The Power of Self Reflection
Part of the power of yoga is the quiet time it gives us to look within ourselves and reflect: think, mediate, learn and grow. This is a powerful tool and one that should be cherished and respected in our yoga practice. However, there is also a different type of self-reflection in yoga when you use mirrors…
Mirrors are a highly debated subject when it comes to yoga. Are they good, bad, distracting, annoying, helpful, hurtful, or inconsequential?
A lot of dedicated yoga studios choose not to have mirrors… like Yoga Time Studio 🙂
When there are no mirrors around the studio it forces those practicing to self-reflect in a different way, paying close attention to how their body feels and moves through space. When mirrors are around, people tend to want to constantly look at how they are moving instead of really thinking and feeling. Mirrors tend to make us more concerned with our appearance and what other people around us look like. They might make some people self-conscience or others self-absorbed. Having taught group fitness in places with mirrors and without, I can say there are positives and negatives to both. When it comes to yoga though, I personally like practicing without mirrors, but I do think they can come in handy.
I really only started seriously practicing yoga about a year ago and Yoga Time Studio is the first real “yoga studio” I have ever gone to (so take my opinions with a grain of salt). I would say overall I have a pretty good sense of body awareness, however, there are definitely postures and movements where I wasn’t 100% sure my alignment was correct. Although the teachers at Yoga Time are amazing and many catch and correct these mistakes, sometimes it’s hard for them to get around to everyone and help fix everything. This is where I think a mirror (and sometimes a phone) can come in handy.
When I work out at my house, I typically do so in front of a mirror so I can see my body positioning. This is especially helpful and important for me when I am practicing Barre or doing other types of workout videos where I lift weights. I like to see that I am properly aligned and then I can do it better and with more confidence when there isn’t a mirror (like when I teach Barre at Yoga Time). When I first started getting into yoga, I tried using my mirror at home to check my body positioning but found it difficult to look at the mirror while maintaining the integrity of my form (an argument against mirrors in a yoga studio). What I found to be most helpful was using my phone to record short videos of me flowing through different vinyasa sequences. It seems a little silly but it helped me see how my body moves through space and how aligned my hips and other body parts are in different postures. I found it to be quite useful and beneficial. Of course, I don’t recommend doing this all the time, it’s just an idea to help you better visualize and maybe improve your yoga postures and practice.
Whether you like to do yoga with mirrors or without them, it’s really not about your physical self-reflection in a mirror or on video that ultimately matters, the ultimate power comes from your ability to look within and self-reflect.