Last week Thursday, I went to a posture clinic at Bikram Yoga NYC. All Bikram classes are conducted with you facing a floor-to-ceiling mirror. At the beginning of class, before the sequence begins, the teacher asks you to make sure you can see yourself in the mirror. For the next 90 minutes, it is you, your mat and your reflection practicing the same 26 postures and two breathing exercises every time you come to class. This repetition means the only thing that really changes from one class to the next, is you.
At the clinic, one of the teachers acknowledged that during class, we almost all have conversations with ourselves in the mirror. Mine tend to go like this:
Why am I here? It’s so hot in here. I hate this breathing exercise.
My pants are too tight! What was I thinking? I’m not a size 6. I should have gone with the 8.
Ugh, standing-head-to-knee pose. No matter how hard I try, I always fall out of the full expression.
When in reality, I should be focusing on things like the fact that I am in the studio, that I always get my foot way up over my head in standing-bow-pulling pose and that my full-locust pose is getting better and better with each class. She talked to us about the power of those two little words: I AM. We can come into class and admonish ourselves: I am too fat, I am not flexible enough, I am not strong enough. Or we can focus on the positive – because the reality is that you are looking at yourself saying these things, reinforcing them within yourself. I am here. The worst class I take is better than the one I miss. I am a yogi. When I fall, I get back up again. I AM strong and I AM going to hold the full expression of standing-head-to-knee pose. And then we take what we learned on the mat out into the real world.
I am a good mom.
I am a good friend.
I am a good yogi.
Give it a try, you may surprise yourself. Namaste.
And I know you can’t really see us in the above photo but we were having a great time so I kind of don’t care.