Photo by Monica Felix @

These mirrors are expensive. Use them.

Photo by Monica Felix @

Photo by Monica Felix @

My yoga instructor often reminds us that our main teacher is in the mirror. That the students are to become their own gurus.

Yes, the instructor will help to keep pace and control the heat and make corrections, but ultimately, it’s through the process of confronting of ourselves, warts and all, that activates real growth.

What a powerful tool to deepen your practice as a yoga student. In fact, what a helpful lesson off the mat, too. Because that which is scariest to confront often has the most to teach us.

Kierkegaard referred to anxiety as the nameless and formless uneasiness that has dogged the footsteps of modern man. And while that may be true, let’s not forget that anxiety is also a profound source of education for us. Just like the mirror in the yoga room. Anxiety reflects our reality back to us. It implores us to stand up and say aloud what’s missing. And so, in running from it, we lose our most precious opportunity for education as human beings.

Anytime I feel anxiety hot on my trail, I try to reserve a small portion of my brain for gratitude. I give thanks for those feelings. And instead of treating the moment as if it were an obstacle to overcome, I use it as a vehicle to answer some questions about myself. To learn what might lacking. To hear the story I’ve been telling myself about my own reality.

And more often than not, taking that small moment of awareness and curiosity leads me down a healthier path. One where I’m not averting my eyes from something in the mirror that I despise, but walking through the glass and see what lies on the other side.

Are you exposing your nakedness and rushing in to meet it?

Scott Ginsberg is a writer, daily practitioner and workstudy volunteer at Bikram Yoga Park Slope.