On the mat: When I teach, each person in class has a different response to each moment–and it’s all evident on their face (as it is on mine, too, I’m sure!). People sometimes appear serenely blissed-out, but also downright grumpy (especially in plank ;).
During my first few classes as a new teacher, I often caught myself thinking, “this is terrible, they’re really not liking this flow, or me. Just look at the expressions on their faces.” The truth came out after class, when those same students came up to tell me how much they’d enjoyed the class–with smiling faces, dropped shoulders, and open hearts. They’d simply been dealing with their own stuff, coming up in a particular moment and being reflected on their faces, which happened to be turned my direction.
Off the mat: This yogic lesson has changed my life. What if we all understood that we are okay? What if, when we’re walking down the street, driving the car, or having a conversation, and someone directs a glare our way, we try to recognize that the state of their face is not reflective of their impression of us, but of their impression of what’s going on inside themselves?
We can take this even further, and apply it not to just facial expressions, but emotional reactions, too.