(updated version with a link that works!)
Every year for Christmas, Rick and I each get a gift from our friend, Herb Sundvall. The gift is a chapbook of poetry called Crow Tracks.
Crow Tracks is filled with Herb’s poems. In the latest volume of Crow Tracks, I fell in love with his poem, Mirrors. Instantly, I recognized the place to which he was referring. Years ago, I occasionally taught classes at the University District YMCA. At the University District YMCA, the placement of the two mirrors in the yoga room is enough to drive anyone mad! Or you would think! I asked students about it once, but not everyone had made note of it. From my perspective, the mirrors made it look like I had 300,000 students with their hands and feet flying every which way, every limb duplicated 100 fold!
Arms Hands Infinity
Just yesterday I was in the U District and decided to pay homage to the crazy-mirrored room. I had to explain to Chelsea, the employee who greeted me at the front desk, why I was there and asked permission to take photos. She agreed to let me take photos of the room as long as it was empty. Luckily, no one was in the room! After I took a few photos myself, Chelsea came in, excited by the idea of the blog and the new perspective she had with the mirrors, and took a few more photos for me while I posed in my raincoat and boots!
Not everyone notices their reflections quadruplicated to infinity….hard to believe there are only TWO mirrors facing each other…
Boots and More Boots
Here is Herb’s poem:
The mirrors on the walls
of the yoga class
facing each other
repeat themselves into
and the old man sees himself
He moves to a far wall
where he does not face
the old man,
the wall clock
so he can stretch out
feeling young inside himself
by Herb Sundvall
Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t let me retain the breaks in the lines the way Herb wrote them originally! Log on to Herb’s blog site where you can see Mirrors in its original format and where you can read other poems written by Herb.
Herb’s poem, Mirrors, reminds me of how conflicted I am about having mirrors in the rooms or studios where I teach yoga. On the one hand, looking at yourself in a mirror while doing yoga can help you see your alignment and give you an honest perspective about how deep you are in a pose. For example, there are certain poses I do, like Dancer’s Pose (Natarajasana) or Bow (Dhanurasana), and I swear it feels like my feet are about to touch my head, but the mirror tells me the sobering truth: that I am nowhere near such elasticity! On the other hand, the mirror can make one terribly self-conscious about one’s weight, how one looks in general, how tall or short one is, how young or old (often in comparison to others since the class is filled with many people also reflected in the same mirror). I know, not everyone feels this way, but I have gotten enough unsolicited feedback from students to get the picture that reflections can be helpful with alignment or they can be a not-so-pleasant distraction leading to self-deprication. About half of my classes have mirrors.
Yoga and Self Photography (sans tripod)
Chelsea comes in and captures this image: A Billion Warriors in Raincoats and Boots, preparing to combat Seattle rain!