Thursday, March 17, 2016

Looking in the mirror

I'm baacccck!  Can you believe it has been nearly a year since I have written?  Honestly, I can!  In that year, I've been pregnant, had a baby, taught one million Bikram classes, ran a studio, sold a house, bought a house, moved, celebrated my sons 3rd birthday, slept a little bit and face booked a lot, but I haven't written a single word!  The truth is the only reason, I am writing today is this, Thursday is my day off (mind you I did teach this am at 5:30, but that is practically the middle of the night so I consider it yesterday!) and my 7 month old fell asleep on our walk.  I don't want to bring her inside, because DO NOT WAKE A SLEEPING BABY, so I'm sitting on my front step on this beautiful March day and I have time and space in my head to write!  I missed you guys, who reads this thing anyway?

So I have been a Bikram Yoga teacher now for 5 years, and I have owned the studio for 2.  I have met countless people, and I am constantly inspired by the strength and the courage of the people that I meet.  There are so many people who I encounter on a daily basis, in the hot room, they all have the same struggle, but beyond those mirrored walls people are dealing with some serious shit and I am always blown away by the grace that some people are able to walk through life with in the face of challenge.

When I began this yoga, and if you have been reading this blog or you are my family, you know I was walking through a challenging part of my life.  The yoga room was my happy place, it was where I was able to find strength and joy and a sliver of peace.  I think about this a lot because my life has shifted tremendously since I began yoga.  I used to smile more when I practiced, and I don't think it was because I was happier, but because the yoga room was the only place I was happy, since I have so many more places in my life where I can smile.

Any way...this post isn't about smiling in yoga, it's not even about my path, but it is about looking in the mirror.  Bikram Yoga throws a lot at you.  We through 26 postures at you in a room that is heated to feel a lot like Hell, we have florescent lights and wall to wall mirrors.  Like really...WTF! Where is the candlelight and the meditation music?  Everything we do in the room is on purpose, especially those mirrors!  The mirrors main purpose is to serve you when making corrections.  You are able to see your body, and your postures and make correction based on, not only what you feel but also what you see.  It is SUCH a helpful tool.  The problem is, it is really hard to look in the mirror.  Especially at your self for 90 minutes.  I have taken classes where the teacher says over and over " look in the mirror, look in the mirror, LOOK IN THE MIRROR"  I have taught classes and no matter how many times I say it, the person I am talking to just won't look in the mirror.  It is hard.

We tend to be pretty mean to ourselves when we look in a mirror.  "Ugh so fat, hair is flat, is that another pimple"  all of these things we say and do to ourselves, and now put into the mix, face time and selfies and we are constantly critiquing our appearance (myself included, there is probably not too many meaner to me than myself).  But I think there is an amazing thing that happens in a Bikram yoga class, those mirrors become magic.

The other day I took class, for 90 minutes I looked in the mirror.  I watched my abdomen stay engaged during Pranayama, I noticed my quadricep muscle lift up as I locked my knee in the Standing Head To Knee, I watched as my shoulders began to rotate in Bow Pose, and I watched my chest rise and fall with my inhales and exhales as class got harder.  At the end of the class, after the final exhale, I looked up and found my eyes "oh. it's me" I thought to myself.  For 90 minutes I didn't see the WHOLE me, I saw the physical parts of me that was kicking ass.  I noticed muscles and strength, and alignment, and at the end of class I could look at my self and say "wow! Good job!"  This is the beauty of the mirrors in Bikram Yoga.  They are not there for us to use in judgment.  They are there as tools for alignment, and after 90 minutes of watching your body do the amazing things that it is capable of doing in a Bikram Yoga class it is pretty hard to say anything bad about yourself.

Try it.  Next time you take class, GO TODAY, look in the mirror.  Listen to the teacher and focus on the areas of the body you are working on.  Notice your muscles,  Notice what your shoulder does when you stretch up to the ceiling or forward to the mirror.  Notice your abdomen, how you suck your stomach in and your ribcage expands.  At the end of class, notice that all of that is YOU.  You were the one who did all of that work and it was remarkable.  Look in the mirror, see all that is amazing about you, even if it is only for 90 minutes.

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