Mirror Mirror



This morning, me and my fellow Mysoreans were led through the Ashtanga Primary Series by my teacher, Erika Abrahamian.  Since Erika only teaches the led practice to us once a month (there is a led practice every Sunday for all comers), she usually starts off with a little bit of observation of what she has witnessed in the Mysore Room. Today, she spoke of how she has noticed that practioners are not staying on their mats but seem to leave the room a little too often.  The practice, she notes is like a mirror. It shows us where we are stuck. It is our job to notice and continue with the practice.

As my teacher spoke, I thought of the fairytale, Snow White. Unlike the magical mirror in the story, the practice doesn’t mirror back ONLY what we want to see; it shows us EVERYTHING. However, if we interrupt our practice when the stuff starts showing up, we don’t get to the benefit of this knowledge. Consequently, we don’t work through it because we choose not to see it.

I’ve certainly been guilty of escaping the discomfort my practice shows me. Although I may not get up and leave the room, my attention often drifts from my own mat to those around me. I am NOT looking for the fairest one of all.  I *am* looking for an escape – and my teacher sometimes calls me on it, “Eyes, Julie.” Sometimes, I don’t even know that I am doing it. But I am! The fact that I notice when someone skips a pose or two, or leaves their mat for the 3rd time, is a sign that I am not fully present with the task at hand.

On the other hand, on those days when I am surprised to find the room has filled up when we pause for the group chant, or when I move my mat to the back of the room for closing, that I find I have the most benefit from my practice. I am calmer in the face of the storms that follow as my day unfolds. And later, when I face my own reflection in front of the bathroom mirror, I am able to appreciate the image I am faced with. For she may very well be the fairest in all the land*.

 

*the land of Juls, that is.

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