In class last night, I attempted to mirror my students during pyramid pose. “Mirroring” in yoga is a technique typically practiced by a seasoned yoga teacher; it involves facing the class and instructing students to do the opposite of what you’re doing. Your right leg is their left leg, your left arm is their right arm, and so on. The whole concept of mirroring brings back stressful childhood memories of learning to play the piano and freezing when my teacher would say “C chord with the left hand!”
I was somewhat surprised when, during my failed attempt at mirroring my students (I had to ask “Are we on the same side again?”), one of my students–a young woman in her early 20’s–became frustrated and yelled, “Yes! God! Just tell us to do the opposite of what you’re doing!” Taken aback by her outburst, I simply smiled and said, “Thank you. I’m glad that you know your rights and lefts better than I do.” As the class continued, I was somewhat surprised by how quickly I was able to step outside of my ego and judgement of her and realize that this young woman had a point.
Yoga is: accepting your imperfection (my difficulty at mirroring my students) and accepting the challenge in front of you (the young woman asking me to step up and be accountable…and therefore be a better yoga teacher). And I’m grateful to her for that reminder. I can accept the fact that I may never fully grasp the concept of saying the opposite of what I mean but I owe it to myself to look at things from all sides, not just head on.