself.
Through the years I have spent time with her at yoga competitions and retreats. When it comes down to it she is just like the rest of us. She is working to juggle everything, to keep her emotions both present and tucked away, she worries, she laughs, she eats and she likes to get a little crazy.
I recently had the honor of hosting her while she was in Tahoe and walked away from the experience with a renewed look on myself, women in general, the yoga and the friends we keep close to us. Throughout the time we spent together–whether we were driving, dining, steaming or gambling (Yes! She loves to gamble!) we talked and I was amazed at how much we talked about. We talked about the things we have in common (I have things in common with Rajashree? What? I had no idea?)–we are both only children, we both care for our mothers, we are both feminist, we are both emotional eaters, we are both relationship type of people. The relationships we keep between our families, friends and the men in our lives are a constant process and work for us. As we discussed what was happening for me in my life she left me with a yoga analogy–not shocking.
She said, you can tell how a friend or lover will treat you, by the way they practice yoga. The same person that practices yoga on their worst days, on the days in which they are overwhelmed, in which they have eaten badly the day before, on the days in which they are sad, on the days in which they would rather stay in bed, are the same people that will be there when you don’t have anything to give back, when you are down, when you have a bad day, when you don’t look your best. Conversely, the same person that doesn’t practice consistently and needs the right space within the room, the right water, the right teacher, the right person next to them, is the same person that will walk out on you, the person that only views you for what you can do for them, that can’t reach out and say sorry. She looked me in the eyes and said, we are the people that get to choose whom we want to spend our time with. Only let those in that you can count on in your darkest hour, because in our glory we are flooded with those that love us. It is in the lonely and sad moments when we need love and we must surround ourselves with the ones that will give it to us.
While we discussed much more and had many laughs, that moment as we talked at the coffee shop will be ingrained in my mind for quite some time, if not always. Yes, we talked as girlfriends, but she talked to me with wisdom and a sense of life experience as to say, take care of yourself. Take the steps you need to take to make your life as good as possible. Don’t look back and wonder why someone hurt you, wonder why you chose to spend time with someone that would.
I am still taking in my time with Rajashree and think that I will for a while. The one thing I do know is that she is woman I want by my side. She is the woman that will be there in your darkest hour, whispering to you, teaching you and loving you, as it is the only way she knows how.