Christy the yoga teacher , who has had a huge influence over me the last several years, is a big believer in activating the glutes. Her voice is in my head, saying, “squeeze those cheeks!” She also used to talk about having a “c-shaped butt” which baffled me, who would want their butt to be concave? Then I realized that when I check out my own butt in the mirror, I do it over my right shoulder, so I want to have a D shaped butt, (not L, or heaven forbid, X- shaped. But she must have been checking out her own butt in the mirror from the left, so she thought in terms of C shapes.
Which side are you? Be honest.
I have a weird relationship with mirrors. The ones in Christy’s studio are honestly terrible. The previous tenant gave karate classes, and apparently glued cheap mirrors directly to the wall with construction adhesive. It’s like doing yoga at the carnival, except no cotton candy. Funhouse reflections- I roll out my mat as far away from them as possible.
At the dojang where we do taekwondo, the mirrors are fine, but my own brain fights against me. Body dysmorphia- I look at my reflection to target my kicks and punches, or examine my stances, and a voice in my head keeps up a running commentary. “OMG, you’re so fat. What is wrong with your belly? You need a better sports bra…” Odd that the self-defense-skills I need most are to counter attacks from my own self?
I’ve been reading E.F. Schumacher’s Guide for the Perplexed, which is a slender volume of philosophy. The section I am working my way through is about how do we know what we know. Good question. He talks about how we can divide the world into “inner experiences” and “outer experiences” and “inner appearances” and “outer appearances.” Some of that is knowable, but some isn’t. So, I can know how I feel, and how you look, but I can’t know how you feel, or how I look. I can imagine how you might feel, based on how I imagine how I would feel in a similar situation, and I can imagine how I look, through technology like cameras and mirrors, but it is always colored by how I feel about myself. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that it is colored darkly- how many of us like our reflections? Our photos?
Holistic Yoga School is where I did my 200 hour yoga teacher training, and there are no mirrors in the studio. It’s lovely. There’s the opportunity to feel what is going on and practice checking in with the body, rather than seeing a reflection and reacting. That crazy voice in my head can quiet down, so maybe I can make friends with my reflection.
If you’re in Northern Colorado, I’d love to see you at my Hatha yoga class Monday nights at 7:30. It is at Oriental Moodo school- first class is free, after that $10 drop-ins, or a cheaper punch card if you like it and decide to keep coming. I bought a sign that says Mondays at 7:30, so I’m committed to Monday nights for the foreseeable future.