No mirrors in the studio?! Yep. You read that right.
I’m sure you’re wondering...
How can I see my form? How will I see if I’m doing the pose right? How does my practice compare to others?
And this is the reason why we made a very deliberate choice to not install mirrors in the studio space. Mirrors create visual distractions.
How often have you found yourself in the middle of your practice looking at yourself in the mirror and reflecting on why your pose doesn’t look this way or that; or comparing your practice to someone else’s; or worrying about the way you look?
All of these thoughts have one thing in common -- seeing. The ability to watch your yoga practice might let you see how it looks; and while that does have some advantages, it also disrupts the connection to how your yoga practice should feel.
And it’s important to take notice of how you feel. It’s part of what guides you. Feeling something rather than seeing it can have far more beneficial and lasting impacts.
In the same way that your yoga practice is never going to look exactly like someone else’s, it’s not going to feel the same either. Every body is designed just a little differently; therefore the way a pose feels to you may be different from what your neighbor feels and even different for you today versus two weeks from now.
And that is perfectly ok. Because what you are feeling can help tell you what you need in the moment.
Also, mirrors and the visual distractions they create just add another ingredient into the brain swirl that you are already trying to calm on your path for stillness and peace. It can create more thoughts centered around insecurities, self-criticisms, and competitiveness. None of which embody what we are trying to practice with yoga.
In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the second sutra describes the purpose of the yoga practice as “Yogas chitta vritti nirodhah,” which means “yoga is stilling the fluctuations of the mind,” literally translated as chitta: mind, consciousness; vritti: waves, fluctuations; nirodhah: to control, to quiet.
Practicing without Mirrors.
Have you ever practiced yoga at home or in a park, or anywhere there just wasn’t a mirror? How did you feel during that practice? What did you notice? Did it change the relationship with how you moved your body, or even your breathing as each inhale and exhale flowed through you and the movement?
Did you feel the energy moving through your body? What is the energy body?
You may have heard of the energetic body or Pranamaya Kosha referred to in a class or by a teacher. This is because it is referring to the prana or life force, energy, that is moving around and through the body. In yoga, there are different avenues or channels that we talk about in regards to energy flowing through the body from the Chakras and the Nadis to the Qi/Chi and Meridians referenced during Yin.
It is a subtle part of our anatomy and maybe one that is harder to grasp or even feel if we aren’t tuned in to it. All the more reason to feel your yoga versus seeing it.
The video below is a great depiction that helps visualize the energy flow one should be sensing during various asanas or yoga practice.
Video Source: Awakening World Consciousness YouTube Channel
At Giving Tree Yoga, our philosophy isn’t about how a pose looks. It’s about how it feels for you. And if it feels good, own it.
Next time you practice whether in our studio or at home, let yourself feel the flow of energy and notice the difference that feeling your yoga practice has on creating unity between your mind, body, and spirit. Ask yourself the questions we noted above.
And if you’d like to share your experience of practicing yoga without mirrors, we would love to hear from you!
-Melissa & Michelle