I had an awkward moment not too long ago while teaching. We were in warrior 2 on the right side. I reminded to set their gaze to the front, which happens to be the mirror. A student blurted out, “Ugh! Look at how my tummy sticks out.” I happen to be standing near her and heard it loud and clear. I felt like a deer caught in head lights. What do I say? “hehehe no it doesn’t.”? That split second of time seemed like an eternity. After I snapped out of the head lights, I looked at her in the eye, smiled, and assisted her to track her front knee to the right because it was caving in and helped her lengthened her front torso. “Scoop your tail under and engage your core, great! you look beautiful,” I said and walked away as fast as I could. After class she told me she enjoyed the class and went on about how her hips and butt are big. “They’ve always been like this. My sisters, my aunties.. we all have it. So it’s useless for me to try to be skinny like you, but sometimes when I catch myself in the mirror, I go eeks because I often have to laugh at myself sometimes, ya know?” We both laughed and I said, “don’t even get me started on being skinny…” “Yea, we’ll always have something to complain about eh?”
I hate seeing myself in mirrors when I’m out in public. So naturally it only makes sense that I end up teaching all my classes at studios that have full length, crystal clear mirrors, right? UGH! Leave it to life to always give us what we don’t want. I hate catching myself in mirrors while I teach cause it’s distracting. I get up in my head about how I look and how I’m standing and omg look at that big pimple on my forehead. Most of all, I get distracted by seeing other people looking around and not paying attention to what I’m saying. Am I a boring teacher? Can they not hear me? Are my cues wrong? When I practice in front of a mirror, it get’s even worse. How’s my alignment? Oh look, I think my right arm is longer than my left and my mat is crooked, yada yada ya.. now I’ve forgotten about my breath and mind is wandering if all sorts of directions. However, the one thing that I won’t look at if I’m practicing in a mirror or if I catch myself in a public mirror is to look in my own eyes. I will look everywhere else on my body, gaze at my nose or chin.. everywhere except straight in the eyes.
It’s SCARY! How can I look myself in the eyes and tell myself that I look ugly? Deep down, I know that’s cruel. It’s just not right! But I might say that as I catch my reflection or criticize a body part… but not when I look directly in my own eyes because deep down I know I am love. I am compassion. I am beautiful. I believe it so. I will tell this to myself the next time I meet myself eye to eye.