By Teresa Dornellas

My lovely dad passed away a bit over 2 years ago. We had a very special relationship that had some bumps along the way but we thankfully were able to reconnect and patch things up a few years before he died.

Dad and I back in 2016

He was a very affectionate man, though very quiet. He used to massage my feet when we hung out to watch TV or just chill, and this is one of the fondest memories I have of him. As an adult, I learned to value that gesture so much.

We didn’t spend much time together after my mom passed away but I always remember the foot rubs and they brought me great comfort.

In my late 20’s, I moved overseas, life changed, our contacts became more sporadic, but years later, I went to Kripalu for a weekend of Yoga and relaxation and, at the end of a yoga class, during savasana, while covered with a blanket, the Yoga teacher (I so wish I knew his name!) came around to “tuck us in” and gave us a quick feet squeeze over the blanket.

As yoga teachers, we honestly don’t know what we may do or say that will make an impact. A simple gesture, a word, a touch can leave an indelible mark. Sometimes we think we did a pretty great job teaching and the students don’t seem that impressed. At other times, we may feel like we were not so well prepared, not sure we hit the mark, and folks will be raving about the class. This is because it all depends on what kind of memories frame that experience for each person at any given time. And that’s not something we can predict.

Well, this happened many, many years ago, and I never forgot. I had no idea at the time how much those foot rubs meant to me, but that simple, quick touch brought up so many memories of love and belonging and being important to someone.

Today, when things get hard, when the future seems bleak, when I find myself with more questions than answers… I wish I had that touch again. That feeling of reassurance and belonging. A simple gesture of kindness and warmth – sometimes it’s all we need to believe everything will be OK. No words needed.

That important memory is a big part of my foundation as a yoga teacher. I care so much about our feet, our base. Those who take my classes often have heard many feet references – here’s why. They support us, carry us around, take us to great adventures. 

Like I mentioned before, our personal histories frame everything we experience. 

So, right now, while we can’t connect in person, from a distance I wish you the warmth I feel every time I remember that simple gesture. And I hope your foundation, the very essence of who you are, will always be strong, no matter in which direction the winds blow.