I saw this picture on Facebook today and it reminded me of my first morning at the yoga studio, misconceptions, body love, and my new appreciation for mirrors and reality. Let me explain…
One of the things Bikram websites tell beginners is to wear as little clothing as possible. This isn’t just because of the extreme heat, but also because you are supposed to be able to look at your body in the mirror and see how your body and poses change over time and consistent practice. They advise that women wear a sports bra and shorts.
My immediate thought? “Yeah. Whatever. They can friggin’ forget it.” There were some four-letter expletives thrown in there, but I’ll spare you my potty mouth.
Armed with this knowledge, I was honestly scared of going into the yoga studio for my first class this morning. Not “nervous”… downright petrified. I was afraid not only of all the damn mirrors and the bright lighting, but that I was going to be surrounded by a bunch of perfect Victoria’s Secret yoga bodies doing their perfect friggin’ yoga poses in spandex that I wouldn’t dare wear. Beautiful, toned, long-haired, sexy women (and men) who had all been doing this for YEARS and would snicker at the overweight newbie whose balance kicks rocks.
To my shock and surprise, that’s not what happened.
As I lay in the heat waiting for class to begin, people with all kinds of shapes walked up in there. It was amazing to see the variety of men and women up at 6:00 AM in the heat; much more like the Dove ad than the Vickie’s one. Even more amazing was the realization that, as the class progressed, they all were only focused on themselves and their own poses. No one was looking at me – they were all only into themselves. It allowed me to relax and focus on myself, which is the purpose of the practice.
And the mirrors? Are you ready for a little more shock and awe? Here it goes… believe it or not, I could learn to love them.
As the class went on, I looked at my body as a machine in its CURRENT state, as opposed to wishing it looked like something else. In a well-lit room with all those damnable mirrors, I could actually focus on the pose and how best to position my body into it instead of focusing on the “woulda-shoulda-coulda”, “wishing my body looked like something else” nonsense. The mirrors actually helped me let all of that go. I didn’t make it through all of the poses, but that didn’t matter. The only thoughts going through my mind throughout the class were, “You’ll get stronger. You are getting stronger. You’re doing this. You’re doing this for YOU.”
So, I no longer have a fear of the spandex girls. I know that 90 minutes is all about me and the practice of my pose. In fact, I bought my first pair of yoga shorts today.
I’m ready to face the mirror.