Everyday Goddesses is a series featuring women who embody strength in every sense of the word. Each interview is a peek into their strength through their writing and words.
Lynette Cox seems to be able to do it all- at 17, she balances a job, rigorous class schedule, countless clubs and volunteer opportunities, sports, and friendships with grace and ease. Even with her focus on success and education, she prioritizes enjoying life and exploring new opportunities at every turn. I've been lucky enough to know Lynette since elementary school, and she's blossomed into one of the most inspiring and strong women I know today. She was reluctant to do this interview, fearing that she wouldn't match up to the other women featured, but as soon as you read her words, I'm sure you'll see just how much she deserves to be here.
Note: I did not pay her to say nice things about me. She's just that sweet.
Are there any struggles or difficulties in your life that led you to yoga? How has yoga helped you to overcome these obstacles?
There hasn’t been a struggle in my life that has led me to yoga. What led me to yoga was a wonderful person named Maris. She was-- and is-- a big inspiration and role model to me. I know yoga is what changed her life when she was in a time of need. I would always see her sharing yoga with others, myself included. Not once have I asked her “Hey, show me a yoga pose” where she hasn’t immediately sprung up and taken me through the steps while I struggled and laughed and eventually toppled over. Her willingness to show me what she had learned made me realize there must be something special about yoga; and that is what led me to my first class. We planned it all out. She recommended a day, I came along, I was a confused mess, and in the end I came out happy, with a whole new view of the world. Just a single class has helped me overcome the idea that in order to succeed I must be perfect. I remember hearing the teacher saying things like “don’t push yourself too far, take a break if you need it, find what’s comfortable for you.” I’d never heard those words before in all my years of soccer, dance, and running. All those years, I learned that I needed to practice and work as hard as I could to be the best. I had to devote myself to the practice or else there was no point in trying. Yoga has shown me that it is good to take things one step at a time, that I should focus on myself and my goals, that I’m always learning and refining myself. I should work carefully, practice with confidence, and stand back every once in a while to assess my progress and be proud of myself for it. And if I make a mistake, it isn’t the end of the world. I can always work on it, try again, and enjoy the learning experience and the benefit of simply trying.
How have you changed as you’ve grown stronger, both mentally and physically?
So much has changed as I’ve grown stronger, both mentally and physically. I never would have gotten to where I am today if I hadn’t joined the cross country running team my freshman year of high school. I learned about the benefits of exercise, setting goals, and working toward them. Running and exercise has given me a physical fitness to be proud of, and this has given me a confidence that has changed my life much more than one would think. My lack of confidence years ago prevented me from talking to people, trying new things, and testing what the world had to offer. Physical strength has brought me confidence, and with it, I’ve gained mental strength and a new, more open, more optimistic view of the world.
Do you see the pursuit of strength to be one more women are being drawn to? Do you think more women should pursue strength?
Sure, I believe that more women are being drawn to pursue strength. I think more women are learning to rely on themselves and be independent. In the past, most women did not pursue strength, instead relying on men for this. Today, society is a lot different, and women have the freedom to pursue what they wish to pursue. I think that every person is different, and while I think it is very beneficial for all people to pursue strength, I also wish that women do what they want to do. But if I were asked to give advice to any person, man or woman, I’d definitely encourage them to pursue strength had they not tried it beforehand.
Do you have any examples of moments when the lessons you've learned in yoga have transferred into your everyday life?
I talked about this above a little bit, but again, yoga has taught me to be patient in developing my physical abilities. It has taught me that it is okay to have limits, and people are understanding of that. It has taught me to remember to breathe. It has taught me that it is important to find a balance in life, and that I should focus on myself and check in with my own needs every once in a while. It has taught me to accept myself and be proud of me. And it has taught me that life is always teaching us lessons that we aren’t even aware of. I’m sure I could continue to add something new to this list after every yoga class. But for now, I’ve listed six wonderful life lessons, one for each yoga practice I’ve ever attended in my life.
Lynette Cox is the CSF President of CVCHS (2 terms), board member of the CVCHS Engineering Academy, member of the CVCHS track & field and cross country team, President of CVCHS Senior Women, VP of the CVCHS Challenge Day Club, and many more things that make her a generally awesome person to be able to know.