While at yoga on Wednesday I had one of my least favorite spots in the room with a wall of mirrors directly behind me. No one and I mean no one looks good from directly behind half way through class doing downward dog as recovery for the flow you just finished. Your face looks puffy because you’re upside down and all the blood is rushing to your head, your shirt is probably flopping up exposing your shocking white belly and you are just tired enough from the last few flows to easily lose focus and stare back at your reflection confused and slightly embarrassed. Yep, that is why I hate having the mirror behind me in class it instantly shatters the Zen just achieved in my head.
Fortunately, my teacher’s focus on this particular day was on the breath and she said something the struck me as utterly profound and slapped me right back into concentrating on nothing but pushing air in and out of my lungs. She said “if your breathing is labored stay where you are, if it is strong go further. The breath has no judgment. Do what you can today.” And, so I did. I closed my eyes and thought puffy, red face be damned and breathed through the rest of class. When my breathing was strong I focused and lifted my leg higher in three legged dog and when it was labored I listened and rested for a few inhalations in child’s pose. My breath never found fault or judged me. It simply let me know what my body needed from me to give me its best for the day. The breath has no judgment.