I was at the hair salon this week and I am sitting next to an older woman near the hair dryers. She has two canes, one resting on the outer side of each leg. I notice she is on her phone, not really paying attention. So I just kinda sat there and paged through some magazines.

As her name gets called, she gets up from the chair, using both canes, and lets out a loud yelp. It sounded like she was crying but I couldn’t tell because her back was towards me. It was hard to hear because the salon was busy and the hair dryers were going. I looked at her and she wasn’t moving. It sounded like she was in a lot of pain.

So my natural reaction was to jump up and help her. I stood up behind her, put my hand on her back, looked over her shoulder and said “Are you ok?” She replied in a soft, yet painful high pitched voice, “NO! I am in so much pain! I just had double hip surgery!”

She was tense and curled over, her face crunched up and shoulders were slouched forward. And she still wasn’t moving. She looked like she was gonna pass out. She said to me “I am actually seeing stars.”

I am thinking oh crap! This fragile little lady is going to pass out right in my arms! Then I took a deep breath. With my hand still on her shoulder, I said to her “Take a deep breath.” And she did. It was a real short breath but she did it. And then I said “Take another one. Take a big inhale and a big exhale.” I kept making her do it. She did about 5 or 6 more and with each one you could see her shoulders soften. Her face started to relax and her posture became much less slouched.

After the 7th or 8th breath, she said, “Wow. I feel so much better.” And then she said “What are you, a nurse?” I responded with a huge smile on my face and said “No, I am a yoga teacher.” She looked at me and smiled and said, “Thank you! That really really helped!” She stood up tall and went over to her stylist, looked back at me and smiled and went on her way.

It’s amazing what taking a couple of deep breaths can do in any situation. I saw it today first hand.