So, given the story and the incredible and straightforward way it's told, it is really hard not to be emotional. And grateful, and conscious of how precious our health and our well-being is. And, how incredibly transformative and healing the practice of asana is.
And, not sexy asana, not beautiful and sweet asana, not even steady asana. But, you know what was Sukha (sweet) and Sthira (steady)? This guy's will, his character, his determination and his grace. He wasn't concerned about where he was, he was doing what he could. He was intentionally or simply intuitively following the koan of "fall eight times, get up nine". And, he showed a simple and beautiful happiness with his process, even as frustrating as it must have been, day after day.
My heart breaks when he recounts that yoga teachers turned him away? Has it really become so much about the physical form that this community judges the quality of this man's being by his outward appearance? By his physical limitations and not his character and courage? What would I have done? What am I willing to do??
Teaching yoga didn't even have to begin with asana, though it seems for Arthur, that was the natural place. To sit with someone, and first teach them how to fully breathe. Then, to simply help them link a basic physical motion to the breath, even to simply raise and lower the arms, and to link the breath with the movement can be life-changing.
In this case, I'm not sure what outside help Arthur did get, but you can see he had videos, a mat, a TV and determination. What other things changed, his diet, his other lifestyle choices, we don't necessarily see that but as yogis, you know the practice makes you make better decisions, and more consciously engage with your choices. I see that in Arthur, although he clearly had a lot of hope inside of him, already.
Who do you know has given up but still has the will? Who do you know that needs to move, to break their 'down' habits or their blues and just get up and do something? Any physical exercise improves metabolic function and improves mood. It's not just for the yoga booties, or the healthy athletes looking for optimization. Every living person can benefit in their way, in their body, in their spirit, from asana practice.
The final thought i have is where are we each with assumptions? What do we think we really know about anyone, and what really lies within them? What are you doing to make space for other's greatness? Where can you stand aside even from yourself and what you've assumed - because let's be clear - who thinks they have an excuse for not doing something after watching Arthur? I'm sorry, who??
Don't let it be a moment; let it be a lesson and a charge. Take it from a Teacher, who just found another of his own Teachers in Arthur. This is why I say give thanks and praise!