Tue 15 Jun 2010
I went to a morning Moksha class the other day. It’s a hot yoga class and there are mirrors along one wall that everyone faces. Similiar to Bikram style classes, people like to line up right at the mirror, and then the rows of people continue behind them.
I’m not a fan of mirrors in yoga classes. I mean, I get them from a practical perspective, you can see what you’re doing. But I know that people, being people, or maybe it’s women being women, will more likely spend a disportionate amount of time staring at their hips. I feel like staring at a mirror doesn’t help you *feel* the poses from the inside out. I suspect they take you outside your body when we probably get more value out of going inside.
But I get it, you can see what you’re doing in a mirror and adjust your alignment. And really that’s why i love yoga – you get the benefits of the poses whether you’re in a hot room, a cold room or standing on the back of a truck trailer, yoga works every time.
So I walk in the class and women are lined up all along the front right at the mirrors except for the mirror at the far end of the room. I don’t want to be right at the mirror, I don’t feel i need to watch the sweat drip from my nose, but I go right to the end and start a second row. I can see myself clearly becuase i’m in the empty spot. Moksha classes start with Savasana so I don’t get a good look until we stand to start the first round of breathing.
It turns out I am standing in front of a fun house mirror. No one has taken this spot because the regulars all know that this mirror is broken. And the worse kind of broken. My head looks long and thin. My hips look like I have swallowed a watermelon. And the watermelon has split and lodged in my hips and thighs.
So remember how I was saying that mirrors just invite women to obsess about their hips through class? Well I absolutely include myself in that bunch and here I am starting a 90 minute class with hips “4 axe handles wide” as my father used to say. Not that he’s dead or anything, he just doesn’t seem to use that unit of measurement anymore.
I do my best to focus on alignment and doing the pose and breathing and managing the heat while trying not to look at my hip region. Or at least not to look at my hip region and say “oh. my. god”. It was the best lesson I’ve ever had in being the Witness and observing without judgement. Mostly because I failed a lot and had the opportunity to start all over again.
Then I started finding it funny. Ha! Look at how those crazy monster funhouse mirror hips look when I do Dancers Pose! It shouldn’t be physically *possible* to lift that kind of mass on one leg! It’s like how honeybees shouldn’t be able to fly or something!
It was a relief to get to the mat part of class. But when I left I felt that glorious I-could-be-hit-by-a-bus-and-it-would-be-ok feeling that I get after a hot yoga. I love that feeling. That’s yoga for ya’, it works every time.