I just left a class where I spent almost an hour looking at myself in the mirror. In fact, every class I spend an hour looking at myself. Or rather, trying to avoid looking at myself in the mirror. I don’t spend that long facing my body when I’m getting ready for date night. I’ve actually never been a particularly vain person, mostly because I don’t always like what I see. Shocker. And then, there’s just the fact that I don’t really care about makeup. I try to make sure my hair isn’t a total rat’s nest, but let’s be honest, if I get a shower, I’m lucky. [Sidenote: In the shower a few days ago, I started thinking that life was getting so much easier now that the twins were 3 1/2. I really haven’t been able to take a shower if I’m by myself with them for the last three years. Except, when I get out? They are not watching the show I turned on; instead they’ve emptied their dresser (quietly), undressed, and changed into swimsuits. They were on their way out the door to the baby pool. Guess I’ll keep breathing through that one and just take a shower when Sam is home. Anyways, I seriously digressed.]
I’m usually happy with messy hair and very little makeup. The story that I’ve told myself is that I look fine. So being forced to stare into the yoga mirror really kills my vibe. And I really hate looking at myself in Warrior II. I can never pull my tailbone down and use my core and keep my legs bent and pulling wide. Sometimes I make stupid faces or suck my cheeks in. Sometimes I smile. But the last few times, I’ve caught myself sneaking a glance into the mirror just to make sure my posture was correct (who am I?) even when we weren’t facing it. I’ve arranged my mat so I can make sure from the side mirror that my terrible Warrior II is getting better.
See, what I’m learning is that it’s really not about what I look like. It is about the fact that I’m not happy with how I look, with the fact that my yoga practice can barely be called yoga, and that my pants keep scrunching down. It’s about my ego. And when I can check my ego at the door, I think that my practice will grow. Rumi says, “I am not this hair, I am not this skin, I am the soul that lies within.” And Proverbs warns repeatedly of ego, but here’s one of my favorites (taken from the Message translation which generally I don’t like, but this one was really appropriate): “First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) Unless I wear a blindfold, I’ll have to keep looking at myself. And the sooner that I accept my limitations and come to yoga without ego, the easier it will be to look in the mirror and correct them.