I Broke the Mirror in my Yoga Class and Didn’t Have 7 Years Bad Luck

by Julie Lievre | November 3, 2019 10:06 pm

I have been an athlete my whole life and had been practicing yoga on Long Island for eight years.  I have two children, now 19 and 24, and yoga really helped to bring my figure back. My husband certainly appreciated how yoga made me look and feel.

At forty-six, feeling stronger than ever, I fell out of a headstand and broke the mirror in my Vinyasa yoga class.  I was in my usual class, which I have been taking for at least four years, and practicing three or four times per week.  I was in the front row where all the “experienced” yogis practiced, in a headstand when I lost my balance and fell out of the pose into the mirror.  The whole thing shattered, and glass rained down on me and my mat.  I immediately sat up, covered in glass and saw 25 pairs of eyes on me. I was helped out of the room by one of the owners.  I cleaned myself off, and thankfully had no cuts. Though I wanted to run crying from the studio, I forced myself to go back in and finish the class.

I wanted to believe that these people, many of whom I had been practicing with for years, would comfort and support me.  I approached the owner who helped me from the room after class ended. She was always very pleasant. She was tall, slender, and always had a smile and a kind word upon entering the studio.  I asked her after class, “Could I pay for the damage?” She smiled and said, “It is not necessary, we have insurance for that. The only thing that matters is that you aren’t hurt.” I thanked her for her kindness and apologized.  The other owner, who attended the class, gave me the cold shoulder. She was known to be a bit unfriendly and taciturn, but I tried many times to chat and make small talk since I enjoyed practicing in her studio. This incident was not going to show a softer side to her, and I began to feel like I didn’t belong there.

I continued to attend classes regularly which were now preceded by announcements that no inversions should be done near the mirror, or in the first row at all. I sure wished that was a rule in class before my incident.  Every time an instructor said this, a few people would look my way.  I kept going even when I wanted to crawl underneath my mat instead of practicing.

Many of my fellow yogis did support me and asked if I was okay for weeks after the incident, others stopped speaking to me as if I might spread some bad karma to them.  Long after the glass was cleaned up there were people who still avoided me.

Yoga teaches us to breathe through the difficult moments.  I heard this in my classes over the years, read it in yoga books, and was trying to be mindful in my daily life but I had no idea that I was practicing what I learned until this moment.  I breathed through the humiliation and fought the urge to run away from the pain I was feeling.  I was better for having gone through it.  I learned that I was a stronger yogi than I thought, I wasn’t just going through the motions but practicing true yoga.

I have had difficult moments since, including a move to Astoria, Queens, my son going off to college, and a breast cancer scare this year at age 50. Now, I face them with the knowledge that I can get through it. I now practice at two different studios in Astoria and have found some wonderful friends and yoga instructors. The atmosphere is very different, and the people more diverse, and friendly.

I no longer practice in the front row, as this experience has humbled me, and made me grateful to practice further away from the mirror. I don’t even use the mirror in the room as much as I used to and feel my practice has improved since moving back.  I can now focus more on how my body feels rather than how it looks.

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